Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

An intermediate and an interloper

with 16 comments

Thelesperma filifolium var. intermedium with Twining Interloper 9988

When I was at the “vacant” lot in Post, Texas, on April 17th, I saw some plants that looked a lot like the greenthread that’s so common in Austin, but that struck me as not quite the same. Whereas the species in Austin is Thelesperma filifolium var. filifolium, I believe the one I encountered in the Texas Panhandle is Thelesperma filifolium var. intermedium.

When I looked at an enlarged version of this photograph, I noticed something I hadn’t seen at the time I took the picture: part of another plant twining around one of the “prongs” of the greenthread bud and ending in a structure like the tip of a harpoon. That’s plants for you, they’re often climbing all over each other.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 17, 2014 at 5:57 AM

16 Responses

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  1. Very sneaky.

    I found an interesting tale of mathematics that I figured you would enjoy.

    Jim in IA

    May 17, 2014 at 6:39 AM

    • Thanks for that article you linked to. I encourage readers to check it out: there’s not much math in it to scare anyone away, and there’s plenty to like. Learn a strategy for picking the best employee, spouse, or whatever.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 17, 2014 at 8:58 AM

  2. Pretty amazing what you see on a vacant lot in the Panhandle, huh?


    May 17, 2014 at 6:56 AM

    • Yes, and not jut in the Panhandle: some of my best friends in Austin are “vacant” lots (photographically speaking).

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 17, 2014 at 9:18 AM

  3. I love running around snapping pictures but sometimes the best part is reviewing them after; finding an unnoticed insect in a blossom or some other surprise.


    May 17, 2014 at 9:00 AM

    • Yes, that happens to me fairly often. Many times I’m so distracted with the mechanics of taking a photograph that I miss small details. Later, on my large monitor, I make my share of discoveries.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 17, 2014 at 9:21 AM

  4. My, what sharp eyes you have! I would have never spotted that if you hadn’t pointed it out. very cool!


    May 17, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    • Well, my eyes aren’t as sharp as they once were, and I can’t wear glasses when I put my eye up to the camera’s viewfinder; that accounts for at least a portion of the things I miss now. I suspect that 30 years ago, when I didn’t need glasses, I would have noticed the twining plant in the viewfinder. In any case, I’m fortunate that the tendril came out sharp even though I hadn’t seen it or focused on it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 17, 2014 at 9:26 AM

      • Yeah, it gets tricky in the field with glasses, doesn’t it? I’m forever having to take them off to take a photo, and hoping to goodness I don’t drop them in the mud I am most likely standing in 🙂


        May 17, 2014 at 10:41 PM

        • I’ve developed a routine when I want to take a picture. I set the camera bag down on the ground in a safe place, open the top of the bag to take the camera out, close the bag, and then set my glasses on top of it. That way my glasses are always in the same place and I don’t risk breaking or losing them.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 18, 2014 at 6:14 AM

  5. I love it when you find those additional special details when you look at an enlarged picture – sometimes they are so perfect, I wonder if I was subconsciously aware of them, and that was why I chose to take that photo or frame it in that way, and other times, I just marvel at the power of luck!

    Journey Photographic

    May 17, 2014 at 11:27 AM

    • Sometimes I intend to photograph something a certain way and I succeed, while at other times I intend but fail. At other times luck delivers something good that I obviously didn’t plan (or else we wouldn’t be talking about luck) and in some cases didn’t even consciously see till later on. I don’t know what my average ratio of luck to intention is, not do I know whether that average ratio is similar among dedicated photographers. In the saw way that we talk about CAD, which is computer-assisted design, maybe we should talk as much about LAP, which is luck-assisted photography.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 17, 2014 at 11:45 AM

  6. Sneaky little tendril. And that bud….on first glance it looked like a tick I once missed.
    Before I went digital, I had a Canon Elan that had a diopter adjustment for us spec wearers. Now I just use Live View and the Focus Preview button which are so much better than the angle finders we used to use.

    Steve Gingold

    May 18, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    • From comments on your blog I understand that you have a lot more problems with ticks than I do down here (fortunately!). My 5D Mark III has a diopter adjustment, and I’ve cranked it up to the maximum, which doesn’t quite get me to where I want to be; that’s why I sometimes miss things when I’m composing pictures. I’ve resisted Live View even though I’ve had it available for years now; maybe I’ll have to give it a try and see if I can make myself take to it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 18, 2014 at 5:11 PM

      • I recommend Live View highly, Steve. The only issue I ever have with it is if I am shooting into bright sun. But that gives me an excuse to throw a piece of black velvet over my head a la St. Ansel. All other times it is fantastic. Not only does it save you from the squints, but you can check focus at 10x plus move the box around to check focus all over the frame if you wish and, with the focus preview button, you can stop down and see what else comes into focus at your chosen aperture. As well, yes there’s more, it is handy at magnification to be able to ascertain that there is no movement as you click the shutter. I don’t recall your ever mentioning doing a focus stack, but it is handy for being sure of the depth at which you focus for each exposure in the stack. Can you tell that I am enthusiastic about LiveView?

        Steve Gingold

        May 18, 2014 at 5:28 PM

        • Yes, I’d say you’re enthusiastic, all right. I’ll have to read my manual and play around with Live View. I haven’t done any focus stacking, but I can see where Live View would help with that.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 18, 2014 at 7:53 PM

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