Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 69 comments

Passion vine, that is, Passiflora lutea. And I was passionate about recording this view of one of the vine’s tiny coiled tendrils against the backlit leaf behind it. The place was McKinney Falls State Park; the date was April 5.

Those interested in photography as a craft will find points 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, 14, 19 and 20 in About My Techniques relevant to today’s image. (No, I didn’t set out to do all those things, most of them just happened.)

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 27, 2012 at 5:28 AM

69 Responses

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  1. Wow! This photo just took my breath away!


    April 27, 2012 at 6:01 AM

    • I find tendrils fascinating, and I see you do, too, especially when seen abstractly.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 27, 2012 at 6:08 AM

    • And notice how Victoria began her comment the same way you did, and at the same time.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 27, 2012 at 6:14 AM

      • Perhaps a spontaneous reaction rather than a comment… Must look at her site!


        April 27, 2012 at 10:03 AM

  2. Wow, Steve.
    I love this image. It really is stunning.


    April 27, 2012 at 6:01 AM

    • I’m intrigued by the way you and Cathy, in Australia and Germany, respectively, commented at the same time (to the minute) and began with the same interjection. You two are in sync!

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 27, 2012 at 6:13 AM

      • What an amazing co-incidence. 6.01am your time. I wonder what the time diff is between Australia and Germany.


        April 27, 2012 at 8:35 AM

      • From what I could determine on the Internet, Melbourne is currently 8 hours ahead of Bavaria.

        Steve Schwartzman

        April 27, 2012 at 8:51 AM

  3. I like the abstract qualities in this image – the shape, the colour harmony, the composition …


    April 27, 2012 at 6:27 AM

    • Thanks, Louis. I’m certainly fond of abstraction (fond enough to have created an abstraction category for posts and tags). I’m pleased that you find this one effective.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 27, 2012 at 6:38 AM

  4. The last time I got stopped in my tracks like this was the day I came across Mary Cassatt’s Child in a Straw Hat at the Houston museum. If I’d come across this photo in a gallery, I’d be the one saying, “Just tell me the amount and I’ll write the check”.

    I’m speechless….


    April 27, 2012 at 7:32 AM

    • It’s something if this picture made a wordweaver like you speechless. Now if you have any connections at the Houston museum…

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 27, 2012 at 8:35 AM

  5. A very special picture, plants are beautiful!


    April 27, 2012 at 7:51 AM

  6. Perfection in composition and hues, Sally


    April 27, 2012 at 7:54 AM

  7. I am not liking…I am loving THAT.


    April 27, 2012 at 7:58 AM

  8. A very cool shot and a cool vine!


    April 27, 2012 at 7:58 AM

    • The flowers of this species aren’t as showy as those of some others—and none were out yet in any case—but I found the coiling of the tendrils captivating.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 27, 2012 at 8:45 AM

  9. Breathtaking shot!


    April 27, 2012 at 8:40 AM

  10. Beautiful…


    April 27, 2012 at 10:41 AM

  11. Love it!

    Angelina Reese

    April 27, 2012 at 10:56 AM

  12. Love this one – oh so cool! Have a Great Weekend!


    April 27, 2012 at 11:27 AM

  13. This is very beautiful, and so simple in green. ~ Lynda


    April 27, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    • The simplicity pleases me too, Lynda. I’m a fan of minimalism—when I’m not doing other things.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 27, 2012 at 12:30 PM

  14. Stunning image Steven. I love it.


    April 27, 2012 at 1:00 PM

  15. FANTASTIC shot Steven!

    H2O by Joanna

    April 27, 2012 at 1:14 PM

  16. Absolutely brilliant! Top scores for composition, lighting, colour, fun and the wink. You got it, fun & wink!


    April 27, 2012 at 4:23 PM

  17. Stunning 🙂

  18. Je vais dire comme tout le monde, désolé de ne pas être original : “Stunning ! great shot, this one’s awesome !!” 🙂


    April 27, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    • Mais tu as le droit de le dire en français: c’est une photo étonnante, formidable, éblouissante, merveilleuse, géniale, ravissante, inouïe. J’espère que tu approuves les adjectifs que j’ai choisis pour toi.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 27, 2012 at 6:56 PM

  19. Spectacularly beautiful!

    Michael Glover

    April 27, 2012 at 7:14 PM

  20. Just simply, perfectly, beautifully photographed! Kathleen

  21. I came back to admire this one a bit more. This time I noticed the interplay of light and shadow as well as the beautifully sculpted shape. If I were to tuck my tongue into my cheek a bit, I’d title it “Nature’s Slinky”, but that would be only for a moment of fun. It deserves the elegant title you’ve given it.


