Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Great Hills wildflower display #3

with 30 comments

Yellow Stonecrop Colony with Other Wildflowers 0125A

As you saw in the last two posts, the undeveloped land along Yaupon Dr. where the big power lines stretch east and west has been flourishing this spring, so at the risk of wearing you out, here’s one more look at a Great Hills wildflower meadow. In this May 6th view, pride of place—literally, in terms of the greatest area covered—goes to yellow stonecrop, Sedum nuttallianum, the yellow-green colony of which hugs the ground as it stretches across the meadow from the photograph’s lower left to its upper right (and curves back down a bit). Once again the conspicuously red flower heads with yellow fringes are Indian blankets, Gaillardia pulchella, and the small yellow ones are four-nerve daisies, Tetraneuris linearifolia. The violet-colored flowers in the foreground are prairie verbenas, Glandularia bipinnatifida, and the dry grass arc-ing out in various directions is purple three-awn, Aristida purpurea. As before, there’s prickly pear cactus, Opuntia engelmannii var. lindheimeri, and limestone rocks.

On the technical side, I’ll add that I took this picture with my lens zoomed out to its widest setting of 24 mm. I moved the camera around until I liked the way the elements filled the viewfinder, even though that meant the camera wasn’t parallel to the ground in any dimension. Call it artistic license.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 19, 2015 at 5:32 AM

30 Responses

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  1. Well played, Steve. Who cares about parallelism anyway. Another very nice composition.

    Steve Gingold

    May 19, 2015 at 5:47 AM

    • Some might say my mind is already skewed, so why not my pictures? Be that as it may, I’m happy that you like the composition.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 19, 2015 at 6:02 AM

  2. I find the composition pleasing too. Nothing wrong with being a bit skewed – in mind or pictures. 😉 The angle adds interest and the mixture of textures and colours is also appealing, Steve.


    May 19, 2015 at 6:08 AM

    • That makes two votes in a row (plus mine) to approve being skewed. Seems like we’re on a roll. Now that I think about it (with my skewed mind), it’s a good thing I didn’t fall over when I was on a roll with my camera.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 19, 2015 at 6:27 AM

  3. Do you have a closeup shot of the yellow stonecrop?


    May 19, 2015 at 6:25 AM

    • Ah, you read my mind: if you can hang on till tomorrow morning, you’ll have one.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 19, 2015 at 6:29 AM

      • I thought that would be the case. 🙂


        May 19, 2015 at 6:30 AM

  4. I like the dense gathering of growing things. At first glance, the scene appeared slightly askew. Then, you explained. The stonecrop appears to be the reason. They tilt left as do I most of the time.

    Jim in IA

    May 19, 2015 at 6:43 AM

    • The density (particularly of the stonecrop, which tends to fill in open spaces on the ground and had thriven from the rain) is what appealed to me, but that very density made it hard to walk through the meadow without stepping on any of the plants. Although I did my best to tip-toe through the stonecrop (and four-nerve daisies, but certainly not tulips), I’m afraid I did a few of them in.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 19, 2015 at 6:55 AM

  5. This series makes me think of impressionism. I was wondering how an impressionist painter would paint this scene. Closest answer I could find was this http://www.lulingfoundation.org/glory-of-the-morning. Also a few paintings by José Arpa.


    May 19, 2015 at 7:09 AM

    • From the Antipodes you’ve taught me some things about central Texas. The town of Luling is about an hour south of Austin, and although I’ve driven through it plenty of times and have stopped occasionally to take pictures, I’d never heard of the Luling Foundation. I also didn’t know that the founder of the organization sponsored wildflower art competitions in the 1920s and ’30s:


      Interestingly, although you were in search of an Impressionist rendering, I noticed this: “Exhibitions in the late 1920s nurtured the state’s emerging art community and fueled the regionalist movement that would reject impressionism and gain prominence in the 1930s.”

      I’d not heard of José Arpa, either, who I now see was from Spain but painted in Mexico and Texas as well:


      Thanks for all the new connections.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 19, 2015 at 7:29 AM

      • I only found out about them when I took some artistic license with your photo and went searching for an Impressionist interpretation of wildflowers.


