Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Oaks are OK: an understatement

with 31 comments

Oak Trees Turning Orange and Red 9838

Along Williamson County Road 279 on November 26th I stopped to photograph some fabulous oaks that were turning orange, red, and brown. I don’t know what species they were, but Quercus buckleyi, known as Texas red oak, is a possibility. I do know that of the many people who drove by during my 25 minutes there, no one else stopped to check out the fall foliage. Their loss, my gain—and now yours too.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 8, 2014 at 5:36 AM

31 Responses

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  1. I live in the Northeast, and never imagined you would have this kind of brilliant fall foliage color in Texas…lovely!

    cmrue

    December 8, 2014 at 6:27 AM

    • I grew up in New York, so I know from experience what you mean. In central Texas we don’t have much fall foliage on a large scale, so each autumn in this blog I’ve played up the providers of color on a smaller scale, including the ones over the last eight days. Texas red oaks are the largest trees that turn red in central Texas, and they can get bigger than the oaks you see in this photo.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 8, 2014 at 7:06 AM

  2. Tut, tut, everyone always in too much of a hurry to stop and look. I was actually admonished today, by a stranger, for being in a rush.

    Gallivanta

    December 8, 2014 at 6:34 AM

  3. We, who look, are members of a lucky tribe, aren’t we? I wonder how differently people would treat the world if they would stop and look at it…
    This is so beautiful, Steve. Made my day 🙂

    melissabluefineart

    December 8, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    • One definition of a looker is ‘a very attractive person.’ I’m not that kind of looker (though you may well be) but a looker in the literal sense that you meant, for whom my subjects are often lookers in the first sense (even if they’re not human). It looks like lookers are a happy tribe to belong to—and look at all the times I’ve typed look in this reply.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 8, 2014 at 11:14 AM

  4. Lovely colours. 😀

    Raewyn's Photos

    December 8, 2014 at 2:16 PM

  5. Nice one, Steve. Some folks think skies are boring without clouds. I think this disproves that opinion.

    Oklahoma is OK too.

    Steve Gingold

    December 8, 2014 at 2:57 PM

    • As long as there’s something good to play off against that uniform blue, I’m with you in not feeling the need for clouds (though I have nothing against them and will use them when I can).
      Isn’t the last line of your comment from the songwriting duo of Rodgers and Gingoldstein?

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 8, 2014 at 4:07 PM

  6. Thank you for a little fall beauty to get us through our winter day.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    December 8, 2014 at 5:33 PM

    • I’m still seeing some colorful leaves here, so more doses of fall foliage will be coming your way.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 8, 2014 at 7:06 PM

  7. My gain too, Steve. What a gorgeous old tree, spreading its branches, clothed with autumnal splendor. Thank you for sharing this unusually lovely photo.

    Mary Mageau

    December 8, 2014 at 6:29 PM

    • You’re welcome, Mary. When I saw these trees I had no choice but to stop and record the view—actually views, plural, of several trees and groups of trees, and from various angles.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 8, 2014 at 7:09 PM

  8. […] I stopped on November 26th to portray the bright oaks you saw last time, I’d spent a couple of hours at Doeskin Ranch, a nature preserve in Burnet County about an […]

  9. It took me until this morning to snap to the OKlahoma allusion in your title. It’s a nice reminder of the beautiful colors in the eastern part of that state, and NW Arkansas, as well. I used to long to go to New England for leaf-peeping, but if beautiful landscapes are the goal, they’re right here — as you prove time and again.

    As for the not-looking phenomenon, I experienced the same thing on my way home last week, when I came across a large field filled with what well could have been hundreds of thousands of snow geese. I’ve never seen such a thing, ever. I stopped and wandered up and down the road, trying to photograph the birds. Car after car sped by, and no one even slowed down. Perhaps it’s a common sight for the people who regularly pass by there, but it still was remarkable.

    shoreacres

    December 9, 2014 at 7:39 AM

    • In addition to the standard version of stopping to smell the roses there’s stopping to admire the oaks and snow geese and many other things that people regularly pass by. It’s true that we can get inured to things, but when something is as outstanding as these oaks were in a region not known for a lot of fall color, I have trouble understanding why at least someone else didn’t stop.

      I wish I could’ve seen all those snow geese (and had a long lens on my camera). Were the geese in the coastal plain or farther inland?

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 9, 2014 at 8:24 AM

      • They were along Highway 71 between El Campo and Hwy 35. I often detour that way instead of taking I-10 into Houston, just to extend the pleasure of the trip a bit. I certainly was glad I did this time. I managed a couple of truly amateurish videos, and some better photos. Here’s one.

        shoreacres

        December 9, 2014 at 8:31 AM

        • You did a good job of training those geese to fill the picture frame.

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 9, 2014 at 9:24 AM

        • Great shot! I captured some on a trip to Anahuac NWR where very large flocks gather every year. What a noise racket — and a sight to see as well, such numbers. I couldn’t imagine just driving right by it, like most people do.

          Shannon

          December 9, 2014 at 2:48 PM

  10. I’ll say! Our post and bur oaks lose all their leaves, but no color show to speak of.

    Shannon

    December 9, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    • I looked at the USDA distribution map for Quercus buckleyi and I’m sorry to say it doesn’t grow near the coast. We have bur oaks and post oaks here in the center too, but the red oaks are the stars at this time of year.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 9, 2014 at 3:34 PM

  11. Now, this stand of oaks I can celebrate without reservation! This is a beautiful stand of oaks. Good on you for stopping to take a photograph so we can see them, too.

    Susan Scheid

    December 13, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    • Thanks for appreciating these Texas oaks. I know (because I remember from childhood) that you can easily experience this on a much vaster scale in the Northeast every fall, so it means all the more down here in our warmer climate. And as you imply, these oaks don’t produce phytodermatitis, just phytophilia.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 13, 2014 at 11:34 AM

      • Ah, now there’s a scientific term I’m happy to get to know!

        Susan Scheid

        December 13, 2014 at 11:41 AM

        • I thought I made up the term but I searched just now and found an article entitled ” Phytophilia – Plants increase efficiency of cognitive processes.”

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 13, 2014 at 11:53 AM


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