    April 27, 2012 at 9:49 PM

    • Thanks for coming back to look again. And as I look at things, there’s nothing wrong with a tongue-in-cheek reference to a Slinky. Nature can be pretty slinky, in fact, even to the point of verging on passion. As for elegance, I’m all for it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 27, 2012 at 10:18 PM

  22. Astonishing, Steve. I am amazed at what you can do with your camera and the digital darkroom.

    Sheila T Illustrated

    April 27, 2012 at 10:29 PM

  23. this is a beautiful photograph Steve…it surely strikes all the right checklists (not talking about your link, but generically )

    abu zar

    April 28, 2012 at 3:46 AM

  24. It’s almost hypnotic Steve, and the darkness gives some hint of the void, as if we are looking into creation itself, and the coiled potential energy of an emerging alien thing. It’s quite spooky and fabulously exotic all at once.


    April 28, 2012 at 6:15 AM

    • I appreciate your thoughtful and imaginative analysis. Thank you. The darkness was a camera thing: compared to the brightness of the backlit leaf, the plants and trees in the shade even a few feet away registered as black to the camera’s sensor, which is far from being as sensitive as the human eye. But this is one of those cases where I could put that relative insensitivity to work in favor of esthetics.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 28, 2012 at 7:54 AM

  25. A perfect reunion of beauty, art and chaos theory.


    April 29, 2012 at 4:50 PM

  26. I really love this one.. I think because it’s reminiscent of something mechanical and man-made that it provokes disbelief that nature could be so beautifully precise!!

    Just A Smidgen

    April 29, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    • Since you mention mechanical, maybe this sort of tendril was the inspiration for metallic springs. There’s plenty of precision and mathematics in nature.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 29, 2012 at 7:58 PM

  27. Simply superb. Liked.


    April 30, 2012 at 4:34 AM

  28. This is perfectly photographed.. Amazing image!


    May 2, 2012 at 7:41 AM

  29. I love this green and I find which this photo is relaxing !


    January 13, 2013 at 10:10 AM

  30. I went blackberry picking after work last night, and found passion flower in the wild for the first time. I’ve been looking at photos, and think it was Passiflora incarnata rather than the variety this tendril belongs to. In any event, as I was looking at the way the passion flower had insinuated its way into the blackberry vines, I remembered this photo. What a nice surprise to see that it’s also passion flower.


    June 14, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    • Good for you to find a passion flower in the wild, something that only occasionally has happened to me. From the fact that you remembered this picture I’m assuming that the vine you saw curled in a similar way as it insinuated itself into the blackberries. And speaking of that, I’m further assuming that the berries you picked were southern dewberries, Rubus trivialis, which I saw people picking along US 290 in the outskirts of Houston some years ago.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 14, 2014 at 10:10 PM

      • Actually, I discovered a you-pick-it farm about 20 minutes away which has acres and acres of tomatoes, squash, melon, cucumbers, peach and fig trees, and true, trellised blackberries — at least a dozen varieties. I saw the passion flower vining along with only one variety, which happened to be quite thorny. The farmer laughed and said maybe his helpers didn’t get rid of it there, because of the thorns.


        June 15, 2014 at 6:05 AM

        • Ah, then I posted an I-didn’t-pick-the-right-assumption reply to your comment. I’m so used to things being in nature that the possibility of a farm didn’t occur to me. On the other hand, picking fruits and vegetables right off the plants is a lot closer to a natural state than what we find in our supermarkets.

          Your mention of thorns reminds me of a poem I quoted part of in reply to a comment by Gallivanta a couple of weeks ago (which you may have seen):


          Steve Schwartzman

          June 15, 2014 at 6:26 AM

  31. […] While it’s true that you’ve never seen a flower of this species here before, I did show an abstract portrait of a tendril way back in […]

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