Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

More red and green

with 12 comments

Flameleaf Sumac Turning Colors by Clouds 4159

Christmas day in Austin started out mild, with the temperature in the low 60s, but by night it had dropped to near freezing and the sky had completely clouded over. While things were still pleasant in the morning I went to the Arbor Walk Pond, where I welcomed—or it welcomed me—a stand of prairie flameleaf sumac, Rhus lanceolata, that had kept its leaves on even into the last week of the year but was now on the color curve to losing them.

If you’re interested in photography as a craft, you’ll find that points 3, 18, and the newly added 24 in About My Techniques are relevant to this photograph.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 26, 2012 at 6:18 AM

12 Responses

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  1. Holiday hikes in Austin! My daughter and her husband enjoyed one too!

    Bonnie Michelle

    December 26, 2012 at 8:28 AM

    • Did they take a few hundred pictures too? No, they were probably saner and chose not to tramp through the underbrush the way I did.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 26, 2012 at 9:20 AM

  2. What a beautifully composed photo. The clouds and sky can be lovely ahead of a front, and the addition of the seasonally-festive sumac is just perfect. It’s especially nice that even some single leaves are showing both colors. Very nice!


    December 26, 2012 at 8:32 AM

    • Thank you. It’s good that you noticed the green-red of some of the individual leaflets. Some branches of this tree and nearby sumacs were still mostly or entirely green, but the short-lived red is what drew my attention and made me happy to be there. I wasn’t expecting to have such a good flameleaf encounter so late in the season, but nature runs its trains on an unpublished schedule.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 26, 2012 at 9:26 AM

  3. This is really pretty. The clouds add a lot to the photo. It is always nice to see a plant that is holding onto its leaves and color.


    December 26, 2012 at 9:10 AM

    • Thank you. The clouds added a lot to the photograph for me too, especially when I could position them below the bright blue sky and some of the sumac’s red. With the freeze that came through last night, I don’t imagine those sumacs will hold onto their leaves much longer.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 26, 2012 at 9:29 AM

  4. This sumac offers wonderful colours and the picture is perfect with that blue sky and big cloud.
    But I think that a few more freezing nights will get rid of these lovely leaves.
    Thanks Steve


    December 26, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    • You’re welcome. There were enough clouds that I sometimes had to wait for them to move to allow the intermittent bright light of the sun to shine through, but I worked at incorporating the white clouds into my pictures in various ways.

      We had a freeze last night and another is predicted for tonight, so it’ll soon be bye-bye to red sumac leaves till late in 2013. I’m happy to have had at least one last encounter with them this season.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 26, 2012 at 10:05 AM

  5. Terrific shot!


    December 26, 2012 at 10:42 PM

  6. […] take of colorful flameleaf sumac leaves for 2012, but you may recall that December 25 provided an unexpectedly late chance to take […]

  7. […] seen plenty of pictures of flameleaf sumac, Rhus lanceolata, in these pages, but today marks the first appearance of evergreen sumac, Rhus […]

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