Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Red for Valentine’s Day

with 32 comments

Dense Indian Paintbrushes on Slope 3

In honor of Valentine’s Day, here’s a classic picture that shows a dense colony of Indian paintbrushes, Castilleja indivisa, on an embankment of US 183 in east Austin on March 22, 2001. In the springtimes since then the paintbrushes on that slope have never been as dense and rich.

Did you know that some countries have taken to banning Valentine’s Day celebrations? So have some American schools.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 14, 2016 at 5:05 AM

32 Responses

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  1. This is a lovely photo of the paintbrushes, Steven. What a sight for sore eyes!
    I had no idea that some countries have banned Valentine’s Day, thanks for the links.


    February 14, 2016 at 5:15 AM

    • And a happily bright sight to you, Dina. There’s nothing like this as early as February here, so I had to borrow from a month further into the year. You’re welcome for the links; probably the most surprising country in which to have witnessed opposition to Valentine’s Day is the United States.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 14, 2016 at 8:19 AM

  2. I can hear Charlie Brown wincing “good grief.” Banning expressions of love! The host of flowers is beautiful. When I got up this morning, it was 8 degrees. Imagine a place where, in a month, a field will be filled with lovely paintbrushes! Soon after we will see photos of children lolling in the bluebonnets. There is hope! It must be so exciting to see fields of any flower in full bloom. Happy Valentine’s Day! I love your work!


    February 14, 2016 at 6:39 AM

    • I’m sorry you have to endure 8°; the other day we added “nothing” to it and reached 80°. As you said, though, even here we’re at least a month away from any large wildflower displays, especially given the recent lack of rain (again). I’ve seen some bluebonnet rosettes and developing plants but no flower stalks yet. It is exciting to see large fields of wildflowers; historical accounts tell us that they used to be much larger and more widespread.

      Thanks for your support, Dianne.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 14, 2016 at 8:30 AM

  3. Good work, Steve.


    February 14, 2016 at 6:53 AM

  4. What a beautiful sight of a wonderful site 🙂 Oh that is terrible~my apologies. I’ll be better behaved after some coffee I hope. Seriously though, how fortunate to have this photo of when the field lit up like this.

    It saddens me that whole countries are so controlled by fanatical religion that expressions of love can be banned.


    February 14, 2016 at 7:58 AM

    • Not to worry: I could cite the sight~site homophony in things I’ve written too. You know how much a site can vary from year to year. I’m still hopeful that a springtime will come along when this highway embankment once again prove as good a sight as it did in 2001.

      It’s not just other countries, but places in the United States too that are doing some strange things.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 14, 2016 at 9:49 AM

      • Yeah, it is worrying.


        February 14, 2016 at 11:38 AM

        • I’m especially worried by how little so many of the “graduates” of our schools know.


          Steve Schwartzman

          February 14, 2016 at 11:48 AM

          • Schools are doing a terrible job in this area. Every year my kids just had the same material, starting with Columbus and the Pilgrims, and they’d get as far as WWII. But never really in any detail. Luckily they were both readers. And, thinking back, it was the same for me. I got most of my knowledge at home. My parents were good teachers and made sure we had lots of books. For road trips we went to historical sites. My dad once apologized that he couldn’t afford to take us to Disney Land but I told him trips to Yellowstone, the Smithsonian, etc were far better.


            February 15, 2016 at 7:39 AM

            • Yes, they are doing a terrible job. Even when I was in school in the 1950s and ’60s there was lots of repetition in the history classes, as you pointed out, but at least the basics got covered. There are unfortunately many kids today who are given high school diplomas but who can’t even tell you simple things like what century the American Revolution took place in or who the Americans revolted against; who the country’s first three presidents were; what the three branches of our government are. It’s sad.

              Steve Schwartzman

              February 15, 2016 at 7:51 AM

              • It doesn’t bode well for the future of the country.


                February 15, 2016 at 8:15 AM

                • No, it doesn’t, and I worry about it. It makes me more curmudgeonly and cynical that I’m already disposed to be.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  February 15, 2016 at 8:27 AM

            • As kids we also got taken to plenty of historical sites and museums. It proved a good inheritance.

              Steve Schwartzman

              February 15, 2016 at 7:58 AM

    • I remembered your fondness for coffee a few minutes ago. I’m reading Andrea Wulf’s biography of the scientist Alexander von Humboldt and I just learned that he referred to black coffee as concentrated sunshine.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 12, 2016 at 8:57 AM

      • That is wonderful! Yes, indeed, concentrated sunshine. I’m sipping some right now 🙂
        I’ve got that book on my shelf, waiting to be read. Can’t wait, as it looks like a good one.


        March 13, 2016 at 9:11 AM

  5. Thank you for the beautiful Valentine’s Day picture, Steve. Happy Valentine’s Day to you. 🙂


    February 14, 2016 at 3:55 PM

    • You’re welcome, Jane. Hope you had a good Valentine’s Day yesterday (your time). We’re just about to go out to have supper on what is still Valentine’s Day here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 14, 2016 at 5:07 PM

  6. A sea of red, lovely! Happy Valentine’s Day to you as well Steve!


    February 14, 2016 at 5:59 PM

  7. What a lovely hillside. Blooming in general and profusion particularly can be so variable. Here’s hoping you’ll have another such spring bloom.

    Steve Gingold

    February 14, 2016 at 6:30 PM

    • Oh, may it be so. I go by there each spring in hopes of recreating 2001, paintbrush-wise. I’ve photographed some other individual wildflowers or groups on that slope in the years since then.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 14, 2016 at 7:34 PM

  8. The paintbrush is red,
    the skies are so blue;
    it’s such a delight
    when you bring us these hues.

    It’s a perfect offering for Valentine’s Day, Steve ~ thanks for the beauty.


    February 14, 2016 at 7:10 PM

    • You’re welcome, Linda. I jumped the gun when it comes to the day and month of the photograph, but I wanted something richly red, and it’s still too early in 2016 for anything new that’s appropriate.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 14, 2016 at 7:37 PM

  9. What beautiful floral colors, someday I’ll have to see Texas in spring.


    February 14, 2016 at 9:47 PM

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