Perspectives on Nature Photography
with 22 comments
When I was working along E. 51st St. on March 27th I photographed this redbud tree, Cercis canadensis, that was just beginning to leaf out but still had plenty of attractive blossoms on it.
© 2015 Steven Schwartzman
Written by Steve Schwartzman
April 20, 2015 at 5:18 AM
Posted in nature photography
Tagged with Austin, flowers, nature, Texas, trees
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It’s hard to catch these with that “perfect” balance of blossom and leaf, but you’ve done a fine job. And there’s just enough of that patented Schwartzman sky to balance it all out. It’s almost as though the three layers have been stacked, one atop the other — an unusual interpretation of that rule of thirds.
April 20, 2015 at 5:45 AM
I like your reinterpretation of the rule of thirds, which normally refers to positions in a plane that’s parallel to our face, but which in its new incarnation applies to layers along our line of sight. I’ll have to tell you, though, that the yellow-orange color that caught my attention because it contrasts so well with the pink of the redbud blossoms is not part of the redbud tree; furthermore (that’s a word I’ve used only twice on this blog, and both times in quoting other writers), although some of the redbud’s new leaves do appear in the photograph, they’re not prominent.
Those revelations may lead to thoughts like “Oh, you trickster,” but at least the blue really is from the sky (too bad I can’t patent it and collect royalties). I guess I’d better go into teacher mode and clear things up. To do that, in the next post I’ll show what the prominent yellow-orange in the middle level came from, and in the post after that I’ll single out a new redbud leaf; you probably already know what one looks like, but people from other regions may not.
April 20, 2015 at 6:11 AM
Well, that helps to explain why I’ve never seen that combination of colors in a leafing-out redbud! On the other hand, that makes my “rule of thirds” comment even more applicable, since there are three discrete elements involved in the image: redbud, “whatever,” and sky.
April 20, 2015 at 6:15 AM
I guess I imitated all those Latin American novelists and served up a visual dose of my own sort of magic realism here. As you say: all the better for your layered interpretation of the rule of thirds.
April 20, 2015 at 6:31 AM
Thank you for that shot of spring. It seems unfair that a tree with ‘canadensis’ in its name should be blooming so joyfully in Texas when 9/10 of my property (on Prince Edward Island) is still under two feet of snow. Apparently they will grow here, I’ve just never seen one this far north.
April 20, 2015 at 6:44 AM
It’s not unusual for a species to be named for the place where a botanist first studied it, and some of those species turn out to have distributions across large geographic areas. That can lead to the discrepancy you mentioned, where you’re still mostly under snow on P.E.I. but we’re well into spring in central Texas.
Another species like that that comes to mind is Erigeron philadelphicus, which may or may not have flowered in Philadelphia yet, but flowers of which I photographed in Austin a month ago.
April 20, 2015 at 7:01 AM
This Redbud looks wonderful against the contrasting yellow foliage and the blue sky. When I lived in Peoria we had a large old Redbud that I adored, but I haven’t been able to get one growing up here.
April 20, 2015 at 8:01 AM
The greatest number of flowering redbuds I ever saw was in 2008 in Missouri, and specifically in the vicinity of Kansas City. It was late April, and although spring had long since set in in Austin, as we drove further north the season receded into winter, so that by the time we reached northern Iowa there wasn’t a green leaf or green blade of grass anywhere in sight. Your northern latitudes sure can be harsh on vegetation for much of the year.
You may be surprised to hear that the yellow in this photograph wasn’t foliage, as I’ll explain tomorrow (you may want to look back at the first comment on this post and my reply to it).
April 20, 2015 at 10:57 AM
The layering in this photo makes me think of floral print fabric; specifically Liberty. http://www.liberty.co.uk/
April 20, 2015 at 8:25 AM
Now that I’ve taken the liberty of looking at your link I can see why you saw a resemblance to floral print fabric. I wonder if fabric designs are ever created from photographs of things in nature (as opposed to being drawn from the designer’s imagination).
April 20, 2015 at 11:05 AM
I don’t know, but the artistry (craft, history, technology) behind fabric (and wallpaper) design is amazing. One of the masters was William Morris, and his work lives on today. https://www.william-morris.co.uk/blogs/interview-with-alison-gee-head-of-design-for-morris-and-co/
April 20, 2015 at 6:48 PM
Thanks for the link. I didn’t realize that Morris and Company is still going strong. You may be aware that Linda at shoreacres is a big fan of William Morris.
April 20, 2015 at 7:58 PM
I don’t know that I was aware of that but I am now. Just read one of her posts referencing William Morris.
April 20, 2015 at 10:24 PM
We were going to plant a Redbud here in the yard, but for some reason never did. Your image adds to the regret. I am not sure now that we have a suitable spot. I do get to enjoy them for several days on the way to work as I pass by Mount Holyoke College.
April 20, 2015 at 12:14 PM
Having a suitable spot makes all the difference for a tree, doesn’t it? At least you’ve got the one at the college to look at (and photograph?).
April 20, 2015 at 12:49 PM
Lots of those are blooming around here now.
Jim in IA
April 20, 2015 at 12:29 PM
I’m glad to hear you’re having a milder spring this year than you did in 2008 (see my reply to Melissa above).
April 20, 2015 at 12:47 PM
We are in better shape this year. More normal. Everything is greening up nicely. The trees are popping leaves now.
April 20, 2015 at 1:12 PM
Our autumn colours are just beautiful at the moment with the low light. But it is nice to see some pink blossoms too.
April 20, 2015 at 2:35 PM
I wish I could see those autumn colors of yours now, but failing that, wildflowers will do nicely.
April 20, 2015 at 3:00 PM
[…] yellow-orange that you saw peeking through from beyond the pink redbud blossoms in yesterday’s March 27th photograph came not from the developing leaves of the redbud (which were there, though inconspicuous) but from […]
Huisache tree flowering away | Portraits of Wildflowers
April 21, 2015 at 5:24 AM
[…] few posts back you saw a redbud tree that was already beginning to leaf out on March 27th but whose blossoms were still the attention-getters. On the same outing along E. 51st […]
A redbud tree’s new leaf | Portraits of Wildflowers
April 22, 2015 at 5:50 AM
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