Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Still stately: a follow-up

with 20 comments

Most of you who read these pages have blogs of your own, and I have to assume there’s a lot of variety in the ways you approach them. I’ve found that I often start a post, revise it on and off over several days, and when it’s done (or when it’s done me in) I schedule it to be published. While that process is going on, life continues, of course, and new pictures from nature sometimes delay the appearance of posts I’ve worked on, even to the point that in some cases I give up the older ones altogether.

On December 26 (thank you, WordPress, for keeping track of every revision) I began working on the post that appeared right before this one. Twice in the time between starting that one and publishing it I found a stray Maximilian sunflower plant, still unexpectedly green, struggling to put out new flowers more than a month beyond the usual end of the species’ bloom season. Here then, in contrast to the larger view of the thoroughly dried-out Maximilian sunflower plant in the previous post, you see a close-up of one that not only was still alive but was even managing to display rays of bright yellow on January 3. It may not be as attractive as a Maximilian sunflower can be, but I was impressed by the fact that it existed at all in January. You may take it as an emblem of persistence if you wish.

Today’s picture comes from the margin of land surrounding Riata Trace Pond in northwest Austin. For more information about Helianthus maximiliani, including a state-clickable map showing the many places in the United States and Canada where the species grows, you can go to the USDA website.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 9, 2012 at 5:08 AM

20 Responses

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  1. How appropriate a gesture for the new year… persistence and an ability to provide beautiful rays of joy.. just like your photos!!

    Just A Smidgen

    January 9, 2012 at 7:02 AM

    • Thanks for carrying the wildflower’s attributes over to my pictures, Barbara. I appreciate that.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 9, 2012 at 8:42 AM

  2. Steve…….great words of thought, amazing what we can get from nature…..en theos..jim

    Developing A New Image

    January 9, 2012 at 8:04 AM

  3. I have two rogue flowers in my wildflower garden that surprised me this week as well. They were both lovely surprises of golden yellow, a testament to the warm winter we’re having. I’m also still able to grow lettuce in the garden.

    Mind Margins

    January 9, 2012 at 8:17 AM

    • So we’re both getting an advantage out of the warm (so far) winter. Do you happen to know what the yellow rogue flowers are?

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 9, 2012 at 10:34 AM

      • I’m pretty sure they are Calendula. I’ll post the photo on my blog in the next few days so you can see if I’m right. I spread a packet of wildflower seeds last spring against my backyard fence and these are the showiest of the flowers that bloomed. Nice to see them still blooming in January!

        Mind Margins

        January 9, 2012 at 2:06 PM

      • And someone in Austin I spoke with on the phone a short while ago reported seeing daffodils flowering here recently.

        Steve Schwartzman

        January 9, 2012 at 2:16 PM

  4. Nice angle


    January 9, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    • Thanks. I’ll agree with you: I noticed the slight angle(s) and the way it (they) gave the picture an overall diagonal sense.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 9, 2012 at 11:21 AM

  5. I like the clarity and minute details in your shots..


    January 9, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    • Thank you. As I mentioned to someone last month, all my years as a math teacher often led me to strive for clarity above all else. Not that I have anything against dreamy pictures, which I sometimes favor too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 9, 2012 at 11:49 AM

  6. I am not surprised by this sunflower trying to bloom in the harshest condition. Many in my garden were trying to do the same in early November, weeks after the first snow fall. Only the freezing of the ground would stop them from trying and end their life. Some in the wild, seeded there by the birds can be just beautiful when you happen to encounter them in the late fall far from any garden and homestead.

    Spiral Dreamer

    January 9, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    • Winter here in central Texas isn’t normally severe; snow and ice are rarities here. So far this winter we’ve been having afternoon temperatures in the 50s, 60s and even low 70s, so I guess you can’t blame this Maximilian sunflower plant for trying to flower so far beyond its normal time. What was really unexpected, though, was the Indian paintbrush I reported on a couple of weeks ago:


      Steve Schwartzman

      January 9, 2012 at 2:14 PM

  7. Wow, it seems to be floating off the background! Amazing blue in there; really pops the rest of the colours! Cheers!


    January 9, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    • Now you see why I so often use a bright blue sky as a background. I’m happy to know it made the sunflower float for you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 9, 2012 at 3:05 PM

  8. Stunning!!! No other words needed.


    January 10, 2012 at 8:38 AM

  9. Love the yellow against the blue sky! Beautiful! 🙂


    January 23, 2012 at 9:56 AM

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