Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Same place and time, a very different view

with 29 comments

Rain-Lily Bud by Neptunia 5702

In contrast to the previous post’s September 15th panorama of rain-lilies, Cooperia drummondii, here I got in close for a minimalist treatment of a budding rain-lily in that same colony. The hazy “sun” behind the rain-lily was a conveniently out-of-focus flower globe of Neptunia pubescens, known as tropical neptunia or tropical puff. The pink in the upper background may have come from some of the aging flowers in the colony (whose colors you can reacquaint yourselves with), or perhaps from a silverleaf nightshade flower. Whatever caused that color, I like having it in the picture; don’t you?

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 20, 2015 at 5:33 AM

29 Responses

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  1. Dawn candle? Prayer for Peace? Calm beauty.


    September 20, 2015 at 6:02 AM

    • All are possibilities and all are appropriate (although I know the time was a very late “dawn” of 9:42).

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 20, 2015 at 6:42 AM

      • Well, it’s not dawn but it’s about the time when we arise to greet the day!


        September 20, 2015 at 6:49 AM

        • 9:42 is also the time when it dawned on me to take a picture like this. (And yes, some people have later arise-to-meet-the-day times than others.)

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 20, 2015 at 7:03 AM

          • I am already greeting the new day; just not the sunshine portion of it.


            September 20, 2015 at 7:05 AM

            • Happy new Monday, while Sunday in Texas still isn’t far advanced (but we do have daylight).

              Other cultures have been less arbitrary about where they mark the beginning of a new day, typically choosing sunrise or sunset.

              Steve Schwartzman

              September 20, 2015 at 7:18 AM

  2. It’s a beautiful, what a nice soft gradient. Steve, another name I’ve noticed changing (or that changed) are some of the Clerodendrum. “Clerodendrum is a genus of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae. It is currently classified in the subfamily Ajugoideae, being one of several genera transferred from Verbenaceae to Lamiaceae in the 1990s, based on phylogenetic analysis of morphological and molecular data.” About two that I found were once in the family of Verbenaceae, and were switched to Lamiaceae. Rotheca myricoides (Blue Butterfly Bush) is one of them, and Clerodendrum thomsoniae (Bleeding Glory Bower) was the other one. Now this goes down to genetics, just thought I’d tell you.

    Maria F.

    September 20, 2015 at 6:45 AM

    • Thanks for appreciating the abstract approach to this rain-lily, Maria.

      I’d never heard of Clerodendrum, but you’ve given one more example of reclassification, a process that seems to be speeding up rather than slowing down.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 20, 2015 at 6:59 AM

  3. You’ve outdone yourself, Steve. At least for now.


    September 20, 2015 at 7:33 AM

    • Thanks for your commendation, Ken. I’m always looking for new ways to portray subjects.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 20, 2015 at 8:01 AM

  4. My cousin’s wife, Ariana Vincent, introduced me to your work. I love it! Are you using a tripod? What lens and camera for the macro work? Thank you. Missy McIver

    Ada McIver

    September 20, 2015 at 7:55 AM

    • Hello, Ada, and welcome. I’m sorry for the delayed reply, but I just noticed that WordPress had inexplicably put your comment in the spam file. I’m pleased that you’re enjoying what you find in these pages.

      No, I’m not using a tripod. Like many choices, that one has its pluses and minuses. I can’t do long exposures in low light without a tripod, but I have greater freedom to move and try out unusual angles. I’ve used various Canon digital bodies over the past decade and a half, and Canon’s 100mm L macro lens for some years now. I’ve sometimes added an extension tube to be able to focus even closer than the macro lens can by itself. At


      you can find more information about my equipment.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 3, 2015 at 5:18 AM

  5. This is very elegant. I really like this pair of images~wouldn’t they look pretty framed together?


    September 20, 2015 at 9:53 AM

    • Thanks for your suggestion. I’d thought about the contrast between the two, but not about the two together. I’ve also thought about an extended series with at least a couple of dozen pictures showing rain-lilies in their various phases and in different compositional approaches.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 20, 2015 at 10:16 AM

  6. It is such a clear demonstration of how amazing all of life is on this planet.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekkker

    September 20, 2015 at 10:31 AM

  7. The bud is lovely as is the collection of supporting colors.

    Steve Gingold

    September 20, 2015 at 5:47 PM

  8. What a wonderful contrast with the panorama shot. The background hues are amazing as they set off the beauty of the bud. I actually was guessing that all the background colors ‘come from some of the aging flowers in the colony’. An exquisite photo.

    Birder's Journey

    September 20, 2015 at 6:57 PM

    • I’ve taken many rain-lily pictures in the past decade, so finding new ways to portray these flowers is a challenge. This picture pleased me intrinsically and also because it’s different from any that went before, thanks to those two background colors. I’m glad you find the combination exquisite.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 20, 2015 at 9:11 PM

  9. It’s one thing to show, for example, a series focused on tulips or roses. Their petals and colors have so much variety, you could photograph for days without repeating yourself. But rain lilies? They are what they are, so to speak, and the fact that you’ve been able to present them in so many wonderful ways says as much about your skill (and eye!) as it does about the lilies themselves. This is just gorgeous: unusual, and deeply appealing.


    September 21, 2015 at 7:48 AM

    • Such is their photographic wealth, I’m turning into the rex of rain-lilies, or maybe their maha raja. (Rex = king, maha raja =great king; it’s etymologically the same word).

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 21, 2015 at 8:25 AM

  10. After reading the other comments I can see my own will not be original, unlike your very fine work of art, Steve. My first thoughts were that it was a very spiritual looking shot. It made me think of praying hands or a candle but with a powerful presence behind it in the form of the yellow light. The colours, the light, softness and composition are perfect.


    September 22, 2015 at 3:27 AM

    • Ah, but your views are still valid, Jane. Only one other person mentioned a candle, and you alone spoke of perceiving a powerful presence in the form of the yellow light, for which I thank you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 22, 2015 at 3:35 AM

  11. Beautiful composition!


    September 23, 2015 at 9:44 AM

  12. I always love your rain lily photographs, Steve, but this one is a stellar composition!


    October 7, 2015 at 12:02 AM

    • Thanks, Lynda. Yes, this one was different from any I’d ever done, thanks to the neptunia flower in the background.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 7, 2015 at 4:16 AM

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