Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Texas thistle bud starting to open

with 19 comments

Texas Thistle Bud About to Open by Indian Paintbrushes 2160

Here you have the bud of a Texas thistle, Cirsium texanum, as it was just beginning to open against a background color that came from a colony of Indian paintbrushes, Castilleja indivisa. Like the photographs in the previous post, today’s is from Harmon Rd., a little east of Bastrop State Park, on April 27th.

This is the last in the long series of pictures you’ve been seeing from the field trip led by botanist Bill Carr. Look forward tomorrow to two riddles that share an answer.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 2, 2014 at 5:27 AM

19 Responses

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  1. Lovely colours.


    July 2, 2014 at 5:42 AM

    • Texas thistles are common here in the spring, but this one caught my attention more than many others because of the different color added by the Indian paintbrushes politely out of focus in the background.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 2, 2014 at 5:50 AM

  2. Fantastic detail – there must have been something pretty in the background to provide that color


    July 2, 2014 at 6:02 AM

    • I often look for a complementary or contrasting color in the background to set off my subject. Here I found that color in a nearby colony of Indian paintbrushes.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 2, 2014 at 6:14 AM

  3. It occurs to me that was a busy morning and afternoon you had. Between paying attention to Bill Carr and taking your photos, you couldn’t have been standing around very much. I’ve never thought about it, but your years of practice with the camera must be akin to practicing an instrument. Eventually, there’s no need to focus solely on the mechanics, and the music — or photos — can flow.


    July 2, 2014 at 6:35 AM

    • Sometimes it’s the way you describe it, Linda, and other times I find myself stopping to ponder how to set the camera for a given picture. I remember that decades ago if someone asked if I played an instrument I would jokingly say yes, the slide rule. That answer would mystify almost everyone today, but if I say I play the camera I think most people would understand.

      As much as I profit from going on a field trip with an expert like Bill Carr, I often find myself falling behind. Setting up a good picture can take time, and during that time the other people in the group have usually moved on. I have the impression that most nature photographers are solitary photographers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 2, 2014 at 6:55 AM

  4. Wonderful job. The sharpness and beautiful orange background really caught my eye.


    July 2, 2014 at 9:41 AM

    • I’m glad to hear it, Denise. I agree that the sharpness of the thistle and the softness of the background complement each other.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 2, 2014 at 10:08 AM

  5. Beautiful!


    July 2, 2014 at 10:48 AM

  6. Now that is a lovely image, Steve.

    Steve Gingold

    July 3, 2014 at 8:08 AM

  7. Interessting how a plant that I dislike so much can be so beautiful. (I dislike them because of their sharp leaves and their propensity to grow in my lawn. I’m a barefoot girl at heart and don’t like their prickles.) But this picture may help me to look more kindly at these invaders.


    July 3, 2014 at 11:42 AM

    • If I tried to go barefoot near Texas thistles I’d have a different impression (literally) of them too, but as I’m always shod in their vicinity I can appreciate their forms and colors. Not to say that I haven’t gotten thistle spines in my skin often enough when taking pictures, but it’s just a cost of doing business, so to speak.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 3, 2014 at 12:13 PM

  8. Great macro shot…Isn’t it so amazing what you see when you stop to look, I mean take a really close look.

    • Yes it is. This isn’t nearly as macro a shot as others I’ve taken, and on some of those I’ve found tiny things that wouldn’t have been obvious otherwise. Here’s to surprises.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 3, 2014 at 3:44 PM

  9. What a beautiful and fascinating little construction. Almost architectural! Such a lovely shot.


    July 4, 2014 at 1:47 AM

    • One reason I do so much closeup photography is to see details of all that botanical architecture. I’m glad you like this instance of it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 4, 2014 at 7:27 AM

  10. […] and sensitive-briar, here’s yet another: Cirsium texanum, the Texas thistle. You saw an opening bud of this species in June, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t show you this follow-up picture of a follow-up […]

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