        May 19, 2015 at 7:37 AM

        • Then feel free to take all the artistic license you want with these photographs if it leads to more discoveries. (I’m reminded that a few times I found myself taking artistic license in New Zealand by drifting to the right side of the road, but the inclination soon left me and no harm was done.)

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 19, 2015 at 7:44 AM

  6. A fine array of colors and textures, and I’m right with you folks who see the impressionist analogies.


    May 19, 2015 at 10:49 AM

  7. So much colour. Lovely work Steve

    Raewyn's Photos

    May 19, 2015 at 2:54 PM

  8. Beautiful!


    May 19, 2015 at 9:32 PM

  9. I didn’t remember seeing yellow stonecrop, so I went looking and found the USDA lists it as “unreported” here, and in several surrounding counties. I was surprised to see that it’s a succulent. The closest we seem to have is Portulaca pilosa (Tveten, p. 219) which also is a low-growing succulent.

    Despite the differences, yellow stonecrop reminds me of mountain pinks. It would be wonderful to see them growing together, as Indian paintbrush and bluebonnets sometimes do. Despite “stone” in one name and “mountain” in the other, though, I suspect it doesn’t happen.


    May 20, 2015 at 7:17 AM

    • Now you’ve got me rummaging through my memory to try to recall if I’ve ever seen mountain pinks and yellow stonecrop together. Nothing comes to mind, and I’m with you in thinking the combination unlikely, but the time for mountain pinks to begin flowering is at hand, so I’ll keep my eyes open. If we had a place in central Texas called Stone Mountain I’d head there first to take a look.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 20, 2015 at 7:47 AM

  10. I enjoyed the different vantage points on this area shown in your series. This one I found particularly appealing for its composition, so I guess you can call me cock-eyed, as I note from your commentary that the camera, in the way you took the shot, wasn’t parallel to the ground.

    Susan Scheid

    May 26, 2015 at 4:29 PM

    • Can I assume your comment is parallel to Oscar Hammerstein’s lyrics for South Pacific and therefore conclude that you’re not just cock-eyed but a cock-eyed optimist?

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 26, 2015 at 4:33 PM

      • I could say life is just a bowl of jello
        And appear more intelligent and smart,
        but I’d rather admire
        all your wildflowers
        and “polygonal artifacts of light.”

        (I really, really wanted to find a way use that phrase of yours in a sentence, and here I had the chance!)

        Susan Scheid

        May 26, 2015 at 4:44 PM

        • I’m glad to hear you found that phrase so endearing, Susan, and that you got a chance to update O.H. with it, even if the updating was in the afternoon and not on some enchanted evening.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 26, 2015 at 4:50 PM

  11. Never too many, Steve. I so enjoy your compositions, and I always like to see how plants weave themselves into a tapestry. This is beautiful.


    May 31, 2015 at 10:31 AM

    • Thanks for your vote of confidence, Melissa. I find this sort of mixture fascinating, and the way plants weave together has fascinated me for a long time too. When I was out on the prairie two days ago (in the same area where I photographed the basket-flowers that appeared yesterday), I notice how bluets, which are small plants with small flowers, had filled in so much of the ground between the larger and more conspicuous wildflowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 31, 2015 at 11:05 AM

      • Yes, I like that too when a less conspicuous plant fills in. Another thing I find interesting is something you mentioned the other day about ferns, I think. Their very presence and readiness to respond to unusual amounts of rain suggests that there is more depth to an ecosystem than we might expect.


        May 31, 2015 at 12:00 PM

        • Last week I quoted Milton to the bride-to-be standing outside the church until everyone could go in and get seated: “They also serve who only stand and wait.”

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 31, 2015 at 12:13 PM

  12. […] Here are three consecutively closer views showing the little mollusks I found so plentiful on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula’s Little Manly Beach on the morning of February 27th. The way they’d colonized the seaside rocks in that part of New Zealand reminds me now of the way stonecrop colonizes little areas of flat limestone in central Texas. […]

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