Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A 2012 retrospective

with 59 comments

Yesterday, just after I launched into a series of posts with some pictures from last year that I hadn’t shown before, Nancy at Living the Seasons pointed me to a post on the Scientific American website. There entomologist Alex Wild (what an appropriate last name) asked people to submit links to retrospectives of their nature photography from 2012. Nancy suggested that I might want to participate, so I’ve put together this post containing some of my and your favorite photographs from the year just ended. I was concerned that a few of you will have seen all these before, but then I realized I could add a couple of previously unposted images at the end so there’d be at least something new for everyone.

If you click on the thumbnails below you’ll be taken back to the original posts so you can read about what you’re seeing if you want to (the exception being the newly added pictures at the end, which will just enlarge).

Happy (re)viewing!

Click for greater size and clarity.

Damselflies Mating 0794

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Frostweed Ice 1594

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Two Anemones Beginning to Open 0616

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Texas Vervain by Other Wildflowers 1070

Texas Thistle Bud by Phlox 5624

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Ladies' Tresses Orchid 3617

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Heller's Plantain Flowering 6119

Simsia calva Flower Head from Below 4134

Gaura Flowers and Buds 6843

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Rain-Lily Flower in Colony 2472A

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Click for greater clarity.

Small Palafoxia Bud Opening by Goldeneye Flowers 9156

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Black Willow Leaf Spiral 1304

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Click for greater clarity.

Pearl Milkweed Vine Leaf Turning Yellow 3598

And now for the new old pictures. The first of them shows a standing cypress, Ipomopsis rubra, in northwest Austin on May 7.

Standing Cypress Flowering in Colony 5354A

The other picture shows Gaillardia pulchella, known as a firewheel or Indian blanket, with its rays strangely askew, also on May 7.

Firewheel with Rays Askew 5147

And I hope your eyes aren’t strangely askew after so many pictures.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 13, 2013 at 6:16 AM

59 Responses

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  1. Every last single photos is so good. My favorites: the squirrel and the creek with the limestone cliff. Also like the cedar tree or limb that is bent to form an interesting shape. It is hard to pick just one and I know that is not what you wanted your subscribers/readers to do. None the less i could not resist since there are many excellent ones for viewing.


    January 13, 2013 at 6:42 AM

  2. It’s always a pleasure to see your photos even if I have already seen them before!! This is a wonderful collection :).


    January 13, 2013 at 6:42 AM

  3. I remember most of these you’ve reposted, and I think my favourite is still the tendril, although the basket flower is also an absolute stunner. It’s great to look back at them again, Steve. Such wonderful pictures!


    January 13, 2013 at 7:23 AM

    • Thanks, Cathy. I can see where some of these would be especially appealing to you up there in the land of winter.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 13, 2013 at 7:30 AM

  4. What a lovely overview! Thank you so much! Happy 2013!!!


    January 13, 2013 at 7:25 AM

    • Same to you, Agnes. We’ll have to arrange to go on a good old-fashioned nature hike again. This year I’ll try to make it out to Mason when the wildflowers are in force.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 13, 2013 at 7:32 AM

  5. There’s just nothing like unexpectedly meeting an old friend, and several of these are “old friends”. The truth is that I’ve made multiple visits to some of these photos through the course of the year, and I’m sure other readers have, as well. After all, if we listen to favorite songs again and again, purchase art for our homes so we can enjoy it daily and re-read some books so often we can find favorite passages in a flash – why not see photos a second, or tenth, or hundredth time?

    The fun thing about this post is that I not only remember so many photos, I remember the comments as well – and in some cases, as with the rain lilies, where I found my own examples after being introduced to them here. I think this was a marvelous idea – and I still love my caterpillar. 😉


    January 13, 2013 at 7:50 AM

    • Thanks for your willingness to come back for repeat viewings (I knew you’d appreciate seeing your green giant of a caterpillar again). And good of you to remember even the comments that accompanied some of the pictures. Luckily you live close enough to central Texas that a lot of the plants and animals found here are a part of your world near the coast, and so some species that you met here have become realities for you there.

      For my part, when I look at these photographs I remember where I was and the circumstances that led up to taking each one. That’s not always true about the pictures in my archive; sometimes I come across a picture and have no recollection of taking it, but I’m glad that I did if it’s a good one. I think of it as a present that I left for myself to discover at some future date.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 13, 2013 at 8:16 AM

  6. as always, a revelation and an inspiration. Thanks for sharing.

    Robert Kamper

    January 13, 2013 at 8:52 AM

  7. It’s a tough job selecting works that represent one’s own vision as a voyeur of Mother Nature. This set is a marvelous representation of how you have recorded the natural world in Austin and its environs. I feel particularly fortunate to see through your lens.


