Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 31 comments

A few weeks ago you got a close look at the inflorescence of snow-on-the-prairie. Now you’re getting a look at its sister species, snow-on-the-mountain (Euphorbia marginata). On September 2nd I’d been driving home after photographing at two other locations in northwest Austin when I spotted a few of these familiar plants and decided to stop. Once I got close, I saw that a wasp was busy working the flowers. Like some other insects I’ve seen on flowers, this one kept moving pretty quickly, so I used a high shutter speed, 1/800 of a second, to keep from ending up with a blurred image of the wasp.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 14, 2018 at 4:44 AM

31 Responses

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  1. That’s very interesting Steve. I searched on my blog and found a variegated Euphorbia I posted about last year, from Dunedin Botanic Garden but its a lemon colour and the species is characias with a cultivar name of Tasmanian Tiger. Your plant is gorgeous and its amazing that its just growing wild! I’m not a great Euphorbia fan but I’d happily have both of these in my garden!


    September 14, 2018 at 4:55 AM

  2. You did very well with this capture!


    September 14, 2018 at 10:00 AM

    • I don’t mind saying so myself. Some of the other pictures weren’t good, but all it takes is one.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 14, 2018 at 11:49 AM

      • The advantages of digital photography: one or two of the many we take will come out ok.


        September 14, 2018 at 11:52 AM

        • Right. I couldn’t have afforded to take nearly as many pictures when I had to pay for film and developing.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 14, 2018 at 11:55 AM

  3. Some day, it’s going to stop raining and I’ll get to go searching for such wonders, too! I tend to shy away from wasps, but their details are fascinating. I especially like the way the background color in this photo complements the color of the wasp.


    September 14, 2018 at 10:27 AM

    • How different your current wish for an end to the rain is from what people there wanted not so long ago.

      You may have heard me say that my attitude towards wasps and bees is that I let them go about their work and they let me go about mine. Only rarely have I felt a need to be careful around them.

      It’s good of you to notice the two-toned brown-and-green nature of the picture. I hadn’t stopped to analyze it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 14, 2018 at 11:54 AM

  4. Great shot Steve !!

    Bernie Kasper

    September 14, 2018 at 4:00 PM

  5. Very nice image!


    September 14, 2018 at 8:55 PM

  6. Fabulous details captured!!


    September 14, 2018 at 9:08 PM

  7. Nice work, Steve. In the heat of the sun wasps are constantly in motion and a real challenge to capture. I find the thread-waisted wasps fascinating. It’s hard to imagine anything that delicate surviving flight.The only wasps I’ve had a problem with are yellow jackets. The rest and I co-exist pretty well…outside the house.

    Steve Gingold

    September 15, 2018 at 4:12 AM

    • I’m not surprised that you’ve had to contend with wasps’ quick motions. It makes sense that heat correlates with their movements, though I can’t say I ever thought about it.

      I learned recently that bees evolved from wasps that gave up eating meat and switched to flowers. Today’s picture makes clear that at least certain kinds wasps have added the new food source without giving up the old.

      And like you, I don’t practice coexistence with them in the house.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 15, 2018 at 7:13 AM

  8. So . . . where is the mountain?
    tee hee


    September 15, 2018 at 8:46 AM

  9. Insects are fascinating creatures when you get up close and personal… this is a wonderful shot.


    September 17, 2018 at 10:04 AM

    • Thanks. Because my emphasis is on native plants, I often find insects and spiders on my subjects. Some critters hold still, while others move so much they’re hard to photograph. Wasps are generally in that second group, so I was pleased to get a good picture this time.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 17, 2018 at 11:39 AM

  10. Great shot … 🙂


    September 20, 2018 at 3:33 AM

  11. Hahha, good one. I’ve been scratching my head, trying to think whether I knew of a plant called wasp on the mountain. Finally I had a chance to read the post and was delighted to see this fine fellow. Our wasps look different.


    October 15, 2018 at 2:03 PM

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