Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Color on an overcast day

with 13 comments

Click for better clarity.

Click for better clarity.

After three photographs in a row that look like they borrowed Rembrandt’s palette—January 7 is in January, after all, and it had been a mostly overcast month at that—here’s a brighter picture from the beginning of my work that morning. Normally I wouldn’t show you a possumhaw again so soon after you’ve seen one, also from a recent cloudy spell, but this view of Ilex decidua is different enough that I decided to include it and brighten up the somber sequence of the last three days.

As I said, it was January 7. I’d barely left home and had just turned onto a street with the great name of Lost Horizon Dr.* when I saw this colorful tree and pulled over. The street there was terraced about six feet above the level of the adjacent yard where this possumhaw had most likely been planted (as opposed to springing up on its own), so I found myself at eye level with the upper parts of the tree; in fact from my unusually high vantage point I even took a few pictures looking down onto some of the possumhaw’s branches.

Notice the dull yellow-green that the leaves had turned as this deciduous tree was getting ready to shed them. Note also all the lichen, something else that distinguishes this view from the one I saw on December 31.


* Thanks, presumably, to James Hilton.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 11, 2013 at 6:16 AM

13 Responses

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  1. Thanks for the splash of colour Steve – not much of that around here lately :).


    January 11, 2013 at 6:19 AM

    • On the two days following the one when I took this picture we even had splashes of rain in Austin to match the splash of color. Both were welcome.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 11, 2013 at 7:11 AM

  2. I can see the difference in this one that is growing in a domestic situation. More water and maybe a bit of fertilizer (probably not though). Anyway the little shrub or tree is abundant with berries. A really pretty pic of this holly.


    January 11, 2013 at 8:12 AM

    • Ah, sweet domesticity. I’d seen (and I think even photographed) this tree a couple of years earlier, because I drive on Lost Horizon often enough.

      As possumhaws are dropping their leaves now, their bright red fruits are becoming more conspicuous around town.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 11, 2013 at 8:44 AM

  3. Love the color the lichens bring to the tree!

    Bonnie Michelle

    January 11, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    • That’s what caught my attention this time. I’ve often photographed possumhaw’s dense red fruits, both from afar and close, but I don’t recall ever seeing so much lichen on the branches. That lichen lightened them up, especially when contrasted with the dark trunks and branches of the possumhaw in the picture I posted last week.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 11, 2013 at 12:00 PM

  4. these berries have a beautiful color !


    January 11, 2013 at 2:36 PM

  5. Hi,
    The beautiful red of the berries really does make it stand out, very nice.


    January 11, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    • I saw a number of these brightly adorned trees as I drove around today. I even photographed a few (not that I “need” more possumhaw pictures).

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 11, 2013 at 7:13 PM

  6. I stopped work early this afternoon and went back to the nature preserve where I thought I might have seen possumhaw. Nope – just very healthy, very berry-laden yaupon. The leaves still were glossy and green, and quite firmly attached. By this time, possumhaw would have shed its leaves.

    Now, I have to figure out the clusters of black berries I found – very striking, and also new to me.


    January 25, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    • Too bad that you didn’t find possumhaw, which here in the center of the state has mostly reached its maximum leafless red visibility (and which I’ve therefore photographed some more). I hope the clusters of black fruits you’re seeing aren’t from Ligustrum, which is an alien invasive tree.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 25, 2013 at 6:05 PM

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