Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Like shooting Texas wildflowers in the spring

with 38 comments

Phlox and Other Wildflowers 7873

Click for greater clarity.

I’ve always thought it strange when people use the expression “like shooting fish in a barrel.” To my mind that would lead to a shattered barrel and a wet floor, so to indicate that something is easy I’d rather say it’s like shooting (with a camera, of course) Texas wildflowers in the spring. Texas is known for its fields of densely mixed wildflowers, and here’s a first take on that for 2014. On April 4th I finally bit the bullet (but not the one that broke the barrel with the fish in it) and headed south to see some of the floral fields I’d begun reading reports about on the Internet. Sure enough, once I got as far as Interstate 10, about an hour south of Austin, I began finding plenty of roadside yards and fields covered with wildflowers.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to select some of the photographs from that trip and blend them in with others I’d already been preparing for these pages. My thinking is that if I showed you day after day of flower-filled fields it’d be too much of a good thing (and that’s another expression we can therefore avoid).

This first mixture is from FM 467 southwest of Seguin. The magenta flowers are phlox (Phlox spp.). The yellow are Texas dandelions (Pyrrhopappus pauciflorus). The red are Indian paintbrush (Castilleja indivisa). The blue are some passing-their-prime bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis). The closely bunched slender stems with small violet flowers on them are Texas vervain (Verbena halei). Quite a sight, no?

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 6, 2014 at 5:30 AM

38 Responses

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  1. Wonderful field of color.

    I think if there were enough fish and one’s aim not too shaky, the combination of fish mass and water resistance might save your sponges.

    Steve Gingold

    April 6, 2014 at 6:06 AM

  2. Quite a sight, indeed.


    April 6, 2014 at 6:06 AM

    • Now imagine scenes like this in dozens of places and you’ll have a sense of what that part of Texas looks like in the spring.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 6, 2014 at 7:12 AM

      • Have you noticed an increase in these wildflower areas since you have been in Texas? Meaning..has the work of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower center made a difference?


        April 6, 2014 at 8:36 AM

        • It’s great that there is a Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center to spread knowledge about native plants and promote their use in many places around the country. At the same time, human expansion continues, and every year I notice one or several properties in my area that have succumbed to development. Even after they’re built on, I always remember how they used to look, the plants that grew there, and the pictures I once took of them.

          When I was writing the reply to your first comment I thought about the accounts written by early Anglo settlers in Texas two centuries ago. They included reports of scenes like the one in this post, but going on for miles in all directions. We still have properties like this one, but the vast, seemingly unbounded displays are gone forever, along with the herds of bison in the millions that used to wander over them.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 6, 2014 at 9:10 AM

  3. It’s a gorgeous mix of colors.

    Jim in IA

    April 6, 2014 at 8:55 AM

  4. I thought of you yesterday, when I could finally get out in the field. There is still ice in pockets, and the ground is hard, and not even weeds are green yet! It sure is reassuring to turn on my computer this morning and be greeted by this bounteous scene!


    April 6, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    • May it be a presage of sights that soon will come your way. (Or hop on a plane and come down here to Wildflower Central.)

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 6, 2014 at 9:34 AM

  5. Quite a sight, yes!


    April 6, 2014 at 10:21 AM

  6. I love the colours. 😀

    Raewyn's Photos

    April 6, 2014 at 1:02 PM

  7. Ah, how glorious!

  8. […] been reading the Portraits of Wildflowers blog earlier today about the amazing wild flower meadows in Texas at this time of year and thinking […]

  9. i can’t help thinking of those poor fish.


    April 7, 2014 at 12:20 AM

    • Exactly. Wildflowers don’t have to worry (can flowers worry?) about being shot with a camera.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 7, 2014 at 7:25 AM

  10. Uh – April 14? Time travel? Or typo?


    April 7, 2014 at 8:30 AM

    • Thanks for pointing that out. I’d already caught it in the text for tomorrow’s post, and I meant to go back and fix it here, but my mind got bedazzled by all these wildflowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 7, 2014 at 8:34 AM

  11. Wow, is that ever gorgeous!


    April 7, 2014 at 10:49 PM

  12. There’s nothing more grand than a mass planting in bloom.

    Mary Mageau

    April 8, 2014 at 2:02 AM

  13. This is so gorgeous. I’m so eager to hit the road, and there’s just no way to do it until the end of next week. Ah, well. You’re certainly doing a good job of motivating me with photos like these.


    April 9, 2014 at 6:58 AM

    • I’m afraid by the end of next week the bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes will be noticeably past their prime, but other things are already coming out to supplant (good word) them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 9, 2014 at 8:14 AM

  14. Also a dazzler, and I’m so glad you didn’t break a tooth when you bit the bullet!

    Susan Scheid

    April 9, 2014 at 9:31 PM

  15. More stunning wildflowers!! Living in the tropics the exposure we get to those sorts of colors is not too common, but we do have a lovely trade off in the native flora and fauna exposed over the 2 seasons, wet and dry. We get to see everything green and alive, bursting with a vibrant energy – after almost being dead due to lack of rain experienced through out the dry season.

    Miss Lou

    April 10, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    • Then I’m glad to bring you these doses of floral color. Texas is far enough south that we don’t have four equally long seasons the way people up north do. We also don’t have the wet-versus-dry of the tropics, but after about half a year of hot, parching weather, when things finally cool off a little by the end of September, we get a second round of wildflowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 10, 2014 at 11:19 AM

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