Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Color on the grounds of the Crystal Bridges Museum

with 16 comments

Fall Foliage at Crystal Bridges 8598

Here’s some fetching fall foliage from the grounds of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, on November 9th.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 27, 2013 at 5:59 AM

16 Responses

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  1. Beautiful colors. It’s so hard to do fall colors justice in a photograph (for me at least). I took dozens of pictures this fall and not a single one was good enough to share. They just didn’t do justice to what my eyes were seeing. Of course I only have a simple camera (and no photography skills) so that likely accounts for the problem. But my experience was that the colors were most striking at sunup and sundown and those were the hardest times to get a picture. In any event, thanks for sharing yours. 🙂


    November 27, 2013 at 6:07 AM

    • I also find that most pictures don’t quite live up to my view of the scene. I’ve taken to closing one eye as I look at the scene. I ask myself if this will look good. It tends to lower my expectations.

      Now, I will step out of the way for Steven to offer his insights. 🙂

      Jim in IA

      November 27, 2013 at 7:08 AM

      • What you wrote reminded me of Great Expectations. Sometimes when I look through the camera’s viewfinder—necessarily with one eye, as you said—I get excited by what I see, and I have to hope that the image ends up conveying something close to what I felt. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. Fortunately—maybe by dint of putting myself out there so much—I’ve kept coming away away from my months of work with at least some pictures that please me.

        Steve Schwartzman

        November 27, 2013 at 7:52 AM

    • I think we’ve all had the experience—probably many times—of seeing something impressive but not being able to record it in an image that preserves what we felt at the time. A good camera may help, but there’s still usually something that escapes the photograph and goes to live in the memory of the photographer, where no one else can see it.

      Many nature photographers prefer to work right after sunup or right before sunset, because the low-angled light filtering through the atmosphere at those times provides a warm—some would say magical—light not present at other times of day. I’ve occasionally been able to take advantage of that day’s-end magic, but I often find myself working under harsher light and doing the best I can. With closeups, which I do lot of, there’s less of an advantage.

      The picture in this post is from the one cloudy day of the four our trip lasted, but I still managed to record some beautiful fall foliage that morning as we walked the paths in the hour before the museum opened.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 27, 2013 at 7:47 AM

  2. While I was exploring Konza Prairie, I called a particular purple-red plant that was spreading across the hills “sumac”. My guide helped me see the differences between the more vibrant smooth sumac and rough-leafed dogwood (Cornus drummondii). I think that might be what you’ve captured here in this gorgeous combination of fall colors.

    On the linked page, I found that Thomas Drummond arrived here in Texas at Velasco, at the mouth of the Brazos River. That’s almost literally in my back yard, and an area filled with important historical events. Very interesting.


    November 27, 2013 at 7:43 AM

    • Oh, for the ability to edit…


      November 27, 2013 at 7:45 AM

      • I had an extra “left angle-bracket, slash, a, right angle-bracket” handy so I added it. (The WordPress editor won’t display the actual symbol that indicates the end of a link, so I’ve had to spell it out.)

        Steve Schwartzman

        November 27, 2013 at 7:58 AM

    • You may well be right about the rough-leafed dogwood. I also though about rusty blackhaw viburnum. Either way, I gave myself permission on this trip in general and that morning in particular not to worry too much about identifying what I was seeing, because one of the gardeners told me that the landscapers had used a fair number of cultivars (as opposed to native species in their natural state). I was happy to experience—and if possible capture—fall colors beyond those of my mainstay in Austin, flameleaf sumac.

      As soon as I got to the species name drummondii in your comment I thought about Thomas Drummond, and then I saw that you’d mentioned him. I didn’t realize he’d landed in Texas so close to where you are, nor that the place has been home to many important historical events. I expect some of them have appeared / will appear in posts of yours.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 27, 2013 at 8:38 AM

  3. Looks like a nice impressionist painting.

    Steve Gingold

    November 27, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    • I’m happy to be an Impressionist, especially if my works fetch the kinds of prices their works do.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 27, 2013 at 5:17 PM

  4. Gorgeous color!


    November 27, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    • And especially welcome to someone like me who lives in Texas and doesn’t often get to see fall foliage like this.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 27, 2013 at 10:32 PM

  5. This is what I miss in the tropics. We just don’t see this color at all with the autumn. Instead, what we do get is a whole new flowering season. Lots of plants in bloom; orchid trees, senna trees, banana plants, cassia trees, and I could go on. So in the tropics, there are no ‘deciduous’ trees, there may be a few (the Poinciana is deciduous but doesn’t shed leaves here). So here all is evergreen, except some ‘semi-deciduous’ trees like the ‘Almendro’. I had no idea Texas got this colorful. This must be in the north? I thought it was sub-tropical weather mainly!

    Caribbean Biodiversity

    November 28, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    • This picture and the following one (with more to come, and a few earlier ones) are from a brief trip three weeks ago to the Ozark Mountains in northwestern Arkansas, which is far enough north for there to be fall color. Down here we don’t get that sort of widespread display, though individual trees and plants can be bright. In Austin it’s not the whole new flowering season that you experience in the tropics, but something in between that and what people get up north. Each region has its advantages and disadvantages (like cold up north).

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 28, 2013 at 1:26 PM

  6. My bad!! I wan’t reading ‘between the lines’. Ooops.

    Maria F.

    November 28, 2013 at 1:45 PM

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