Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for December 11th, 2011

An affirming flame*

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So far in this column you’ve seen two views of flameleaf sumac, Rhus lanceolata, doing its seasonal thing. Here’s a third one, and the closest of all to a few of the tree’s leaflets. Although some flameleaf sumac leaves in Austin are still turning color in this second week of December, the sky has been mostly gray, so today’s photograph comes from a sunnier November 14 session on Spicewood Springs Rd. near Loop 360. That was the same outing that produced the picture in which yellow was the main color, but here the red has begun to predominate. Note how even the segments of the leaf axis, seen vertically at the right, turn red.

My camera agrees with me that the three quarters of an hour that we (the camera and I) stayed at this site taking pictures was time well spent, not only for me and for the camera (in whose place you can see I presume to speak), but I hope for the sumac as well, for which the passage of time is the most eloquent spokesman.

For more information about Rhus lanceolata, you can visit the websites of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the USDA. And for those interested in the art and craft of photography, the newly added point 17 in About My Techniques is relevant to today’s photograph.

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* Today’s title consists of the last three words from W. H. Auden’s poem “September 1, 1939.”

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 11, 2011 at 5:22 AM

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