Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for December 31st, 2011

Color and curl

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Prairie flameleaf sumac; click for greater detail.

Not a beauty parlor, unless it’s nature’s own. My last outing of the season to photograph prairie flameleaf sumac took place on the beautifully clear afternoon of December 22 (after a morning at the Mueller Greenway with the wildflowers still blooming there), and it took me back to the thankfully undeveloped lot next to Seton Northwest Hospital from which I first brought you a picture of the changing of the colors back on November 12. The young tree you saw then followed the natural course of things and lost its leaves within a few days, but other flameleaf sumacs on the property, following their own calendars, took their turns at turning colors later in the season. Now, on December 22, the last of them were doing so, and I was lucky enough to see them on a day of blue sky illuminated by the warm light, both in hue and in 65° air temperature, of the late afternoon almost-winter sun.

If the color in the title of today’s post is obvious, the characteristic curl is less well known, but you see plenty of it in this photograph. Why the compound leaves of Rhus lanceolata curl and curve this way I don’t know, but I never get tired of seeing them do it. Notice here how the leaf arcs wrap around a little blue hollow near the center of the photograph.

Taking one thing with another, I think this is a good picture to wrap up 2011 with, and it’s my way of wishing all of you a colorful 2012.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 31, 2011 at 5:18 AM

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