Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Seeds and fibers

with 28 comments

Seeds of Clematis drummondii coming undone; click for greater detail.

Today is the two-month anniversary* of this blog’s first post, so I had the idea, number-nurturer that I am, of looking back to see what I’d photographed on August 4 during the last two years and posting a picture from each of those dates. The only problem with that idea is that when I checked my archives I discovered that I hadn’t taken a single nature photograph on August 4 in 2010 or 2009. Undeterred, I went back a year further and found that on August 4, 2008, I’d gone to the prairie in northeast Austin and had photographed—hardly a surprise to recent readers of this column—some Clematis drummondii in its “old man’s beard” stage. The picture from this year that I posted on July 23 also showed approximately the same phase, but things weren’t as far along as in the image above from three years ago. In this advanced view, the seeds had begun coming undone from both of the cores visible in the picture, one at the left and one in the center. As a reminder of scale, everything in this image occupies perhaps a little more than one cubic inch. Notice that the seeds shown here were browner than in this year’s view, and the feathery strands attached to them are more copper-colored than silvery white. It doesn’t take much imagination to see a resemblance between these long-tailed seeds from the plant kingdom and spermatozoa from the animal kingdom, which though much tinier serve the same purpose.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman


* Today is coincidentally Eve’s and my 24th wedding anniversary.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 4, 2011 at 5:42 AM

28 Responses

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  1. Nice details


    August 4, 2011 at 8:11 AM

  2. Happy Anniversary & Wedding Anniversary 🙂


    August 4, 2011 at 8:41 AM

  3. Beautiful textures. Congrats on the two month and 24 yr. anniversaries!

    farmhouse stories

    August 4, 2011 at 9:02 AM

  4. Congratulations on your wonderful milestones. May your road ahead reveal even more beauty. Thanks for taking the time to look and share with us.


    August 4, 2011 at 9:24 AM

    • And thanks for your well-put wishes. It occurs to me that looking and sharing are the attributes of a teacher, which I’ve long been.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 4, 2011 at 9:46 AM

  5. this is a wonderful photo, i love it. for me it has a dreamy quality.
    Happy Anniversary!


    August 4, 2011 at 10:54 AM

  6. Looks like a snowstorm going on around those seeds to carry them far.


    August 4, 2011 at 12:29 PM

  7. […] (as explained in the previous post) that August 4 marks two months and two dozen years, here’s picture number two for today, […]

    • Love them both, and love the contrast to celebrate your 2 milestones…

      Marcia Levy

      August 4, 2011 at 5:06 PM

  8. Happy anniversary!


    August 4, 2011 at 11:41 PM

    • Thanks, Terry. It occurs to me that plants aren’t as finicky as people: plants bloom at approximately but by no means exactly the same time each year. They also offer flowers on more than one day.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 5, 2011 at 6:15 AM

  9. A very happy anniversary and another very beautiful picture.


    August 7, 2011 at 4:09 AM

    • Thanks, Claire. We went to a restaurant adjacent to the pond where, the following morning, I took the picture I’m going to post on Monday the 8th.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 7, 2011 at 5:34 AM

  10. Ah that’s very nice – with a great composition 🙂


    August 7, 2011 at 5:24 AM

  11. i love, love this photo! it’s gorgeous, simple, and soothing. thank you for sharing.

    yi-ching lin

    August 12, 2011 at 1:29 PM

    • Someone after my own heart: I never tire of taking a close look at the interior of Clematis drummondii. I’m glad that you find the image soothing.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 12, 2011 at 1:47 PM

  12. […] the photograph last July and a follow-up in August, I used flash so that I could stop my macro lens way down to f/25 and f/20, respectively, and […]

  13. This is fascinating. I loved the comparison with the greener one. Very interesting and good of you to link the two with Lemony’s. Now, I understand her own fascination with those bushes. I remember her post about lurking near the neighbor’s clematis!

    George Weaver

    April 14, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    • One of the things I like to do is show a given species in different stages. Apart from that, this local species is one of my favorite to photograph because it offers so much to a nature photographer—or at least to this nature photogrpher. Two other Clematis species with very different flowers grow in central Texas, one of which I photographed a couple of times recently and will eventually show a picture of.

      I often find resonances with what other people present in their posts, so pointing out those connections seems like a natural—and also teacherly—thing to do.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 14, 2012 at 8:27 PM

      • You are very generous to teach others. Lots of photographers are so secretive about their work. The funny thing is that with all of your instruction, I won’t get any better because I don’t listen. I also have a familial tremor in my right hand. Lemony talked me into taking the flash off and shooting in aperture priority. Yes, that’s the stage I am. 🙂 I am going to post my walk with Lemony photographs tomorrow so she can see what I did. This is too much fun for an old lady!

        George Weaver

        April 14, 2012 at 8:33 PM

      • Happy fun—and may age not be no obstacle per se.

        Steve Schwartzman

        April 14, 2012 at 9:46 PM

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