Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Flameleaf sumac and sinuous clouds

with 18 comments

Flameleaf Sumac Turning Red with Undulating Clouds 2104

Click for greater clarity and better color.

I made this picture at the Shin Oak Observation Deck of the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge on RR 1869 in Burnet County, about an hour outside Austin, on November 18th. I don’t like aiming into a grey-white sky, but this one at least had some enticingly sinuous clouds in it.

If you’re interested in photography as a craft, you’ll find that point 8 in About My Techniques is especially relevant to this photograph.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 13, 2013 at 6:03 AM

18 Responses

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  1. The clouds reminded me of some near us a few years back.

    Jim in IA

    December 13, 2013 at 7:00 AM

    • From what I see on the news, I get the impression that you have more “weather” (violent storms and especially tornadoes) in Iowa than we do in central Texas, so today’s picture probably doesn’t look as unusual to those of you in the Great Plains as it did to me.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 13, 2013 at 7:28 AM

  2. Frame-able picture. Just gorgeous, the pointy-raggedy-red sumac meeting the wavy grey sky lapping over the horizon. For me, seeing sky is an absolute requirement of mental health.


    December 13, 2013 at 7:48 AM

    • I think your description as “frame-able” is a first among comments here, so thanks. As many times as I’ve photographed flameleaf sumac, I’d never had as dramatic a background as this.

      It’s funny, but I initially misread your words as “wavy gravy” instead of “wavy grey.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 13, 2013 at 8:26 AM

  3. I really like the contrast between the sumac and the clouds. It’s a great combination of textures. I like the clouds, too. I’ve spent a good portion of my recent working years trying to learn to “read” the clouds, and these are particularly eloquent. I’d guess that they’re stratus undulatus.


    December 13, 2013 at 8:12 AM

    • Although I couldn’t read as much into the clouds as you’ve learned to do, what I did read into them was that they’d complement the sumac in a dramatic (and for me new) way.

      I’ve not heard of stratus undulatus clouds, but my description as sinuous—a word that’s the sine of a trigonometry teacher—came pretty close to undulating.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 13, 2013 at 8:36 AM

  4. I really like this one Steven. Glad you are ever hunting with your camera.


    December 14, 2013 at 1:13 AM

    • Thanks, Dave. I’m definitely a hunter with my camera, and there are times when I get some unusual prey.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 14, 2013 at 8:32 AM

  5. Glad you prevailed with the great-white clouds. They’re a perfect backdrop here.

    Susan Scheid

    December 17, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    • It’s rare to see clouds like those, so I knew I had to incorporate them into some pictures. I wasn’t sure how to do that until I found this sumac.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 17, 2013 at 9:59 PM

  6. […] trip down RR 1869 in Burnet County on an overcast November 18th that brought you the picture of flameleaf sumacs and sinuous clouds, I made this one showing several of those trees, young but already colorful, along with an animal […]

  7. beautiful plant- and amazing undulatus in the background


    January 4, 2014 at 8:41 AM

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