Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

More and more-subtle fall foliage

with 36 comments

Bare Cedar Elm by More-Colorful Trees 8597

From November 24, 2014, at McKinney Falls State Park, here’s some more-diversified fall foliage—or in the case of the prominent but sinuous tree in the foreground, no foliage at all. I believe the bright red leaves at the lower left are from a young rusty blackhaw (Viburnum rufidulum). In the background you can make out a bald cypress tree (Taxodium distichum), some cedar elms (Ulmus crassifolia) with yellow or yellow-orange leaves, and the temporarily brown water of Onion Creek.

To those of you that celebrate Thanksgiving today, I wish you a happy holiday. To those of you in countries that don’t celebrate Thanksgiving today, I still wish you a happy holiday.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 26, 2015 at 5:21 AM

36 Responses

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  1. Happy Thanksgiving to you, too. It’s my favorite holiday, but it’s not celebrated here in NZ … and now it’s Friday. First time ever without a T’giving celebration, so thanks for the good wishes!


    November 26, 2015 at 5:28 AM

    • I thought about the different time zone and realized my Thanksgiving wishes would arrive too late for a few people, but I also realized the affected countries would be those that probably don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. I hadn’t considered American expatriates. Perhaps next year you can hold a Thanksgiving dinner and introduce New Zealanders to the American holiday.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 26, 2015 at 6:33 AM

  2. Happy Thanksgiving to you, too. I am thankful for your beautiful art that appears in my email every day, little gems of nature that I can savor when I want to; what a treat!


    November 26, 2015 at 5:37 AM

    • You’re welcome, Dianne. You’re right about the many gems out there in nature. Happy savoring of multiple kinds today.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 26, 2015 at 6:38 AM

  3. Great post, lovely pic.

    mukul chand

    November 26, 2015 at 6:21 AM

  4. Happy Thanksgiving, Steve!

    Mind Margins

    November 26, 2015 at 6:39 AM

  5. Have a good day. Be thankful and kind.

    Jim in IA

    November 26, 2015 at 6:40 AM

  6. Happy Thanksgiving, Steve.


    November 26, 2015 at 7:04 AM

  7. I love the complexity in this photo~I had a lot of fun letting my eye explore and imagining myself standing there in that beautiful spot.
    A very Happy Thanksgiving to you…I think we already wished each other that yesterday, but an extra “helping” doesn’t hurt!


    November 26, 2015 at 9:34 AM

    • If I’m not mistaken, extra helpings (note the plural) are de rigueur on Thanksgiving, so even if we’re repeating ourselves we’re covered.
      Because I’d forgotten about this picture from a year ago, I was excited to rediscover the complexity you mentioned. I’m glad you had fun exploring the image.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 26, 2015 at 1:34 PM

  8. Hi Steve,
    This picture gives me some ideas for trees to plant in our garden. We did plant a Cedar Elm this spring, but as the deer go at it [the buck did quite a bit of damage to the bark] we’re not sure if it will survive. We’ll have to see.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you, too,


    November 26, 2015 at 9:35 AM

    • You may have noticed that some people in the Hill Country set up wire cages around young plants and trees that will likely need extra help against the deer. If you haven’t used that kind of protection, you might try it next time. If it works, you’ll have one more reason to give thanks.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 26, 2015 at 1:37 PM

      • Hi Steve,
        Meanwhile I have fences around most of the trees that need them. But I was rather late in doing so with some. I hope the trees will survive.


        November 26, 2015 at 10:21 PM

        • I hope so too. By coincidence, when we left home yesterday afternoon a male deer walked down the street and into our front yard.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 27, 2015 at 6:38 AM

  9. Happy Thanksgiving from rainy Goliad. Your photo’s a glorious spot of color on a gray day, just like my attempt to use this iGadget is a bit of amusement for the friend who owns this thing. Real comments are going to have to wait until I have a real keyboard, methinks.


    November 26, 2015 at 4:52 PM

    • I hope you achieved your goal in Goliad, rain or no rain. It’s been drizzling on and off in Austin all day, but nothing heavy, and the temperature has been a balmy 70°.

      Like you, I’m not fond of tiny keyboards, but sometimes they’ve come in handy on trips.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 26, 2015 at 9:50 PM

      • Update: I was awakened about 20 minutes ago by the sound of heavy rain. The forecast for Austin on weather.com says 90% chance of rain today and tomorrow and 60% Sunday. The temperature is still mild but is supposed to drop into the 40s by tomorrow morning.

        Steve Schwartzman

        November 27, 2015 at 6:44 AM

  10. It almost looks like a pen and ink drawing!

    Sarah Longes - Mirador Design

    November 26, 2015 at 6:38 PM

  11. Onion Creek is onion coloured in this photo; that’s if your onions are brown ones. We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving but we always think of those that do, and remember Thanksgiving dinners we have enjoyed with American families over the years. The US Embassy made sure Thanksgiving was celebrated in Wellington with pumpkin pie. https://nz.usembassy.gov/give-thanks-this-year-with-pumpkin-pie/


    November 27, 2015 at 6:20 AM

    • No, we don’t normally see brown onions in our supermarkets, but Onion Creek turns that color often enough. Yesterday evening’s sweet and varied shades of Thanksgiving brown came from flan, pecan pie, and pumpkin cheesecake. I think there was pumpkin pie, too, but after the three desserts I mentioned and one other, I couldn’t squeeze any more food down.

      I’m glad you have fond memories of your Thanksgivings with Americans. There may yet be more to come.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 27, 2015 at 7:03 AM

      • I do hope so. I can forgo the turkey but I wouldn’t mind some pies.


        November 27, 2015 at 9:47 PM

        • This math teacher is fond of pie and π but forwent the turkey (and enjoyed wending his way to the past tense of forgo).

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 27, 2015 at 10:22 PM

  12. Lovely Thanksgiving offering, Steve. It makes me want to transform into a little bird and soar right in among those inviting branches. Thank you!


    November 29, 2015 at 10:01 AM

    • You’re welcome, Gary. The idea of transforming yourself into a little bird reminds me that in Manhattan in the 1970s there was an art gallery called A Bird Can Fly But a Fly Can’t Bird.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 29, 2015 at 10:30 AM

  13. Eliot Porterish, Steve. Straight out of “Nature’s Chaos” and very well done. The neutral tree backed up by the autumn color works well.

    Steve Gingold

    November 30, 2015 at 3:00 PM

    • I know how highly you regard Eliot Porter’s work, so thanks. This picture was special for me too. I agree that having the color play backup to the colorless but intricate forms of the tree worked well here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 30, 2015 at 10:13 PM

  14. I was sure you had a photo from Onion Creek and the falls, and here it is. I thought you’d enjoy this report I came across, about some travelers who arrived in this same area in the early 1700s — members of the Aguayo Expedition. It sounds as though some of the trials and tribulations of a nature photographer would be familiar to the Spanish explorers.

    “They called this the Garrapatas. This name was first applied to a tributary of the Colorado in 1709 by Espinosa and Olivares {Diario, entry for April 16), on account of their unpleasant experience with the ticks
    {garrapatas). In 1716, Espinosa met his “old friends again,” who were “this time somewhat more merciful,” and again gave the stream the same name {Diario, entry for May 22). In 1727 it still had the unenviable
    name (Rivera, Diario, entry for August 27).

    As there are several small tributaries to the Colorado, all about the same size and bearing the same
    relative locations, different ones might have been given the same name on the dififerent expeditions, without varying their descriptions or the route sensibly. But in the Peiia diary, at least, the location is definitely identified by the description of the well known falls on Onion Creek.”


    January 31, 2016 at 6:34 PM

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