Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Late bluebell

with 32 comments

Bluebell Flower Base 0029

The plants that botanists call Eustoma exaltatum and that regular folks know as bluebells, bluebell gentians, and prairie gentians, produce flowers that are among Texas’s largest and showiest. I didn’t see a lot of them this summer, but not a lot is different from none, and on July 29th I photographed this one on land at the southeast corner of Dessau Rd. and Wells Branch Parkway on the Blackland Praire in northeast Austin. The part of the property closest to that intersection has given way to a drugstore, but the rest of the tract is likely to remain free due to its sumpy nature: hooray for ground too sodden to build on. If you’re not familiar with bluebells, you may want to glance at a colony of these flowers I photographed three years ago just a few feet away on the same property.

I didn’t notice at the time I took today’s picture, but fanciful me now sees this bluebell as having two small eyes on either side of a long and narrow nose.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 7, 2014 at 5:44 AM

32 Responses

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  1. I see the eyes! Did we watch too much of Alice in Wonderland ( the Disney version) in our youth?


    September 7, 2014 at 6:35 AM

    • Good morning (here) to a fellow visionary—and also to a fellow grower-upper with Disney’s Alice in Wonderland:

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 7, 2014 at 8:09 AM

      • Ah, sweet memories, except the Queen scared the heck out of me.


        September 7, 2014 at 8:44 AM

        • We had a set of records taken from the sound track, but I can’t remember if I ever saw the film.

          I hope you’ve recovered from your queenly scare.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 7, 2014 at 9:08 AM

  2. Besides the blue, those ‘eyes’ were the first thing I noticed. They may have been made at the same time when the petals were more overlapped.

    Jim in IA

    September 7, 2014 at 7:16 AM

  3. Really enjoyed your composition.


    September 7, 2014 at 8:01 AM

  4. Steve, this is so beautiful! You are an inspiration.


    September 7, 2014 at 10:06 AM

  5. That is absolutely beautiful!

    Lavinia Ross

    September 7, 2014 at 10:26 AM

  6. To combine the best of nervous speculation and ethereal loveliness, we might ask, “What beauty lurks in the heart of this bluebell?” It might be — that shadowed nose!


    September 7, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    • “The Shadow” was before my time, but I’m especially fond of shadows in photographs. One thing that raised this photograph above the ordinary for me was the shadows of the internal parts of the flower.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 7, 2014 at 12:08 PM

      • With another look, the bottom portion, where the shadows are playing, reminds me of the beautiful frosted glass shades on small art nouveau lamps.


        September 7, 2014 at 6:40 PM

    • I grew up listening, at least a little, to the Shadow and inherited some of the episodes on tape from my mother. Not sure if I have a tape player any more.

      Steve Gingold

      September 7, 2014 at 6:20 PM

  7. Stunning.

    Raewyn's Photos

    September 7, 2014 at 3:32 PM

  8. This one strikes me as being more about color, texture, and layers of the same, and less about the flower itself. And, that’s a good thing. I’m wondering why you didn’t go ahead and use your spot removal tool to remove the ‘eyes.’ D

    Pairodox Farm

    September 7, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    • Yes, you’ve got it: a transformation of the flower into something abstract that has to do with colors and textures. I didn’t remove the eyes because it would have been cheating, and also because I didn’t want to blind the flower.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 7, 2014 at 8:20 PM

  9. I guess my imagination took the last train to Dullsville. I didn’t see eyes at all…I do now-the power of suggestion. Having photographed so many flowers with these little dry spots that drive me nuts when I find them in an image, that’s how I saw them. I need to be more positive, I guess.

    I like the layers of light and textures that you captured from this perspective, Steve.

    Steve Gingold

    September 7, 2014 at 6:24 PM

    • Ah, the Mental Monkees and the last train to Dullsville. I’m glad I’ve suggested you into another and more imaginative realm.

      It’s interesting that your comment echoes what D. said at around the same time. For me, the layers of light and textures transformed the image into something more than a mere representation of a flower.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 7, 2014 at 8:24 PM

  10. You post some of the more interesting photos on the internet; you push us all to produce better work.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    September 7, 2014 at 8:44 PM

  11. Your comment about the drugstore reminds me of where I lived as a kid. Across the highway from us was a huge open tract of land where I used to climb trees and watch for wild pheasants. Now it’s a strip mall.

    Susan Scheid

    September 11, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    • I’ll bet you’d give a lot to have back the trees and the wild pheasants.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 11, 2014 at 10:10 AM

      • Well, I’m far away from there now, but you’re right, I do wish it had been preserved for other children–for everyone, actually.

        Susan Scheid

        September 11, 2014 at 8:06 PM

  12. […] you saw a flower of Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum, a species known as bluebell, bluebell gentian, and prairie gentian. That July 29th picture came […]

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