Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Meanwhile, from back in Austin, here’s some yellow.

with 28 comments

Here’s some flowering goldenrod (Solidago spp.) on Morado Circle in northwest Austin on September 26th. The nearest flower heads are in focus but in the image as a whole I’ve emphasized color over sharpness, abetted by a rather wide aperture of f/5.6. If that number doesn’t sing to you, as the French say, then listen to the flowers’ chanson instead.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 5, 2017 at 4:54 AM

28 Responses

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  1. Ah, the Nebraska State flower. She’s a beauty!


    October 5, 2017 at 6:35 AM

    • Any state that has goldenrod as its official flower is all right by me. Our one time to visit Nebraska was this past May, so no goldenrod flowers were out yet for us to appreciate.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 5, 2017 at 6:56 AM

      • We have a lot of it here in Oklahoma. I look forward to it every summer/autumn.


        October 5, 2017 at 6:57 AM

        • Glad to hear you have a lot of it up there. Like you, I look forward to its yellow-orange at this time of year. The biggest stands are on the prairie side of Austin, so I’m happy whenever some goldenrod insists on springing up in my hilly part of town

          Steve Schwartzman

          October 5, 2017 at 7:03 AM

    • I should add that I’m relieved whenever I learn a state has chosen a native as its official flower. When officials in Texas had to choose, some people pushed for cotton, which was important agriculturally but obviously was alien to this part of the world.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 5, 2017 at 7:09 AM

  2. Very cheerful yellow!


    October 5, 2017 at 6:52 AM

  3. Great composition, good use of the aperture. I like the picture a lot.


    October 5, 2017 at 6:55 AM

  4. So, so beautiful — and dependable, too. I’ve not found any large stands yet, but it’s popping up everywhere. This year, I’ve been able to distinguish between two species, and there may in fact be three in this area. I’m sure of common goldenrod (S. canadensis) and seaside goldenrod (S. sempervirens). There may be some giant goldenrod (S. gigantea) over at Armand Bayou and NASA, too, but I need to ask someone who’s more knowledgable about that.

    No matter the species, it certainly does glow. Bright as it is, one of its chansons might be “Here Comes The Sun.”


    October 5, 2017 at 8:33 AM

    • That’s an excellent chanson for this goldenrod. Speaking of songs, I just discovered that in 1902 Edward MacDowell wrote the words and music for a song he named “To the Goldenrod”:


      Like you, I haven’t yet come across any large stands of goldenrod this season. That’s because I haven’t gone over to the prairie side of Austin in the three weeks since we returned from Alberta. I hope you confirm your Solidago gigantea, a species I didn’t even know existed till now.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 5, 2017 at 9:14 AM

  5. Yes, “Here comes the sun” for sure. We have lots of it here too, with many different species. It is glorious blooming in concert with asters which are also abundant here.


    October 5, 2017 at 8:47 AM

    • Agreed: asters and goldenrod go well together. Can we look forward to a painting from you of that combination?

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 5, 2017 at 9:16 AM

      • More than likely. Right now I’ve got a large landscape on my easel, and have been very busy helping weave together a network of artists in my town. It is amazing how many of us. Not everyone wants to play together, but others are quite willing and together we are building quite a community. New exhibit opportunities are beginning to materialize. It is all rather exciting.


        October 9, 2017 at 8:37 AM

  6. A lovely burst of yellow warmth which is echoed by our kowhai at this time of year. https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2017/10/06/friday-flowers-30/comment-page-1/#comment-18314


    October 6, 2017 at 6:26 AM

    • I’d heard of the kowhai but now I know what its flowers look like. Because both of our visits to NZ were in February, we missed flowers from other times of the year, especially spring.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 6, 2017 at 7:00 AM

  7. And another ‘echo’ which made me smile is the rhyme of vair and hair; obviously a popular combination in the early 1900s. https://youtu.be/aydL8WfZ56c Jessie Mackay, a New Zealand poet, used it, too. Until this week I didn’t know the word vair. Now I have heard it twice in one week.


    October 6, 2017 at 6:29 AM

    • Isn’t that the way of it? Something unfamiliar turns up two or even more times in a short period. My father used to say that coincidences come in threes.

      One consequence of having studied so much French in my early days is that I’ve known the word vair for most of my life. These may be the first instances I’ve come across of its use in English. I see now that the word is included in some English dictionaries:


      From what I see at


      the word seems still alive in the British tradition, while in American English it’s primarily a historical term.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 6, 2017 at 7:15 AM

      • Very interesting. The word vair may be alive in the British tradition, but I would say it is on the ‘endangered’ list.


        October 6, 2017 at 8:05 AM

        • Along with the verbs croon and spoon that songwriters used to find handy rhymes for moon and June.

          Steve Schwartzman

          October 6, 2017 at 8:12 AM

  8. Beautiful goldenrod. One of my favorite flowers!

    Lavinia Ross

    October 9, 2017 at 2:05 PM

    • Goldenrod has been flowering here for several weeks, though I’ve yet to see any really good stands of it. Maybe I should go out looking.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 9, 2017 at 2:16 PM

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