Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Yellow lotus

with 38 comments

Yellow Lotus Flower 6967

Yellow lotus is Nelumbo lutea, a plant with a distribution so wide it ranges from Ontario down to Central America and the Caribbean. I wish I got around as much as it does. I do get around Austin, though, and I took this photograph at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, which is 20 miles south of where I live, on July 10th. That was the same outing that produced the portraits of the eastern cottontail and the spotted orbweaver and the neon skimmer that you recently saw.  A productive visit, wouldn’t you say?

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 16, 2014 at 7:11 AM

38 Responses

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  1. Great shot!


    August 16, 2014 at 7:30 AM

  2. So beautiful!! 🙂


    August 16, 2014 at 8:35 AM

    • And so pristine.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 16, 2014 at 8:37 AM

      • Yes! It’s incredible!


        August 16, 2014 at 8:38 AM

        • Writing in his journal in 1852 about the white water lily, Thoreau said: “The nymphaea odorata, water nymph, sweet water-lily, pond-lily, in bloom. A superb flower, our lotus queen of the waters. Now is the solstice in still waters. How sweet, innocent, wholesome its fragrance. How pure its white petals, though its root is in the mud!” The same contrast between the flower above and the mud below would apply to the yellow lotus as well.

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 16, 2014 at 9:00 AM

  3. Steve:
    You beat me to it, I have yet to find my Nelumbo, because all I see is the Nymphae which was taxonomically in the same family, but has been separated completely.

    Maria F.

    August 16, 2014 at 9:41 AM

    • I’ve yet to find one of these in the wild, but thanks to the Wildflower Center I was able to photograph this one. Good luck in finding a Nelumbo when you’re out photographing.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 16, 2014 at 9:52 AM

  4. In spite of that impressive range, and my usually keeping my eyes open for such delights, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in the wild. How sad!


    August 16, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    • I haven’t seen one in the wild either, but apparently they’re out there. It seems we just haven’t been in the right places at the right times—but eventually we will be.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 16, 2014 at 9:58 AM

  5. Wow … beautiful composition and beautiful, beautiful lighting. The soft light and pastel shades give this image a wonderful feel. Nice job. D

    Pairodox Farm

    August 16, 2014 at 11:03 AM

    • The little pond containing this flower is out in the open, and I don’t remember the light being subdued, but fortunately the picture came out with subtle tonality and without the yellow appearing too glaring in comparison to the leaves. Of course photographing in RAW mode (which I always do) helps.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 16, 2014 at 11:19 AM

  6. Yes, very productive! Love these photos!


    August 16, 2014 at 11:16 AM

  7. What a delightful shot! Absolute perfection, no mistake what so ever in the design!


    August 16, 2014 at 11:55 AM

  8. Perfect!


    August 16, 2014 at 11:58 AM

    • Thanks, Laura.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 16, 2014 at 2:45 PM

      • You’re very welcome. Your photos inspire me to achieve greater clarity and I appreciate your knowledge of all the flowers in Texas!


        August 16, 2014 at 3:56 PM

        • Let me amend that to say some of the wildflowers of central Texas. I’ll always be better with photography than botany.

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 16, 2014 at 4:27 PM

  9. In the eastern part of our state, there is a flooded meadow that has the pink (Nelumbo nucifera) variety by the thousands. I am not sure whether they be wild or planted or escaped…which might make them wildish. I have the good fortune to live near a private but available to the public pond with pink lotuses and my pals the bullfrogs at street-side.
    This is a lovely variety and you have done it due justice, Steve.

    Steve Gingold

    August 16, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    • I wasn’t familiar with that species, Steve, which I found is native to Asia. I can imagine it’s quite a sight when you have thousands of them in a flooded meadow, and it sounds as if you’ve taken photographic advantage of them (and their and your bullfrog pals). The Wildflower Center provided me with a similar opportunity (only with turtles instead of frogs).

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 16, 2014 at 2:54 PM

  10. For such a lovely plant, I seldom see it portrayed as nicely as you have here. The plant used to be a big draw for people coming up from Chicago, until they loved it to death. Happily it is making a comeback in some of our cleaner, deeper lakes.


    August 16, 2014 at 6:44 PM

    • I’m sorry to hear that people loved your Nelumbo to death. You’ve reminded me that in the 1900s people often picked one of the showiest Texas wildflowers, the bluebell gentian, to such an extent that it became rare in some areas. I still see it in some places (or else I couldn’t have provided that link in the last sentence), and I hope you’ll be able to say the same about your lotus.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 16, 2014 at 9:02 PM

  11. Exquisite.


    August 17, 2014 at 5:04 AM

  12. I took some daffodil photos today. I was feeling quite pleased with them till I saw this perfection. 🙂


    August 17, 2014 at 5:06 AM

  13. On the same visit to the Anahuac Wildlife Refuge that allowed photos of big and baby alligators, I saw lots of these lotus. This page has some nice photos, especially the one of the purple gallinule walking across the pads. Anahuac’s across the bay in Chambers county, about a third of the way to Port Arthur, so it’s clearly Lotus Land over there.

    It’s wonderful to see the detail in the flower. I wasn’t able to get so close, thanks to the alligators.


    August 18, 2014 at 9:37 PM

    • I understand not getting too close to alligators, and although a lotus doesn’t bite, I couldn’t get close to it either because of the surrounding water in the Wildflower Center pond. I wish I were light enough to walk across water on pads like that gallinule (and perhaps you recognize the Spanish word gallina ‘chicken’ in there), but since I can’t, I used a telephoto lens to close in on the lotus.

      I’ve been hearing about the Anahuac W.R. for years, and one of these days I’m going to have to visit.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 19, 2014 at 6:52 AM

  14. I certainly hope I’ll get a chance to visit the Wildflower Center one day, too, but for now this magnificent lotus shot will hold me.


    August 19, 2014 at 3:16 PM

    • Come on down, as they used to say on television. Even for me it’s 20 miles south, but well worth the occasional visit.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 19, 2014 at 4:18 PM

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