Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Getting back to taking local pictures

with 35 comments

From July 16th through August 16th I took not a single nature photograph. I hadn’t planned a pause, that’s just what happened. On August 17th I felt the urge to take pictures again, so I did, going out onto the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin. The first thing that caught my attention was this gloriously backlit partridge pea flower (Chamaecrista fasciculata). The red tints at the base of the petals are normal for this species.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 23, 2018 at 4:44 AM

35 Responses

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  1. the colors are beautiful here


    August 23, 2018 at 7:02 AM

  2. Nature hiatus…is that a flower species?

    Jim R

    August 23, 2018 at 7:50 AM

    • Good question. It was for me, if not for anyone else. And it was even native. Now it’s the return of the native, as hardy me heads back out into the heat.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 23, 2018 at 7:56 AM

      • I forgot about the heat issue down there. I would stay indoors and do other things, too. Stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, a hat, and 😎 sunglasses.

        Jim R

        August 23, 2018 at 8:05 AM

        • We happen to be in a drought and a heat wave here now, with afternoon temperatures each day this week as high as 105°. I always go out photographing with high-SPF sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and something to drink.

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 23, 2018 at 8:20 AM

  3. It’s a great color, and both the common, and the formal name are pretty fun to say out loud.

    Robert Parker

    August 23, 2018 at 8:59 AM

    • If you started saying those names out loud with people near you, I wonder what reaction you’d get from them.

      The first part of the Greek genus name is the same as in chamomile and means ‘on the earth.’

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 23, 2018 at 9:20 AM

  4. The partridge pea is found here as well. I’ve not seen a partridge availing itself of the peas though.

    Steve Gingold

    August 23, 2018 at 3:48 PM

  5. […] On August 17th on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin I photographed some snow-on-the-prairie (Euphorbia bicolor) just a few feet from the partridge pea you saw here last time. […]

  6. Beautiful details on the flower and the leaves, Steve. I wonder how often one would see a partridge in a pea tree, or under it?


    August 24, 2018 at 7:04 AM

    • Probably not as often as one would see that two turtles dove.

      I’m glad you like the details in the flower and leaves. Partridge pea flowers are small yet vibrant.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 24, 2018 at 10:23 AM

  7. Speaking of a hiatus, I’ve missed a good bit because of my own heat-related hiatus. It’s been hard to fit both work and photography into the short number of bearable hours per day. This was the year I wanted to find and photograph beauty berry blossoms, but I saw my first ripening berries a couple of weekends ago, and thought, “Whoops!” The season got away from me again.

    In like manner, I’d forgotten how pretty these flowers are. This certainly is the time to look for them. I especially like the inclusion of the typically pea-like leaves in this photo, and the way you’ve placed the red center in the center of the photo.


    August 24, 2018 at 7:12 AM

    • We’ve heard about billable hours with lawyers, and now bearable hours with varnishers and nature photographers in Texas.

      For beautyberry blossoms I you’d probably have to have gone out no later than May, so yes, the season got away from you. That’s happened to me many times. As much as we’d like to be everywhere at once, reality somehow has other plans. Now that beautyberry fruits are maturing, you can aim to get pictures of their luscious color.

      I don’t think I can take much credit for including the leaflets. I wanted the flower, obviously, and I also wanted to keep the sharply pointy yellow and green elements on the left side in focus. The leaflets came along for the ride and the backlighting nicely outlined their contours and veins.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 24, 2018 at 11:46 AM

  8. I’m really pleased it caught your attention .. lovely flower, super image


    August 26, 2018 at 2:51 AM

    • Though it’s a common wildflower here at this time of year, it’s small and needs a close look—which I gave it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 26, 2018 at 7:50 AM

  9. These photos (closeups of native flowers) are my favorites.

    Judy Baumann

    August 26, 2018 at 9:07 AM

    • The focus on native wildflowers was the reason for this blog and why I called it Portraits of Wildflowers. People typically are familiar with a few of them but don’t realize how many hundreds of others grow in our area. For variety I expanded the blog into other realms of nature, especially as I picked up the pace of travel. Still, the core of the blog remains the native wildflowers, of which this is the fourth in the last week: sunflower, partridge pea, snow-on-the-prairie, and now delta arrowhead. That said, on the one-year anniversary of the trip to Alberta and Montana I’ll be showing some more views from there.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 26, 2018 at 11:10 AM

  10. The pause no doubt was good for refilling the well. The composition of this photo is so good, and I love the backlit effect you achieved.


    September 8, 2018 at 11:52 AM

    • Now that I’ve resumed, I’m still going into nature but at a slower rate than before: once a week, on average. Maybe I’ll pick up the pace after the weather begins cooling down a little in a month or so. We’ve had a little rain this week, which I hope will bring on some good fall wildflowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 8, 2018 at 11:57 AM

      • I hope so. We’re enjoying LOTS of rain, and the back yard is a nice swimming hole for my little dog. My button bush is so very happy, with water right up to its chin.


        September 8, 2018 at 12:02 PM

        • Ah, buttonbush, one of the plants we share. Just yesterday I photographed some reddening seed cores of one.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 8, 2018 at 12:08 PM

          • Wonderful. Iook forward to seeing it.


            September 8, 2018 at 12:11 PM

            • Maybe. I wasn’t thrilled with what I got. I was about to take more and presumably better pictures but some drops of rain began coming down and I felt I’d better stop and walk back to where I’d parked. I may return on Monday.

              Steve Schwartzman

              September 8, 2018 at 12:26 PM

              • Oh, changing conditions can really confound.


                September 13, 2018 at 8:28 AM

                • Yes, and I always have to protect my camera equipment. We’ve been having intermittent rain, with perhaps some more today again, so I still haven’t been back to that place the way I’d hoped to.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  September 13, 2018 at 8:30 AM

                • We’re starting to dry out after the heavy rains we had a week or two ago. Down to mud finally, in time for the thunderstorms predicted in a couple of days. Makes the garden happy, and my muddy little dog.


                  September 13, 2018 at 8:44 AM

                • That’s why I have thigh-high rubber boots. I was wearing them when I walked in the creek to photograph the buttonbush.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  September 13, 2018 at 9:06 AM

                • Oh yes I had a pair of those. A treat to get into!


                  September 14, 2018 at 8:39 AM

                • One downside is that it can be hard to get a stable foothold while wearing them. In addition, at least once I suffered a leak in one. Still, they normally keep me dry and let me go out into creeks for pictures I couldn’t otherwise take.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  September 14, 2018 at 9:04 AM

                • Mine were chest waders, and I wore them at work. I loved that job very much but what you said about footing is so true. We had to take great care not to slip as the water we were on the edge of was very deep.


                  September 15, 2018 at 9:21 AM

                • To make the precariousness even more consequential, I’m often balancing not just myself but my camera bag as well.

                  I also have a pair of chest waders, though I’ve worn them only a couple of times.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  September 15, 2018 at 9:27 AM

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