Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Flameleaf sumacs and two curious observers

with 23 comments

Horse with Flameleaf Sumac 2174

Click for greater clarity.

On the same 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 that isn’t native but whose curiosity earned a place here anyhow. I earned a place in the post’s title as the other curious observer.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 3, 2014 at 6:03 AM

23 Responses

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  1. You do get so much color! Horses are so monumental and enhance the scene so well.

    • Most of the color I’ve showed this season is from one species, prairie flameleaf sumac, a smallish tree that is our best and most reliable source of fall foliage. A few more sources will appear in the weeks ahead, but nothing can dethrone flameleaf sumac in this area.

      As for the horse, I rarely show an animal that isn’t native to my area, but I made an exception for the sake of this picture. Horses originated in North America but died out here, never having evolved to the size of the Eurasian horses that evolved from them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 3, 2014 at 8:22 AM

  2. The horse is very nice and was quite a surprise, but I especially like the sumac. I usually notice it when it’s turned a deeper orange or red. Catching it here in the process of transition reminds me of cypress trees that are on the way from green to rust. I especially like the way you’ve captured the horse between two stands of sumac – one near, one far.


    January 3, 2014 at 6:31 AM

    • Good of you to point out the larger (and taller) stand of sumac in the background. You can’t tell from the photo, but I was standing as close as I could get to a barbed wire fence, which stopped me from moving around and composing things the way I would’ve preferred. In particular, it prevented me from going over to that larger group of sumacs and photographing them in their own right, and it kept me from doing more with the horse. Still, I have to be thankful because I don’t recall ever seeing a picture of a horse with flameleaf sumac before. I just did a Google search for “photograph horse sumac” and went through the first dozens of images that came up. I didn’t find a single one showing a colorful sumac with a horse, but Google did turn up my horseless flameleaf sumac picture from the other day:


      Steve Schwartzman

      January 3, 2014 at 9:17 AM

  3. Gorgeous colours.

    Emily Heath

    January 3, 2014 at 6:43 AM

  4. I am also noticing the wide range of earthy tones of color. Nice.

    The horse cooperated with a nice smile.

    Jim in IA

    January 3, 2014 at 8:05 AM

  5. Nature WITH a horse—-love it!
    For over thirty years my Caldwell County farm’s natural setting was enhanced by the beauty of my beloved Arabian horses: in the summer heat they dined on savory Mesquite beans (fyi, not good for horses), nor are the tree’s sharp thorns that punctured their feet: fall meant long flowing manes and tails tangled with sticky Eryngo seedpods: one memorable winter had them dancing in an unexpected snowfall: and in spring they would gallop through pastures green with grass and pink with Primrose.
    Thanks for your photo today that brought back such happy memories, Esther


    January 3, 2014 at 10:33 AM

  6. Beautiful picture – the horse knew just where to stand to enhance his/her color. Great title for the photo too!!!


    January 3, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    • Thanks, Nora. I was driving along the road fronting this property when I saw the horse, and I ended up parking a distance away and walking back. As I neared the place where the horse was, it got a bit wary of me and moved around a little, but luckily it stayed near some of the sumac. I’m glad you appreciate the post’s title.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 3, 2014 at 2:47 PM

  7. what a beauty 🙂


    January 3, 2014 at 6:17 PM

  8. What a great photo!


    January 3, 2014 at 11:26 PM

  9. Lovely composition.


    January 10, 2019 at 6:19 AM

    • Merci. I wonder if the horse appreciated the colors in the sumac.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 10, 2019 at 6:46 AM

      • Maybe it was there specifically to see the sumac.


        January 10, 2019 at 7:21 AM

        • My vague recollection after five years is that the horse ambled over to check out uncolorful me. And look what I just found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equine_vision:

          “Horses are not color blind, they have two-color, or dichromatic vision. This means they distinguish colors in two wavelength regions of visible light, compared to the three-color (trichromic vision) of most humans. In other words, horses naturally see the blue and green colors of the spectrum and the color variations based upon them, but cannot distinguish red. Research indicates that their color vision is somewhat like red-green color blindness in humans, in which certain colors, especially red and related colors, appear more green.”

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 10, 2019 at 7:37 AM

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