Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 20 comments

Even if you’ve been coming to this website for only a while you’ve probably noticed that I’m fond of playing off a subject of one color against a background of another. (In fact it’s #5 in About My Techniques.) With that in mind, here from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on September 26th are two takes on a combination of wildflowers you’ve seen separately in the last two posts: showy palafoxia, Palafoxia hookeriana, and prairie goldenrod, Solidago nemoralis.

And in a different sort of playoff that’s minus the goldenrod, below you’ll find a pair of showy palafoxia seed heads in front of some fresh flower heads. The spider’s white lair is a bonus.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 10, 2018 at 4:44 AM

20 Responses

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  1. The colour combination is awesome, Steve. Awesome captures! Thanks for the reminder about your techniques, a great inspiration for others!


    October 10, 2018 at 5:35 AM

    • So many combinations of species and colors are possible, enough to keep us busy for a lifetime. Let’s revel in the possibilities and make some of them actualities.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 10, 2018 at 6:31 AM

  2. You’re really just a florist at heart (or art). 😀


    October 10, 2018 at 7:41 AM

    • You’ve given florist a new sense. You’ve also made me realize that heart could be resegmented as he art—even if thou art is the correct grammatical form.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 10, 2018 at 8:22 AM

  3. This is a wonderful pairing, for sure.


    October 10, 2018 at 9:39 AM

    • It was a pairing I couldn’t pass up once I saw it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 10, 2018 at 10:07 AM

      • And did you choose a wine?


        October 11, 2018 at 10:26 AM

        • I’m afraid that kind of pairing is outside my competence.

          Steve Schwartzman

          October 11, 2018 at 10:28 AM

          • This is better spoken than written, but still:
            Question: “What’s the most common wine in New York?”
            Answer: “I wanna go to Miami!”


            October 11, 2018 at 9:27 PM

            • Well said. Sometimes when I’ve heard people in southern Florida interviewed on television I’ve detected a New York City (and vicinity) accent.

              Some Americans still sound the h in our curiously spelled wh, which evolved in reverse and is still pronounced hw if it’s pronounced at all. I grew up in an area where hw has long since been simplified to w.

              Steve Schwartzman

              October 12, 2018 at 6:34 AM

  4. Awesome advice and pics I do that myself quite a bit Steve !!

    Bernie Kasper

    October 10, 2018 at 5:06 PM

    • I think a lot of photographers fall into doing the things I described. I made the list by observing my own photographs and analyzing what I’d been doing.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 10, 2018 at 6:02 PM

  5. Beautiful!


    October 11, 2018 at 7:28 PM

  6. It really is hard to improve on purple and gold, and this is one of the more unusual combinations I’ve seen. When I was in Nacogdoches, there wasn’t much to layer the goldenrod with, other than more goldenrod. I gave it a try, and whatever else you can say about it, the photo certainly is yellow.

    I like the neat trick in your second photo: not two layers, but three.


    October 11, 2018 at 9:45 PM

    • Showy palafoxia isn’t quite native in Travis County, so the closest I usually come to this combination is small palafoxia against something yellow in the background.

      I was looking at some of my years-old nature photographs yesterday and saw some yellow-on-yellow ones with goldenrod and Maximilian sunflowers. In a pinch, goldenrod against more goldenrod can be good too, as you found.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 12, 2018 at 6:41 AM

  7. Purple and yellow were my colleague’s (who grew rhododendrons) favorite combination of colors. There was plenty of purple, but not many yellow rhododendrons. He did not think too much of my favorite white flowers, although we had to grow them for our clients.


    October 11, 2018 at 10:24 PM

    • I’m fond of color combinations in general, regardless of what the colors are. Even combinations of variations of the same color can be good, as for example goldenrod and Maximilian sunflowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 12, 2018 at 7:55 AM

  8. I’m a huge fan of your techniques 🙂 … that last shot is super Steve!


    October 17, 2018 at 6:58 PM

    • I appreciate your being the first to single out the last shot, and your recognition of the photo techniques. May they be of use.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 17, 2018 at 7:57 PM

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