    January 13, 2013 at 8:53 AM

  8. Such a beautiful collection!

    Vladimir Brezina

    January 13, 2013 at 8:53 AM

  9. These photos are beautiful ! Congratulations !


    January 13, 2013 at 10:17 AM

  10. An amazing review, I enjoyed seeing some I missed and enjoying others again like the strange ice plant.


    January 13, 2013 at 10:23 AM

    • I’m glad you had the chance to fill in some gaps, and yes, that frostweed ice is something special, a rarity of nature right here in my neighborhood.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 13, 2013 at 10:39 AM

  11. The munching caterpillar is my favourite and the rain lilies have turned out to make an excellent desktop background.

    Emily Heath

    January 13, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    • I was really happy to see those dense rain-lilies back for the second year in a row on the same plot of ground. Guess it’s appropriate that the colony should serve as your desktop background.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 13, 2013 at 11:30 AM

  12. Beautiful Captures – heart your photography – thanks for sharing:)


    January 13, 2013 at 11:11 AM

  13. great post! i love ‘it isn’t easy being green;’ though that blue curl is lovely. they’re all lovely! heading to SA now… z

    Playamart - Zeebra Designs

    January 13, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    • Thanks. Buen viaje a Sudamérica (I assume that by SA you meant South America and not San Antonio, which is what the initials might suggest to people in central Texas).

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 13, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    • Ja! Actually I’m in South America in Ecuador. I was heading to Scientific American to see the post!
      Thanks so much; I enjoyed reflecting on the nature posts from last year.
      Here’s the post, which hopefully will send a few more people your way!

      Playamart - Zeebra Designs

      January 13, 2013 at 6:17 PM

      • Ah, I thought maybe you’d been visiting in Costa Rica and were heading back to South America. By the way, I’ve been in Costa Rica, but I never did make it to South America. Maybe one of these days.

        Steve Schwartzman

        January 13, 2013 at 11:10 PM

        • the two countries have a lot in common, yet they are totally different; but you knew that already, didn’t you? the howlers are ‘nearby’ here in ecuador, but not in my little ecosystem. i miss them being part of my daily life!

          Playamart - Zeebra Designs

          January 13, 2013 at 11:26 PM

  14. A delight for the soul – beautiful as always.


    January 13, 2013 at 1:05 PM

  15. Splendid! This is a wonderful and inspiring selection.

    Lemony (Gr)Egghead

    January 13, 2013 at 1:40 PM

  16. A lot of nice ones, Steve.


    January 13, 2013 at 1:53 PM

  17. My kind of photographer. I love macro and super macro because it brings to life worlds that go unnoticed. Great shots Steve.

    Jerry Stolarski

    January 13, 2013 at 2:43 PM

  18. “… strangely askew”?
    No, I’m sure our eyes are fine, but that last flower could be termed as such. 😉


    January 13, 2013 at 3:50 PM

  19. Thanks for the mention! And I echo your readers that I’m more to see your pictures again. They’re much too good to only post once on your blog. I have to get going and get mine posted now too.



    January 13, 2013 at 3:51 PM

  20. Beautiful photos, Steve. Looking forward to seeing many more in 2013.

    Mind Margins/Run Nature

    January 13, 2013 at 3:54 PM

  21. […] Stephen Schwartzman of Portraits of Wildflowers posted his Best of 2012 Nature Photos and told of a query from Scientific American’s Alex Wild  for “your best science/nature images…  See Stephen’s post HERE> […]

  22. Still like ’em all. Nice year in review!


    January 13, 2013 at 7:22 PM

  23. Una selección maravillosa, como todas tus fotografías!!


    January 14, 2013 at 2:12 AM

    • Gracias, Manoli. Mis fotos son todas maravillosas, pero si una resulta mala, no la muestro aquí.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 14, 2013 at 7:45 AM

  24. What a wonderful idea to use for a year’s end. I loved every single photo but was taken with the first, the fat, green caterpillar. Its facial expression is so quizzical.

    Mary Mageau

    January 14, 2013 at 5:10 AM

    • Thanks to Nancy for suggesting it. I like your description of the caterpillar’s expression as quizzical, a word I would never have thought to use.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 14, 2013 at 7:50 AM

  25. Merci pour ce récapitulatif car c’est toujours un plaisir de voir ou revoir tes photos. Je te souhaite une année toute aussi riche.


    January 14, 2013 at 7:09 AM

  26. Hey Steve, This is really quite an amazing portfolio. It was quite a year for you.

    Brian Comeau

    January 14, 2013 at 7:59 PM

  27. Far from being askew, my eyes are delighted!

    Susan Scheid

    January 15, 2013 at 5:39 PM

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