Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Flourishing kidneywood

with 15 comments

Kidneywood with Dense Flowers 9936

Click for greater clarity and size

At the beginning of October, I noticed that Austin’s kidneywood trees, Eysenhrdtia texana, were flowering their heads off (and their blossoms, by the way, smell something like the inside of a tangerine). This view shows part of a densely flowering kidneywood tree in my neighborhood on October 3rd. In the ensuing days those flowers faded and then vanished, but recent heavy rains have prompted some of the kidneywood trees in Austin to put out a new round of flowers.

If you’d like a much closer look at the blossoms of this species in their prime, you’re welcome to check out a post from last October. If you’re interested in nature photography as a craft, you’ll find that points 9 and 15 in About My Techniques are relevant to today’s picture.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 6, 2013 at 6:10 AM

15 Responses

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  1. That’s some floral density, Steve. From your description I’d love to stick my nose into the middle of that bouquet to savor the bouquet.

    Steve Gingold

    November 6, 2013 at 6:40 AM

    • If you’re willing to make your way to Austin now, I’ll lead you to some kidneywood flowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 6, 2013 at 7:28 AM

  2. They have a high pitched aroma? I’ve never heard smell described that way.

    I notice the background is out of focus. Choice of a shallow DOF was important here. I’ve had many cases where foreground objects get lost in the picture. I often close one eye and ask myself if this will be a good picture. Usually not without some changes.

    Jim in IA

    November 6, 2013 at 7:12 AM

    • Good of you to notice the out-of-focus foliage in the background.

      As for closing one eye, that’s what I do whenever I look through my camera’s viewfinder. Maybe that’s why I’m not happy when I have to use a camera (e.g. the one in my iPhone) that requires me to hold the whole thing out in front of me.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 6, 2013 at 7:32 AM

    • Oh, and as for a high-pitched scent, I can’t say I’m especially given to synesthesia, but in this case that’s how I perceive things.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 6, 2013 at 7:55 AM

  3. I might have bumped into this one in Medina or Frio counties and not recognized it, but it’s not a part of our Houston-area world. It’s a pity. It’s a lovely tree. I especially like the sense of light airiness created by its more sparsely arranged branches. Being both dense and light at the same time sounds contradictory, but it seems to me the tree has pulled it off.


    November 6, 2013 at 7:39 AM

    • Both dense and light,
      It’s a delight.

      And no doubt you’re right that you’ve seen kidneywood in central Texas without realizing it, especially if these trees weren’t flowering at the time. The kidneywoods that I recall seeing in Austin have always been on the west side of town, which is where I’ve lived for nine years, and where the Hill Country begins.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 6, 2013 at 8:05 AM

  4. I saw the one from last October and loved it; loved the detail and DOF. This notion about ‘high pitched’ scent is also fascinating. I’ve yet to learn the stack focusing technique in PS, but then again one cannot even do that in windy days.

    M. Firpi

    November 6, 2013 at 7:26 PM

    • I’m glad you liked the close-up from last year with the blossoms against a stormy sky; seems like just the other day that I took that picture.

      I’ve not used stack focusing in any organized way, but once in a while I’ve replaced a small out-of-focus part of a picture with a better-focused version of that part from a picture taken during the same session. That’s one reason I usually take several photographs of each subject in fairly quick succession.

      When it comes to wind, I sometimes stabilize a subject with my left hand and use my right hand to hold the camera against my forehead and take the picture. Unorthodox, but if works for me often enough.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 6, 2013 at 9:12 PM

      • I also hold some of the subjects with my left hand; (with the 60mm macro specially), but handholding the camera with the other hand aggravated my carpal tunnel. This is why I bought smaller tripods and occasionally use the monopod for taller shrubs; but in reality there is almost not time for setting these up, unfortunately. This is why I went back to a smaller 1.6x crop sensor camera, so when I handhold with one hand there is not so much punishment. I might also consider a smaller monopod I saw somewhere advertised; which is easier and quicker to set up.

        M. Firpi

        November 6, 2013 at 10:25 PM

        • I can see where the smaller size and lighter weight of the 60mm macro is a big advantage for you. It would be ore comfortable for me, too, as is a slightly smaller camera with a 1.6X crop factor.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 7, 2013 at 6:53 AM

  5. […] buds. That’s what you see here (and if you go back and look carefully at the center of yesterday’s photo you’ll see that the moth was in that picture, […]

  6. Smell like tangerines? Outstanding!


    November 7, 2013 at 1:36 PM

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