Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Black and white

with 10 comments

Burned Bastrop Forest 0936

The color of mourning in China is white, while in the West it’s black. Look at this picture that I took on March 3rd of this year and you’ll see that both colors amount to the same thing: either way, black or white, all these trees are dead. Long-time readers of this blog and people in central Texas know about the Bastrop County Complex Fire that occurred near the end of the great drought of 2011. The blaze burned for weeks and destroyed not only some 1700 homes but also most of the forest in Bastrop State Park and on adjacent land. This region had been home to various kinds of trees, including the famous “Lost Pines,” miles of loblolly pines, Pinus taeda, that had become cut off over the millennia from the much greater forest of them in east Texas. Now the Lost Pines really are the lost pines.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 21, 2013 at 6:14 AM

10 Responses

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  1. But not lost forever! The rest of the story is the replanting of loblolly pines, including seedlings from East Texas. There’s a nice article here from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. The latest figure I read was that four million seedlings would eventually be planted.

    And it was interesting to note this, from the Handbook of Texas Online: “Few seeds or seedlings survive beyond the first year. The surviving seedlings are shade intolerant, thriving in areas disturbed by fire or agricultural clearing. Fire, logging and agricultural clearing favor the dynamic spread of the original Lost Pines forest in Central Texas.” I’m sure they didn’t have anything like the Bastrop fire in mind, but it’s a hopeful note.

    I had no idea white was considered a color of mourning by some cultures. Very interesting – and a great pair of trees..


    March 21, 2013 at 6:56 AM

    • Ah, yet again you anticipate me, even to the point of having one of the same links, as you’ll see in the next post.

      Another coincidence: you referred to the Handbook of Texas Online. The editor of the print version on which the online version is based is a friend of mine, and it was his house in Pflugerville that was threatened by one of the smaller wildfires that started at the same time as the one in Bastrop, as I reported in a post in September of 2011.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 21, 2013 at 7:13 AM

    • As for the trees shown here, even though they make a mournful sight, from a strictly photographic viewpoint I was intrigued by the forms and colors that I saw in them and in many other ruins left standing or fallen in the forest.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 21, 2013 at 7:20 AM

  2. yes, even in death you captured beauty.

  3. Ah yes, but life finds a way!

    Bonnie Michelle

    March 22, 2013 at 4:37 PM

  4. […] and bright are the burned ruins of Bastrop State Park, and there on March 4th I found this tiny dark fly drawing nectar from a […]

  5. I really love your work, especially all the bugs!

    Russel Ray Photos

    May 2, 2013 at 4:02 AM

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