Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Feather dalea

with 9 comments

Feather Dalea Flowering 9766

Dalea formosa, known as feather dalea, was flowering in a bunch of places in Caprock Canyons State Park when I was there on April 15th. As barren as the ground may appear to us, this plant has no problem flourishing there.

(Note: I significantly updated yesterday’s article after I posted it.)

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 5, 2014 at 6:01 AM

9 Responses

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  1. The color seems incongruous in that setting which probably makes it all the more enjoyable to discover. The sienna and blue combine well in the background.

    Steve Gingold

    May 5, 2014 at 6:33 AM

    • You’re right about my reactions to the colors. As soon as I got to the park and saw the warm colors of the sandstone I imagined playing them off against the blue of the clear sky. I didn’t anticipate the colors of the feather dalea flowers, but they made an excellent, even if (or precisely because) incongruous, addition to the mix.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 5, 2014 at 6:42 AM

  2. What a study in contrasts. Still, your point’s well taken. The apparently delicate tree and its ephemeral blossoms are just as tough, in their own way, as the rocks they live among.

    I really like the composition of this one — the way the tree is nestled down into the “V” of the rocks, and the way the slant of the tree follows the line of the falling-away rock.


    May 5, 2014 at 6:35 AM

    • All the feather daleas were flowering but the first ones I came across were small and low, so I had a hard time figuring out a good way to photograph them. I passed them by and eventually, shortly before I turned and headed back, I found this one, which was larger and higher up than the others. That gave me a chance to aim from below, but the irregular terrain made it difficult, and I struggled to scrunch down enough to get the clear shot I wanted of the plant in its environment.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 5, 2014 at 6:51 AM

  3. My eye is drawn to the horizontal layer of rock in the distance.

    Jim in IA

    May 5, 2014 at 6:48 AM

    • Because horizontal layers like that were typical of Caprock Canyons, I wanted to feature them in some of my photographs, including this one. As you point out, though, including the layer may be counter-productive here, drawing the eye away from the plant that’s the presumed subject of the picture. On the other hand, the eye comes back to the colorful dalea flowers, so probably the horizontal layer does no harm.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 5, 2014 at 6:59 AM

      • No. It does no harm. I noticed it so readily because of our visit to the state park in OK with similar geology.

        Jim in IA

        May 5, 2014 at 7:51 AM

        • Yes, having visited a place like this, you get attuned to layers.
          For comparison’s sake, I’m going to interpolate a view of a feather dalea without the rocks in the background. Stay tuned.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 5, 2014 at 8:04 AM

  4. […] becoming as the Dalea formosa, or feather dalea, was in the barren and contrastingly colored landscape of Caprock Canyons State Park on April 15th, a question arose about whether that background drew […]

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