Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 29 comments

After the downpour on the morning of October 9, I drove half a mile down the hill from my house to Great Hills Park, put on a pair of rubber boots, and walked through terrain that was soaked for the first time in months. One thing that grabbed my attention was this highly sculpted lichen on an old cedar elm branch. Because of the overcast skies and the suddenly wet dying and dead vegetation, the autumn landscape provided a warm backdrop to the cool, very pale green of much of the lichen.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 11, 2011 at 5:18 AM

29 Responses

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  1. Wonderful lichen image. The backdrop really does show it off well.


    October 11, 2011 at 6:02 AM

    • Thank you, Meanderer. I’m pleased that you’re pleased with the way the warm background shows off the lichen.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 11, 2011 at 6:22 AM

  2. Lichen – now you’re onto something we have plenty of here in the PNW. Wonderful image.


    October 11, 2011 at 7:39 AM

    • Although we’re much drier here in central Texas than the Pacific Northwest is, I see lots of lichen as I wander about the woods. Where you are must be lichen heaven.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 11, 2011 at 7:49 AM

  3. And I meant to add – are you enjoying the rain?


    October 11, 2011 at 7:40 AM

    • Sure! The creeks ran for a day or so, but because of a 15-inch deficit of rain for the year, the land absorbed the water pretty quickly and already the creeks are back to being mostly dry. I’m still hoping the roughly 2 inches of rain in my part of Austin will lead to a resurgence of flowers through October and November.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 11, 2011 at 7:51 AM

  4. It reminds me of sea coral! ~ Lynda


    October 11, 2011 at 8:10 AM

    • Yes, there are various forms that repeat in the sea and on land. Sometimes even the names get recycled, as in anemone and sea anemone. Not living near an ocean, I’m grateful for whatever I can get that resembles things found in the sea.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 11, 2011 at 8:35 AM

  5. There is something really cool about lichen . . . Great photo.


    October 11, 2011 at 10:24 AM

  6. Great shot, the background is perfectly blurred to show off the subject.

    Susan Tong

    October 11, 2011 at 6:04 PM

    • I’m glad you like it, Susan. I often put my backgrounds out of focus so they don’t distract from the subject.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 11, 2011 at 6:20 PM

  7. What really impresses me about this photo is how you have actually featured this lichen as the most important thing, right now. I just realised how much of your body of work is a lot like portraiture. Beautiful.


    October 11, 2011 at 8:55 PM

    • I’m pleased that you see it that way. I began to conceive a lot of what I do as portraiture some years ago.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 11, 2011 at 9:48 PM

  8. I LOVE this!


    October 12, 2011 at 5:44 PM

  9. What a pretty shot!


    October 12, 2011 at 10:17 PM

    • Thanks, Terry. Although I’ve photographed lichens many times, this one really called out to me—and it was right there in my neighborhood nature park.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 12, 2011 at 10:30 PM

  10. Very cool capture! How interesting.


    October 13, 2011 at 10:44 AM

  11. Lovely detail and focus. It’s a pity I had to fight the wind and unstable ground when I tried for such good close-ups. you’ve just illustrated what can be achieved.


    October 16, 2011 at 4:09 PM

    • Thanks, Chris. We who photograph nature close-up know what a hindrance even a light wind can be. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost my balance on unstable ground. Occupational hazards.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 16, 2011 at 4:24 PM

  12. Very nice to see all these wildflowers — this lichen is especially eye-catching. Thanks for your kind comment on my site.

    Emma J (imaginary bicycle)

    October 17, 2011 at 10:38 AM

  13. […] punning title of today’s post is a reminder that a picture of quite a different sort of lichen appeared in these pages on October […]

  14. Beautiful shot!

    I like lichen.


    November 25, 2011 at 11:01 PM

  15. Lichen is amazing the way it creates its own sculptural forms. We have a Hawthorn and a Magnolia both of which attract the stuff. I alternate between being fascinated by the lichen and the plant to which it’s attached itself.


    August 8, 2012 at 7:16 AM

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