Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A different sort of rainbow

with 17 comments

The compound leaf of a bald cypress turning color; click for more detail.

As I’ve wandered in nature during the worsening drought in Texas, I’ve seen many plants that have looked stressed, along with some that have died from dehydration. In the case of the riverbank-loving bald cypress tree (Taxodium distichum), usually only the approach of winter causes the tree’s leaves to turn yellow, orange, red and brown as a prelude to falling off, but last week I saw a bald* cypress that was entering that stage already. It was on the west bank of Bull Creek, a stream that I was able for the first time to walk down the middle of because there wasn’t a drop of water in it. Attracted by the color of the reddening leaves against the clear blue sky overhead, I took the picture you see here, which seems to me to show an ironic sort of “rain”bow.


* People call the tree “bald” because, as opposed to evergreens, this species does lose its leaves and stands bare-branched through the winter.

(Visit the USDA website for more information about Taxodium distichum, including a clickable map showing where the species grows.)

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 11, 2011 at 5:53 AM

17 Responses

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  1. Oh, that is lovely! Love the details and the beautiful arch! Well done, Steve!


    August 11, 2011 at 6:38 AM

  2. Well done. Simple, but dramatic!!


    August 11, 2011 at 8:19 AM

    • Thanks. One tendency I have in my photography is minimalism; I’m glad you found it effective here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 11, 2011 at 11:20 AM

  3. beautiful and stunning pictures, so relaxing to look at.
    thank you,


    August 11, 2011 at 8:15 PM

  4. […] abstract, minimalist view of a bald cypress “rainbow” seems to call for a more traditional landscape photograph so that those of you who are unfamiliar […]

  5. Amazing…


    August 16, 2011 at 8:44 PM

  6. […] the drought in Texas continues, many plants are feeling stressed. In some trees, like the bald cypress featured in a recent post, leaves have taken on an appearance that might make people think […]

  7. […] upper left is the most prominent of the bald cypresses, whose “needles,” like those in the close-up of August 11, have turned warm […]

  8. […] leaf alongside Bull Creek on August 3 (on the same outing that produced the picture of the bald cypress “rainbow”). Ants often move quickly on plants, as this one was doing; if that’s not the way the […]

  9. […] with no lying on the ground or contortion necessary on your part—you can look back at a post from this blog’s early days, when the severe drought of 2011 brought on a premature changing and falling of some leaves. The […]

  10. Truly beautiful.


    January 7, 2013 at 10:21 AM

  11. […] Here my primary subject was the boulder, but if you’d like to see some bald cypresses in their own right, you can check out a photograph from 2007. For a less clear view (that’s a novelty, right?) you can see a bald cypress in fog. And if you’d like to exercise your imagination, there’s even a bald cypress “rainbow.” […]

  12. […] Did the person mean a weird sort of rainbow? I have no idea, but the search led to a different sort of rainbow. […]

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