Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

California and Texas

with 10 comments

With about 39 million people, California is the most populous state in the United States. Texas comes in second with around 28 million people. Both are still strongly growing.

When it comes to physical size, the order is reversed. Texas is the nation’s second largest state, covering almost 268,600 square miles, while California ranks third at close to 163,700 square miles. Alaska is larger than those two combined, with an area of some 663,000 square miles, but that enormous—and enormously cold—state claims only 740,000 inhabitants, or roughly 230,000 less than the city of Austin.

I’ve never set foot in Alaska, and most of the pictures on this blog have been from Texas, so here come another two photographs from California. The first shows Pacific Ocean waves breaking at Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve on November 4th last year.


Click for larger size.

A nearby look in a different direction revealed waves of sand.


Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 1, 2017 at 4:51 AM

10 Responses

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  1. The photo of the breaking waves is awe-inspiring. The size of the waves would be impressive enough, but the amount of sand mixed into the water gives an even better indication of their power. The already-broken waves on the right look like whipped cream.

    I’d love to walk in those sand dunes. They remind me of the “waves” built into the top of the mission church wall at Goliad. It was interesting to read the cautionary notes in your linked article about walking the beach, and to be reminded again about the importance of scientific names. When I read that evening beach primrose could be found there, I wondered if it was the same as our evening beach primrose. Not at all. California’s is Camissoniopsis cheiranthifolia. We have Oenothera drummondii.


    February 1, 2017 at 5:51 AM

    • I can see why this reminded you of the stylized waves at the top of the mission wall in Goliad. I’ve been to Goliad but had forgotten those masonry waves. The real ones in Californa were large and strong enough that I wouldn’t have ventured out in them, even if my intention in going to the beach had been to swim rather than take pictures. In one place the waves rolled in pretty far onto the beach and created a pond several inches deep. The pond itself and the froth at its edges became the stuff of photographs.

      As for names, Camissoniopsis means ‘looks like Camissonia,’ which I see is another yellow-flowered genus in the evening primrose family. I read that one common name for Camissonia is sundrop(s), which also happens to be a common name for the Calylophus berlandieri that grows in central Texas.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 1, 2017 at 7:53 AM

      • If what I saw today is any indication, those sundrops may be shining a little earlier than usual. I made a trip down to Lake Jackson, and from here to there, all along the roadsides and ditches, the crow poison ( Nothoscordum bivalve) was abundant. I read that it’s “supposed” to begin blooming in March, but no one’s told the plant. I saw it last year, but didn’t pay much attention to it, and ended up missing some other early spring flowers. Not this year.


        February 1, 2017 at 10:19 PM

        • I’m not surprised that you’ve already seen some crow poison (though I haven’t yet), especially given the mild winter Texas has had. That species blooms in the spring, as you pointed out, but goes through a substantial second blooming season in the fall. Outside of those two main periods, I’ve seen it be opportunistic at other times of the year.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 2, 2017 at 6:24 AM

  2. That wave breaking~wow! I seldom saw ones churning with so much energy. And sand. I like how you segued away to waves of sand.


    March 2, 2017 at 3:38 PM

  3. Steve, I love that top photo and its just the photo I’ve been looking for. Would you permit me to team it up with a poem that I also love in a reblog-post. I already have permission to reblog the poem along with your photo, are you also ok for me to use the photo with the poem? (the poem is at: https://deuxiemepeau.blog/2017/07/30/8525/


    November 4, 2018 at 4:58 PM

  4. […] *Click on photo to enlarge* Pacific Ocean waves breaking at Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve. Photo by Steve Schwartzman — from: California and Texas […]

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