Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A certain look

with 15 comments

Goldenrod Turned Fluffy with Cattail Seeds 0206

Sometimes a photographer goes for a toned-down look by using software to remove much of the color from an image. You may think that’s what I’ve done here, but I haven’t: this is the subdued winter tonality I found when I wandered into a wonderland along Wells Branch Parkway near Drusilla’s Drive in Pflugerville on January 20th. The double dose of feathery white came from a colony of goldenrod, Solidago spp., that had long since gone to seed and was now getting coated with seed fluff blown off an adjacent colony of cattails, Typha domingensis. The bits of red along the ground and the faint overall rosy cast of the photograph came from the leaves and canes of some dewberry vines, Rubus trivialis.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 17, 2014 at 6:05 AM

15 Responses

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  1. I love it when the “special effects” are all nature’s doing!

    Susan Scheid

    February 17, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    • That’s an apt way of putting it, Susan. The place seemed magical to me, and I hoped that some of the magic would come through in my photographs.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 17, 2014 at 10:58 AM

  2. Good of you to answer my question about the bits of red even before I moved it from my mind to the page. It’s nice to daydream about dewberries (which aren’t trivial at all) and fun to see the cattails providing at least a flurry of seedy fluff.


    February 17, 2014 at 9:31 AM

    • I like the phrase “daydream about dewberries.” I can’t say that I daydream about them, but I encounter them often enough when I’m walking off-trail, and sometimes their prickly canes encounter me, too. It’s one of the things a nature photographer in central Texas endures for the sake of getting pictures.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 17, 2014 at 11:45 AM

  3. Interesting… it does look like you removed the color. It also has a smoky feeling to it.

    Have a good one,


    February 17, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    • That toned-down, smoky look is just the way the scene appeared to me in reality, so I’m glad that the picture conveys it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 17, 2014 at 2:10 PM

      • That’s an awesome accomplishment. I love learning better technique to get just the right shot. It can be frustrating when the sun is really bright as it’s hard to see just what shot you got. I have a lot of admiration for all the magnificent photographers who came before the digital era and still got incredible shots. I’d like to grow to that level.

        Cheers to you and your work!


        February 20, 2014 at 8:10 PM

        • You know what they say: practice makes perfect. Well, it doesn’t always, but it raises the probability of success. I spent my first decades in photography using film, so I appreciate the advantages of digital.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 21, 2014 at 6:41 AM

          • Practice prepares people for perfection!

            So you are one of the old school pioneers I’m talking about, props to you!

            From your days of film, what advice would you give to budding photographers? Since you couldn’t see the pictures until they were developed what sorts of things did you do to ensure the best photo you could get?

            Thanks for any advice you can offer. 🙂


            February 21, 2014 at 2:12 PM

            • Your questions are good ones, but I can’t think of any great advice for a modern photographer other than to compose and expose a picture as well as possible. The current ability to see a photograph that you’ve just taken is a great advantage, as is the capability to shoot in RAW mode, which I always do.

              Steve Schwartzman

              February 21, 2014 at 6:43 PM

  4. The dewberries will be starting to bud soon, judging by the date on your previous post on dewberries. Do you have a dewberry flower in your collection?


    February 18, 2014 at 2:06 AM

  5. […] the last post you saw a goldenrod colony that was being coated with fluff blown off an adjacent colony of cattails, Typha latifolia. This is that other colony, and you can […]

  6. […] only did the fluff from a colony of cattails, Typha latifolia, coat the dry goldenrod plants you saw two pictures back, but it also landed on these dry leaves of what I think was a hackberry […]

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