Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for June 4th, 2018

Seven years

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Scientists tell us that over a period of seven years every cell in our body gets replaced. Not so with the “cells,” i.e. posts, in Portraits of Wildflowers, all of which are still here for your delectation. While a few of you have seen the post that started everything off on June 4, 2011, many of you have not, so here’s a copy of that first entry, which I entitled “Another Beginning.”

A basket-flower, Centaurea americana

In my “About This Column” page I noted that everything we create must have a beginning. The photograph shown here marked the beginning of what I think of as a new approach to nature photography for me. The date was May 3, 2000, and the place was Round Rock, a rapidly growing city north of Austin. I was in a field on one side of a cul-de-sac, a bit of prairie that members of the Native Plant Society of Texas had taught me was a good place to see lots of native species. That day I’d gone there alone so I could take my time photographing (other people understandably get impatient if I spend fifteen minutes or half an hour in the same spot, as I often do when I take pictures).

I was pleased to find a colony of basket-flowers, Centaurea americana, growing in the field, but they weren’t far from the road that had brought me there (which has since been expanded to a superhighway). In order to keep the road and the apartments across the way from ruining my picture, I leaned down so that my eyes would be closer to the level of the flowers. Not good enough: I could still see distracting things in the background. I ended up lying flat on the ground—a skin-threatening thing to do in Texas—and looking up at a single basket-flower so I could isolate it against the sky. The result was the picture you see here, which has become my best-known photograph. A view from this angle makes it clear why Anglo settlers called this a basket-flower.

(Here is information about Centaurea americana, including a map showing where the species grows.)

© 2011, 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 4, 2018 at 4:40 AM

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