Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Paloverde pod

with 11 comments

Speaking of a paloverde tree, Parkinsonia aculeata, whose green branches and leaves served as an out-of-focus background yesterday for a colorful prairie flameleaf sumac, Rhus lanceolata, here’s a closeup showing the tip of one of the paloverde’s slender, hanging pods. The flameleaf sumac is back to serving as a background, one even more happily out of focus than in the view from two posts ago. Call this minimalism when it comes to composition but maximalism when it comes to color.

As was true for the last two pictures, this hue-topian vision comes from a visit on November 20 to an undeveloped property behind Seton Northwest Hospital, whose name tells you what part of Austin it and I are in. (It’s common for “he and I” or “she and I” to serve as the subject of a clause, but “it and I” is rare. I imagine that’s because “it” is normally non-human while “I” is human, and we don’t expect a member of one of those realms to be coordinated with a member of the other realm.)

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 2, 2012 at 6:16 AM

11 Responses

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  1. I’ve always found the photos here to be very well done, but once in a while there are exceptional ones and I find it necessary to point them out. This is one of those photos.

    ken bello

    December 2, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    • Thanks so much for your compliment, Ken. I’m pleased that this mini-maxi portrait caught your fancy. I was fortunate to have a bright blue sky to enhance the red-orange of the sumac and even bring out flecks of that color on the pod.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 2, 2012 at 8:54 AM

  2. Beautiful photo. I like the background colors which make the seed pod much more evident;. The seed pod is pretty and if it were large enough and painted, could serve as a Christmas tree decoration. I don’t know how small the pods are but I would think the pods are too tiny but then I really have no clue.


    December 2, 2012 at 8:59 AM

    • Now that’s a coincidence. A little while ago, in a comment I left on a post in the blog Prufrock’s Dilemma, I wondered whether anyone has used dried milkweed pods as ornaments for Christmas trees (and there was an affirmative reply). Now you’re wondering the same thing about paloverde pods. These are typically 2–4 inches long but quite narrow. Still, I’ll bet you could make them look attractive.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 2, 2012 at 9:35 AM

      • Thanks for the reply. I don’t have any but I thought it sort of sounded like a possibility. Have you done a post on balsam gourds? I am probably not saying the name right. I collected some beside the highway coming through Marble Falls and north coming the back way from Austin. I wanted some seed to plant on my garden fence. I think the gourds are pretty and these can be dried and used as an ornament. I just like to see them grow and I really like native plants if they are okay to grow in my area. I have not seen any around here in a while so maybe I can get then growing again. I’ll throw some seeds along some country fence rows and hope the seed will take hold.


        December 2, 2012 at 2:04 PM

      • Thanks. I looked at the post from August. Good info.


        December 2, 2012 at 6:42 PM

  3. I’ve never seen such a pregnant-looking seed pod. It’s wonderful! And, as these things happen, a friend I was with on Saturday mentioned a tree she enjoyed at a house she owned long ago. She didn’t know the name, but remembered the pretty yellow flowers and the name that made her think of Parkinson’s disease. I suspect I’ve identified it for her.


    December 3, 2012 at 7:50 AM

    • Funny, I hadn’t thought of the swelling here as pregnancy, but of course that’s the implied state of every seed pod that every plant produces. I’m pleased that you find this one wonderful.

      As for your friend, after you tell her what the tree is she’ll have to start thinking of you as a botanical Sherlock Holmes.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 3, 2012 at 8:25 AM

  4. I really like your close-up photos Steve. You do a fabulous job of isolating the subjects. Another great one here.

    Brian Comeau

    December 3, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    • Thanks, Brian. As you’ve seen, I do a lot of closeups, and I’ve gone on photo outings where I never once took my macro lens off the camera to change to another. You’re right that I have a fondness for isolating subjects against largely neutral backgrounds.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 3, 2012 at 8:23 PM

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