Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Separate but equal

with 15 comments

Click for greater size and clarity.

On March 31, Eve and I drove close to a 300-mile circuit south of Austin to see what wildflowers we could see. And see them we did, stopping repeatedly to appreciate the profusion along the roadsides and in adjacent fields in this spring of normal rain after a year of drought. The first stop was along US 183 south of Luling, and it produced today’s picture.

The red, as you saw a couple of days ago in the median of Loop 360, comes from Indian paintbrushes, Castilleja indivisa. The yellow wildflowers in the background make their first appearance in this blog: they’re Texas dandelions, Pyrrhopappus pauciflorus. These are native here, as opposed to the dandelions from Europe that have spread across much of North America, including the lawns of the New York suburb I grew up in.

It’s common in Texas to find dense mixtures of wildflowers—again as you saw a couple of posts back—but sometimes two species colonize the same terrain mostly separately, as on this plot of ground, where there were only a few dandelions among the Indian paintbrushes and vice versa.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 4, 2012 at 5:34 AM

15 Responses

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  1. We just cannot compete in the northeast. So glad the flowers have an ambassador in you!

    Bonnie Michelle

    April 4, 2012 at 8:55 AM

  2. This is Beautiful! Love the colors! I feel like my Indian Paintbrushes in my photos don’t have this amazing color.


    April 4, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    • Thanks. It must be that Texas soil.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 4, 2012 at 11:54 AM

      • Well I live in Texas too, so I don’t know what you do to make the colors like that.


        April 4, 2012 at 12:11 PM

      • The paintbrushes in your recent post look pretty vibrant on my monitor, so one consideration is that different monitors render colors differently. So do different models of cameras. I photograph in RAW mode, so I have latitude to adjust things in Photoshop to make them look the way I remember them. Perhaps you adjust pictures differently in software from the way I do. One other thing that occurs to me is that camera sensors seem to react differently depending on the mix of prominent colors in the scene. There are probably also other factors that I’m not thinking of.

        Steve Schwartzman

        April 4, 2012 at 12:18 PM

  3. Very nice! I really love the colors in this!

    Michael Glover

    April 4, 2012 at 12:20 PM

  4. WOW we just don’t have anything like that around here. I’m glad you share these scenes with us!


    April 5, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    • Texas in the spring can be quite something, as you’re seeing in these recent pictures. I hope you’ll manage to visit this part of the country one year. On balance, of course, the Northeast (where I’m originally from) has large-scale fall color that Texas can’t come close to matching.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 5, 2012 at 2:52 PM

  5. that’s a beautifully composed photograph that is very cheerful. nice work Steve

    abu zar

    April 5, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    • With wildflower displays like this one, it’s hard not to be cheerful. This has been a great spring so far.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 5, 2012 at 9:48 PM

  6. […] grow in Austin but is found not far to the south and southeast. By now you probably recognize the Indian paintbrushes, firewheels (also called Indian blankets), bluebonnets, and phlox mixed in among the coreopsis. […]

  7. […] plants and have flowers of a yellow that can shade a little bit toward orange. The red flowers are Indian paintbrushes, Castilleja […]

  8. […] all of the red flowers were Indian paintbrushes, Castilleja indivisa, which you’ve seen several times in these pages this season. The yellow […]

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