Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 29 comments

Not many people know that on this date in 1727 New England experienced an earthquake. You can learn about it in “The Earthquake of 1727” and “The Great 1727 Earthquake and the Wrath of God.” Not having any wrathful photos of New England, I’ve illustrated today’s post with a colorful scene I documented along U.S. 1 near Whiting, Maine, on June 8th. Margaret Scheid of the National Park Service says she’s 95% confident the red plants are blueberries.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 29, 2018 at 4:50 AM

29 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Simply beautiful! And I would never have guess those are blueberries!


    October 29, 2018 at 8:14 AM

    • For some reason I had an inkling the red plants might be blueberries. Whatever they were, the photographer in me was fascinated by the swathe of color and the way it contrasted with the sky and clouds.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 29, 2018 at 8:18 AM

      • I couldn’t agree more. I often feel that way about some of the groupings of red grasses and plants here, as they wither and die this time of year. The cotton fields will soon provide a contrast of white with blue sky.


        October 29, 2018 at 10:17 AM

  2. I don’t think those blueberries would have been too shaken by an earthquake.


    October 29, 2018 at 8:19 AM

    • Probably not. But if they were, New Englanders could’ve made a blueberry milkshake.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 29, 2018 at 8:22 AM

      • MMMMMmmmmm, good thinking. They are so beautiful at this time of year, aren’t they? It is funny about earthquakes. People get complacent about them if they don’t live in, say, California, but I understand that there are faults all over the place.


        October 29, 2018 at 8:33 AM

        • Well, the fact is we all have our faults. I guess it’s best not to get too shaken up about it.

          Punning aside, and to your point: we watched a documentary on television last week about the strong earthquakes centered in New Madrid, Missouri, in 1811–12. Fortunately not a lot of people lived in the area then. People today are surprised to hear there was a big earthquake in Missouri, which isn’t known as a hotbed for such things, just as New England isn’t.

          Steve Schwartzman

          October 29, 2018 at 8:41 AM

  3. I had no idea blueberries grew like that, on what appears to be a sand dune, or sandy hillside anyway. I’ve only seen them growing in the woods. Very attractive in any case.

    Robert Parker

    October 29, 2018 at 9:49 AM

    • I’m certainly not familiar with how blueberries grow, either. This site didn’t seem to be a dune, just a sandy hillside. The fact that the plants were on a slope made it easier to get all of them in focus than if the ground had been level. The hill also let me exclude all the background and make a more-abstract photograph.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 29, 2018 at 3:01 PM

  4. I have lived in California all my life, and have never experienced even a moderate earthquake. I left Los Gatos less than two hours prior to the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989, and I left Beverly Hills the night before the Northridge Earthquake in 1994. The most significant earthquakes I can remember were in the 5 range. There were a series of them back when I was in the third grade. I believe they were in Gilroy, Morgan Hill and Hollister. There was another in Saratoga when I was in high school right near the epicenter. They were fun, but not very damaging.


    October 29, 2018 at 1:06 PM

    • Then you’re fortunate to have missed being in a serious quake. May your good luck hold. The photographer Ansel Adams had his nose broken as a baby in the big San Francisco earthquake.

      Every time I see a reference to Gilroy I think about garlic.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 29, 2018 at 3:05 PM

      • Oh yes, my great grandfather remembers that. They were in kindergarten together. and were in the second grade or so when it happened.


        October 29, 2018 at 4:41 PM

  5. My first earthquake was the 1968 Illinois quake, which was on the New Madrid fault. I was living in Iowa at the time, and had the pleasure of watching a set of glassware “walk” off a shelf. After that, I didn’t experience another one until I moved to California. The most significant (although not particularly damaging) was remarkable because of the wave it set up. I watched the wave move through the ground, raising and lowering floor tiles just like an ocean wave. It was so fascinating I forgot to be scared.

    I never would have guessed blueberries for the photo. I’m so accustomed to picking them at farms, I think of them as trellised, but of course wild ones would be a different matter. The colors are wonderful. They remind me of the mix of golden grasses and red sumac I saw on the Konza prairie, and two plants — yellow and magenta — I found down at Brazoria this weekend. I have no idea what either plant is, but there were a lot of them.


    October 29, 2018 at 10:19 PM

    • Wow, a living connection to the New Madrid fault. How appropriate.

      In California you did well by forgetting to be scared. It’s amazing that you got to see floor tiles rising and falling in a wave. I wonder if physics teachers ever show their students films of that sort of phenomenon. I assume such films exist, given all the people who have been in earthquakes, especially in recent years when everyone has a phone camera.

      We both seem fascinated by combinations of colors in nature. And speaking of the Konza Prairie, red plants reminiscent of the ones in this post appear in the seventh photograph of your post at


      Steve Schwartzman

      October 30, 2018 at 7:39 AM

  6. Gorgeous, Steve. I would have never guessed blueberries. This landscape looks like California’s ice plant. Great shot. 😁

    Jane Lurie

    October 30, 2018 at 7:10 AM

    • Thanks, Jane. Now that you mention those ice plants, I can see why this picture would remind you of them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 30, 2018 at 7:41 AM

  7. Blueberry plants don’t usually turn bright red until the fall. On an exposed slope I wouldn’t think the leaves would last until the following spring. Maybe a different species from Maritime Canada?


    November 3, 2018 at 10:29 AM

    • I pondered that too, but as I was a stranger in a strange land in Maine, I relied on the suggestion of someone local who knows about such things. You note that red leaves might not usually last until the following spring, but here in Texas I’ve seen enough exceptions to “usually” that I wouldn’t want to rule out the possibility. In any case, my primacy will always be as a photographer, and whatever the plants were, the scene grabbed my attention.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 3, 2018 at 10:41 AM

  8. Wonderful colours Steve … I would never have guessed they were blueberries


    November 5, 2018 at 11:57 AM

    • We’re so used to the color of the fruit we don’t think about (or even know about) the color of the foliage.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 5, 2018 at 12:00 PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: