Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

More color changes not triggered by cold

with 13 comments

Click for greater clarity.

In the last post you saw the way a croton leaf can turn bright yellow (and be occupied by a bearer of green). Now here’s a detail of a no-longer-green leaf of the greenbrier vine, Smilax bona-nox, whose stiff and waxy leaves have a tendency to turn partially or mostly brown, yellow, orange, and even red. As far as I can tell, the change isn’t triggered specifically by cold, because I’ve seen individual greenbrier leaves turning these colors at various times of the year. I photographed this particularly bright one on the warm morning of October 17th in the northeast quadrant of US 183 and Mopac in Austin, where thousands of cars go by every hour.

For those of you who are interested in photography as a craft, points 1, 9, 12 and 15 in About My Techniques are relevant to this photograph.

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 5, 2012 at 6:14 AM

13 Responses

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  1. What incredible colour and detail!! Did you shoot this with a macro lens?

    photosfromtheloonybin

    November 5, 2012 at 6:43 AM

    • Yes, I did use a macro lens. That way I could get very close and focus (literally and figuratively) on just a section of the leaf without having its edges or any background details distract from what you see here. For an insight into the vibrant color, you may want to follow the link to About My Techniques and check out point number 12.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 5, 2012 at 6:55 AM

  2. Love this picture – the colours and the detail are just incredible.

    Journey Photographic

    November 5, 2012 at 7:55 AM

  3. shoreacres

    November 5, 2012 at 9:21 AM

    • The makers of Noxema certainly wanted its customers to think they were going to get a good night’s result from using the cream. Perhaps you can attest to that.

      Thanks for reporting that the Muscogee rubbed moistened greenbrier on their faces as a rejuvenant. No doubt they avoided parts of the plant that had thorns on them!

      I don’t believe there’s any connection between greenbrier and Noxema, other than that their names incorporate the Latin word for ‘night.’

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 5, 2012 at 1:35 PM

  4. What a wonderful close-up study in texture and colour, Steve

    mary mageau

    November 5, 2012 at 6:44 PM

  5. Incredible. Looks a bit like an aerial view of the landscape from high in the air.

    Susan Scheid

    November 5, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    • Not having lived in New York for almost 40 years, I occasionally do something to bring back the fall color I remember so fondly from those long-ago days. Here’s one take. Like you, I can impose an imaginary change of scale and see this bit of leaf as a large tract of earth, multiply subdivided, far below me.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 5, 2012 at 9:33 PM

  6. […] as the leaf of the greenbrier vine, Smilax bona-nox, that you saw yesterday had turned bright orange and red, new tendrils and leaves and thorns were forming that had subtler […]

  7. […] I went walking in the northeast quadrant of US 183 and Mopac on October 17th, in addition to a colorful greenbrier leaf and some new greenbrier growth I found a resurgence of many kinds of wildflowers. One was mealy […]

  8. […] I took this picture a year ago today, on October 17, 2012, in the northeast quadrant of US 183 and Mopac, where I found a resurgence of wildflowers of various kinds. Last fall you saw several other photographs from the same session: a greenthread flower head, some mealy blue sage flowers, a greenbrier tendril and thorn, and an unusually brilliant greenbrier leaf. […]


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