Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Remembering the alamo again

with 22 comments

New Cottonwood Tree Leaf 4636

Alamo is the Spanish name for the tree that English calls cottonwood and that botanists know as Populus deltoides. This tree readily springs up near sources of water, so it’s not surprising that on September 4th I saw several cottonwood saplings near the pond between Dessau Rd. and Knowell Dr. in a new subdivision on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin. I don’t know what the red spot on the leaf was.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 16, 2015 at 5:29 AM

22 Responses

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  1. Steve……..very nice the way you brought out the texture of the veins. Like the mystery of the red spot……en theos…..jasL

    James Work Photography

    September 16, 2015 at 5:50 AM

    • All those veins got to me too, and I was pleases to capture a sense of that in a photograph.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 16, 2015 at 6:36 AM

  2. Nice detail. Did you ever try scanning a leaf on a good scanner? Amazing.

    Steve Gingold

    September 16, 2015 at 6:11 AM

    • I’ve seen excellent examples of things that have been scanned but I haven’t tried it. Maybe I should. If you’ve tried it yourself, you apparently haven’t posted any results on your blog.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 16, 2015 at 6:40 AM

  3. Perhaps the red spot is due to one of the veins getting nicked. How muscular the tree is, I don’t know, but at least we humans have the deltoid shape in common with it.

    I wondered, and went looking. It seems the Alamo was being called the Alamo before the rows of cottonwood trees were planted there, so the legend of the the legendary site being named after the trees may not be accurate.


    September 16, 2015 at 8:11 AM

    • My intuition is that even if cottonwood trees got planted at the site after the name Alamo became established, there must have been at least one such tree there in earlier times, or else why would Spanish-speaking explorers or settlers have used that name in the first place? Unless some early document turns up that explains the name, we’ll probably never know the truth of the matter.

      To reply to your first paragraph in a similar vein to the one in which you wrote it, I’ll say that I never would cotton to that cottonwood explanation, and any nicking that took place was just in the nick of time, which bled minutes and seconds rather than red fluid.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 16, 2015 at 9:58 AM

      • Of course you’re right about a nick not causing the red dot, since cottonwoods don’t bleed. Perhaps it’s only a bit of spatter from a nearby venous flytrap.


        September 16, 2015 at 1:51 PM

        • Which reminds me of the Spanish proverb “En boca cerrada no entran moscas,” which we might translate as “Keep your trap shut and flies won’t get in it.”

          It also occurs to me that Mars is redder than Venus but perhaps not redder than Venous.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 16, 2015 at 2:00 PM

          • Apparently the image in the proverb is cross-cultural. I don’t remember a proverb, per se, but I was an open-mouthed reader as a child, and my mother would ask, “Trapping flies?”


            September 17, 2015 at 10:04 PM

            • Cross-cultural indeed. I expect people have done studies to see which proverbs have equivalents in which other languages and cultures.

              Steve Schwartzman

              September 17, 2015 at 11:16 PM

  4. ¡Perfecta! Gracias por la información.

    Isabel F. Bernaldo de Quirós

    September 16, 2015 at 1:58 PM

  5. The observations, the thoughts you develop when you stop to take a real look at this world are pretty amazing…Great shot, love the interesting, and engaging detail.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    September 17, 2015 at 3:51 PM

    • I was excited to see the leaf in this light. For everything I manage to see, however, I wonder about all the other nearby things that I must have missed.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 17, 2015 at 11:13 PM

  6. Beautiful colours and composition here, Steve. I love how you positioned the leaf in this shot to point into a corner. The leaf edge pattern, the veins and the overall shape are very appealing.


    September 18, 2015 at 1:15 AM

    • All that certainly appealed to me, too, Jane. When it came to the orientation of my subject, I could have rotated the camera to make the leaf appear vertical, but I decided to go with the greater dynamism of an off-kilter subject.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 18, 2015 at 1:31 AM

  7. Well, color me red-spotted. I didn’t know what Alamo meant!


    September 21, 2015 at 4:56 PM

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