Perspectives on Nature Photography
with 29 comments
Also from Tejas Camp in Williamson County on May 30, here’s a rather domed basket-flower, Centaurea americana. The rain a few hours earlier contributed to the flower head’s somewhat unkempt look.
© 2016 Steven Schwartzman
Written by Steve Schwartzman
June 29, 2016 at 5:06 AM
Posted in nature photography
Tagged with flowers, nature, Texas, wildflowers
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unkempt and still a beauty
June 29, 2016 at 5:16 AM
Your comment somehow reminded me of two lines from The Pirates of Penzance:
The question is, had he not been a thing of beauty,
Would she be swayed by quite as keen a sense of duty?
June 29, 2016 at 6:00 AM
Lovely. I like its name too, starthistle.
June 29, 2016 at 6:01 AM
Sources give various common names for Centaurea americana, including American star-thistle, American knapweed, thornless thistle, and even shaving-brush and powder-puff, but here in central Texas I’ve never heard anyone use a common name for this wildflower other than basket-flower. We seem to have put all our names in one basket.
June 29, 2016 at 6:10 AM
The largest colony of basketflowers I’ve seen filled the ditches across from the entrance to Quiet Valley Ranch, site of the Kerrville Folk Festival. The flowers were far from fresh — even the best were slightly frowzy, like this one — but the bees, the beetles, the butterflies and the assorted tiny flies didn’t care one whit. Neither did I, for that matter. it would have helped to have a little blue sky to set them off, instead of cloudy skies and haze, but being able to wade right into the middle of them and enjoy the details was great.
June 29, 2016 at 6:26 AM
I attended the Kerrville Folk Festival just once, in the mid-1980s, but basket-flowers have been a source of pleasure for me every year since 1999. I’m glad you got to wade through a colony of them, even if they were a bit frowzy (good word). When we drove back into Austin a week ago I saw that a colony I’m familiar with in and near a ditch on Burnet Round had already mostly dried out over the three weeks of our absence. Yesterday morning I set out to take a closer look at some drying basket-flowers but got waylaid by my first bluebells of the season and never made it farther north to any basket-flowers.
Like you, I’ve sometimes seen insects attracted to flowers that were dried out well beyond the point where I thought there’d be anything for an insect to be attracted to. Oh well, it’s a truism that Insects and we have different sensibilities.
June 29, 2016 at 6:38 AM
Beautiful work, Steven.
June 29, 2016 at 6:27 AM
Basket-flowers make nature photography easy. I wish I could say the same for everything else out there in nature.
June 29, 2016 at 6:41 AM
Reminds me of a summer bonnet. 🙂
June 29, 2016 at 9:58 AM
You’re welcome to fashion a bonnet that looks like this. If you do, we expect to see a picture of you wearing it.
June 29, 2016 at 10:05 AM
You’ll have to FedEx me some first 🙂
June 29, 2016 at 10:07 AM
Sorry, by now the basket-flowers have gone to seed and are drying out.
June 29, 2016 at 10:12 AM
June 29, 2016 at 10:27 AM
Well, the spring of 2017 will be here before we know it.
July 1, 2016 at 3:58 PM
I’ll mark it on my calendar: Make bonnet. Send Steve pic. 🙂
July 1, 2016 at 4:19 PM
Now you’re talking.
July 1, 2016 at 4:25 PM
Very nice photo!
June 30, 2016 at 3:15 PM
I never get tired of photographing basket-flowers.
June 30, 2016 at 4:19 PM
I love the unkempt look!
July 1, 2016 at 2:13 AM
Is that a look you favor for yourself as well?
July 1, 2016 at 7:26 AM
Ha, me or my garden? Lol
July 1, 2016 at 2:22 PM
I meant you.
July 1, 2016 at 3:57 PM
At home .. Sure! 😃
July 1, 2016 at 11:31 PM
Sometimes unkempt is different and different is good.
July 1, 2016 at 6:42 AM
Yes, and we veteran photographers are always on the lookout for something we haven’t already seen and documented.
July 1, 2016 at 7:28 AM
I love your flower-photos. This is a beautiful example why…… 🙂
July 4, 2016 at 3:19 PM
Thanks. It’s hard to go wrong with a basket-flower. And I could say the same about a lot of other native species here.
July 4, 2016 at 3:34 PM
Centaurea was an aggressive and fairly hard to contain pest in our NW gardens, but it’s so pretty I still kept some growing regularly. Fun stuff!
July 7, 2016 at 7:36 PM
Did you have the European cornflower, Centaurea cyanus? Unfortunately C. americana doesn’t grow natively in the NW (though you could have planted some).
July 7, 2016 at 9:02 PM
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