Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

An even closer view of a Texas dandelion

with 24 comments

Click for greater size and clarity.

Following up on the picture in the last post, here’s a still closer view of a Texas dandelion, Pyrrhopappus pauciflorus. Now you can make out the five little teeth at the tip of each ray flower.

I photographed this Texas dandelion at the old Union Hill Cemetery in northeastern Round Rock on April 2. The prairie wind was blowing (from right to left, as you see things here) at about 20 miles an hour, so I used a shutter speed of 1/500 sec. to stop most of the motion of the dandelion. The patches of purple in the background (which you may see more clearly if you click the image) are from the many bluebonnets growing in the cemetery, but the dandelion was so bright in the sunlight that the bluebonnets and other nearby plants came out dark by comparison.

For those of you who are interested in this native dandelion, I’ll add that it grows in Mexico and in various states in the southern United States, as you can confirm at the USDA website. For those interested in photography as a craft, points 1, 2, 4, and 13 in About My Techniques are relevant to this photograph.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 5, 2012 at 1:08 PM

24 Responses

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  1. As always, another great shot, Steve.

    Mind Margins

    April 5, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    • Thanks, Angela. The prairie wind I had to contend with was as nothing compared to what was about to happen near Dallas.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 5, 2012 at 3:01 PM

  2. Beautiful shot! Your flower photos inspire me to do better.


    April 5, 2012 at 1:49 PM

  3. Interesting look! I’m seeing a combination of a spiky punk ‘do and locks that the ends look like they’ve been cut with pinking shears.


    April 5, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    • Maybe you’ll start a new trend. There was the Mohawk, the mullet, and then the Texas dandelion.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 5, 2012 at 3:04 PM

  4. I have been out a few times recently trying to snag photos of early spring flowers here, and I must say, my admiration for your photos only grows! This one is a particular marvel, the way you’ve stopped motion with the high shutter speed, yet retained a full sense of motion. Really lovely.

    Susan Scheid

    April 5, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    • Thanks so much, Susan. My camera allows a lot of adjustments, and I try to vary the settings to achieve different effects.

      My poor right hand gets so stiff after hours of taking pictures (can you tell I just came back from a session?).

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 5, 2012 at 4:09 PM

  5. It’s a delightful flower, and a fabulous photo as always!


    April 5, 2012 at 5:12 PM

  6. Sweeter looking wildflower than our Eastern one, Sally


    April 5, 2012 at 7:24 PM

  7. I drove down to Galveston today, and it looked to be taking over the landscape in some areas – just beautiful. I do love the little “teeth” on each petal. Every flower seems to have a detail or two that makes it pleasing in its own way.

    I have a friend who’s learning to take sports photos for a Kansas newspaper. From what I’ve read, it seems the two of you use some of the same techniques.


    April 5, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    • Thanks for your report on the density of Texas dandelions on the way to Galveston. This is apparently a good year for the species. You’re right that each flower has unique features that lend to its charm; getting in close is often a prerequisite for seeing those features.

      Interesting that your sports photographer friend uses some of the same techniques I do with my subjects from nature. I don’t believe I’ve ever taken a sports picture, but when I photograph flowers from the back, something I do often enough, I occasionally think about Nat Fein’s famous photograph of Babe Ruth taken from behind:


      Steve Schwartzman

      April 5, 2012 at 9:46 PM

  8. Excellent use of the bluebonnets as a backdrop. Makes the dandelion pop!

    Sheila T Illustrated

    April 5, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    • Thanks, Sheila. I’m fond of playing one color off against another when the scene lets me. The more pop, the better.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 5, 2012 at 10:05 PM

  9. Just a comment on the location of the picture. My great grandparents, Brinkley, are buried in Union Hill cemetery. They are in the plot that has the fence around it. The Jr. Historians of Hopewell Middle School have gotten it declared a historical cemetery. We have been trying to educate that mowing by volunteers should be curtailed during the wildflower season so that it can remain a prairie. Thanks for visiting.

    Kathy Galloway

    April 6, 2012 at 7:34 AM

    • Thanks for letting me know about your personal connection to that cemetery, Kathy. Agnes Plutino first alerted me to it a couple of years ago, and I got there before that year’s mowing. I went back in 2011 and found the place pitiful, what with the drought and mowing. This post shows that the wildflowers are back this year, but unfortunately lots of Rapistrum rugosum has invaded, as it has in so many other places. Perhaps the Williamson County chapter of NPSOT can start a project to remove it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 6, 2012 at 7:44 AM

  10. Excellent photo Steve and the background of the bluebonnets really helps the flower stand out! As you said in another comment…”the more pop the better!”


    April 6, 2012 at 10:40 AM

  11. […] my nature photography blog the other day I posted a picture of a Texas dandelion, a species that surprised some readers by its existence. That plant, Pyrrhopappus pauciflorus, is […]

  12. Lovely. Excuse the whistle stop tour as I try to catch up after a couple of months absence.

    Mufidah Kassalias

    April 8, 2012 at 9:33 PM

  13. […] stay close to the ground and their open flower heads are only about half the width of those of the Texas dandelion and European dandelion. This has been a good year for dwarf dandelions, and I’ve seen dense […]

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