Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A touching portrait

with 32 comments


In contrast to yesterday’s image, here’s an in-focus view of Liatris mucronata, known as blazing-star or gayfeather. You’re looking at details of two flower spikes pressing one against the other.

Like the last two posts, this one is from the prairie in Pflugerville on September 28.

Beginning today we’re headed west on a driving tour, so you’ll understand if posts thin out and replies to comments take longer than usual.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 16, 2016 at 5:03 AM

32 Responses

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  1. A gorgeous purple colour these ‘twins’ have:)


    October 16, 2016 at 8:24 AM

  2. A pretty pattern of paired Pflugerville purples.


    October 16, 2016 at 8:34 AM

    • You’ll have to forgive most Americans, including the residents of that town, for not pronouncing the P at the beginning of Pflugerville.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 16, 2016 at 8:59 PM

  3. Have a fun trip!!

    • Thanks. We’re in El Paso at the western tip of Texas.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 16, 2016 at 6:54 PM

      • Hope you’ve been enjoying the borderlands! Some spectacular scenery in the area I believe 🙂

        • That first day was solely a travel day: 900 km to get to the end of Texas. Only on the next day in New Mexico did I begin to take any pictures. In Arizona and Utah things got good, pictorially speaking, with Zion National Park being the highlight.

          Steve Schwartzman

          October 23, 2016 at 11:36 PM

          • I so often forget just how much of a distance it is just from one side of a state to the other!!! Looking forward to seeing what you captured 🙂

            • Texas is an extreme, but all of the western states are large. Today we entered California, the next largest state after Texas.

              I didn’t think I took a lot of pictures today, but when I downloaded them just now I discovered I’d taken about 350.

              Steve Schwartzman

              October 25, 2016 at 10:36 PM

              • Ooh, are you going cross country or up the coast? Really

              • Oops, pressed send prematurely!

                Anyway, yes, I really want to visit a fellow blogger, Laura Macky, in San Francisco someday! Love her work and the great places she visits. There’s a site not far from her where the monarch butterflies go to overwinter!

                I sometimes think I’ve hardly taken anything on a day out and am pleasantly surprised by the images! Other times I wish I hadn’t taken so many as I never get them all processed 😉

                • Speaking of San Francisco, we arrived in that metropolitan area about an hour ago. We’re not yet sure if this will mark the farthest extent of our trip. On the way back to Austin we’re planning to drive down the scenic Pacific coast highway, which we drove up almost three decades ago, and then head eastward for home. Before that, we’ll explore this area for at least a few days. Laura Macky is fortunate to have access to it all year round.

                  So you, too, have had the experience of getting surprised by the images you’ve made. I don’t mind taking a lot of pictures. It’s true that most never get seen, but I have many to choose from. The price of hard drives keeps going down as the capacity keeps going up.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  October 26, 2016 at 5:56 PM

                • Oh I bet that’s going to be a beautiful drive! Always strange revisiting a place you haven’t been in years. I love it when you find things have actually been looked after better but hate it when a place is suddenly THE tourist hotspot with none of its true original charm left. Yeah, I can sometimes be seen looking at screen saying “ooh I’d forgotten about that!” 😉 I must say I am dreadful at getting rid of anything I have taken! My external drives are mounting up now but as you say, the cost is coming down on them. I really hope to get over to the states next year but may only have time and funds to do New York and close by. My brother is living over there for a couple of years expanding his business 🙂 I had wanted to do Christmas but Robin reckons the weather would be too extreme even for me 😉

                • Christmas in New York always conveys a special excitement, or at least it did in my childhood. I haven’t lived there in over 40 years, so I can’t vouch for current conditions.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  October 26, 2016 at 8:44 PM

                • I would just like to have snow and drink eggnog 😀

                • We bought some coconut milk eggnog the other day but haven’t tried it yet.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  October 29, 2016 at 11:01 PM

                • Did you brave it yet? I like coconut milk but it’s quite sweet so I wonder if it would make the drink just a tad too sickly?!?

                • As a matter of fact I finished it just yesterday. I found it sweet and rich. Here’s the product:


                  Steve Schwartzman

                  November 7, 2016 at 7:24 AM

                • Thanks Steve. I’m going to have to look at our “free from” food products here to see if any of the UK makes do anything similar! Doesn’t look like So Delicious is available here but there are lots of similar companies. I’m actually ok with lactose but quite a few people with Crohn’s or Colitis aren’t so it would be a fun alternative 🙂

                  Sarah Longes - Mirador Design

                  November 12, 2016 at 6:58 PM

                • We bought it in Berkeley (California) and ended up carrying it most of the way back to Texas before I finally finished it. Good luck finding something similar over there.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  November 12, 2016 at 10:19 PM

                • I do hope you make it here someday. The area is now home to more than 7 million people.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  October 26, 2016 at 6:00 PM

                • Dear lord!!! That’s a lot of people. I know it’s a big place but it’s still a LOT of people. I might have to keep to the outskirts 😉

                • Yes, it’s one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country. We noticed a big increase in traffic as we got closer. We’re staying with a niece of Eve in one of the outer communities, but it’s still fully developed.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  October 26, 2016 at 8:43 PM

                • I wouldn’t mind heading in to the town just to go on one of the trams down that hill!!!

                • A lot of tourists ride the San Francisco trolley. We haven’t been in to San Francisco yet on this trip but we may go tomorrow because the weather forecast’s 90% chance of rain precludes enjoying nature.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  October 29, 2016 at 10:59 PM

                • I think 90% of people on double decker buses in London are tourists too, 100% of people on the top of open-top double decker buses in London are DEFINITELY tourists 😉 I rather like trams. The ones in Manchester are totally wheelchair friendly which makes them my ideal form of public transport! The tram system in Amsterdam has always been a favourite of mine. It just works so incredibly well 🙂 I would like to do some more historic trams too though, even if they aren’t quite so wheelchair friendly! There’s something nostalgic about them like going on steam train 🙂

                • When I was a kid there were still double-decker buses on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, and they were part of the city system, not private tour buses.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  November 7, 2016 at 12:18 AM

                • We have a city system for all kinds of buses run by TFL (transport for London) and there are also loads of tourist buses too! Open top double deckers are very popular.

                  Sarah Longes - Mirador Design

                  November 12, 2016 at 6:54 PM

                • Yes, we rode some of those when we visited London two decades ago.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  November 12, 2016 at 10:17 PM

  4. Very attractive flower heads but I am puzzled by what look like ‘thorns’ protruding from them. Are they sharp thorns or just bracts?


    October 17, 2016 at 12:19 PM

    • Those are the plant’s linear leaves. They’re somewhat stiff and have tapering tips that can feel sharp to the touch.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 17, 2016 at 11:07 PM

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