Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Tooting your own horn

with 91 comments

A few days ago an e-mail went out announcing the results of the 2018 NPSoT photo contest. Below I’ve copied the parts of that message pertaining to me (toot toot). Some of the pictures (or variants) have appeared in my posts but others have not. You can click an image to enlarge it quite a bit.


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Photo contest winners from 2018

By Bill Hopkins
Photo contest winners from all 12 Level III Ecoregions in Texas. Winners were chosen by popular vote and first announced at the 2018 Fall Symposium in San Antonio.


Arizona/New Mexico Mountains Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Fallugia paradoxa, Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Central Texas Great Plains Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Castilleja purpurea var. purpurea, US 84 near Coleman

Cross Timbers Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, North of Lampasas, Erythronium albidum

High Plains Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Penstemon buckleyi, Monahans Sandhills State Park

Coast Prairies and Marshes Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Gaillardia pulchella, Coreopsis spp., Galveston

East Central Plains Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Argemone albiflora, Bastrop State Park

Southwestern Tablelands Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Astragalus racemosus, Caprock Canyons State Park

Western Gulf Coastal Plain Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Osmunda cinnamomea, Big Thicket

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 10, 2019 at 4:16 AM

91 Responses

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  1. Congratulations !


    February 10, 2019 at 4:44 AM

  2. Richly deserved! Toot away!!!

    M L Moll

    February 10, 2019 at 5:03 AM

  3. Well done, Steve and richly deserved.


    February 10, 2019 at 5:18 AM

  4. Great stuff! Congratulations, Steve!

    Sheila Creighton

    February 10, 2019 at 6:00 AM

  5. wow, well deserved, steve. huge congrats!


    February 10, 2019 at 6:31 AM

  6. Toot and hoot away, my friend! You submitted some spectacular images! I’m curious, how many photos were you allowed to enter and was it a long process to go through? I’ve found over the years that some contests make the process quite easy, while others I no longer submit images to due to the simple fact it’s just too time consuming.


    February 10, 2019 at 6:48 AM

    • Thanks, Lori. Along the lines of your last sentence, here’s what I wrote to Linda (shoreacres) in an e-mail the other day: “The fact that there were so many regions as categories—a full dozen—plus having to figure out which region each photograph was taken in, and having to give the name of at least one native plant in each photo (which I approve of), as well as making sure no invasive non-natives got included (which I also approve of), probably dissuaded a lot of people from entering the contest.” As I remember it, members (and you had to be a NPSoT member) could submit one picture for each of the 12 ecoregions. There was one region I didn’t have anything worthy from but I submitted a picture for each of the other 11.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 10, 2019 at 7:21 AM

      • Goodness! That sounds like a lot of sorting and cataloging (which I’m sure you have done in advance to some measure), not to mention deciding which image shows the greatest merit. In a post where you might have several photos, I often cannot decide which image is most pleasing – they ALL appeal. Your work and eye for detail certainly paid off! Congratulations!!


        February 10, 2019 at 7:29 AM

        • My photo archive is arranged by the date and place where I took the pictures. In a few instances a place lay near the border between two of the contest’s ecoregions, and I spent more time than I wanted to in deciding which was the right region. More generally, as you said, I had to pick just one photograph from a region, when in some cases (the regions closest to home) I had literally thousands to choose from.

          To your other point: when I show more than one picture in a post, I generally make them quite different. There’s usually nothing to be gained, and much to be lost, by showing similar photographs at the same time. One exception would be if a photographer has a few similar images and is asking people which they think works the best.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 10, 2019 at 8:11 AM

  7. Congratulations, Steve!


    February 10, 2019 at 7:25 AM

  8. A lot of your time and expertise was involved in getting these shots, especially photos that garner sufficient attention from the public to win. According to the NPSoT website you took home the lion’s share of the awards…Congratulations Steve!


    February 10, 2019 at 7:32 AM

  9. Nicely done.

    Jim R

    February 10, 2019 at 7:34 AM

  10. I saw all of those photos in the NPSOT release.

    You *should *be tooting your own horn!

    Rana Sanders

    On Sun, Feb 10, 2019 at 4:18 AM Portraits of Wildflowers wrote:

    > Steve Schwartzman posted: ” A few days ago an e-mail went out announcing > the results of the 2018 NPSoT photo contest. Below I’ve copied the parts of > that message pertaining to me (toot toot). Some of the pictures (or > variants) have appeared in my post” >

    Rana Sanders

    February 10, 2019 at 8:05 AM

  11. Congratulations on all of your wins!! Greatly deserved honors. Jeri Porter

    On Sun, Feb 10, 2019 at 4:17 AM Portraits of Wildflowers wrote:

    > Steve Schwartzman posted: ” A few days ago an e-mail went out announcing > the results of the 2018 NPSoT photo contest. Below I’ve copied the parts of > that message pertaining to me (toot toot). Some of the pictures (or > variants) have appeared in my post” >

    Jeri Porter

    February 10, 2019 at 8:29 AM

  12. Sincerest congratulations! You really get around, don’t you! Beautiful photos!

    Agnes Plutino

    February 10, 2019 at 9:17 AM

    • Speaking of getting around, I was fortunate to have gotten at least some good pictures in 11 of the 12 Texas ecoregions.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 10, 2019 at 10:59 AM

  13. Wow! Great photos and worthy prize winners.

    Marcia Levy

    February 10, 2019 at 9:24 AM

  14. Hey that’s wonderful! Well done, you.


    February 10, 2019 at 10:04 AM

  15. Yea! Well-deserved congrats!! 🙂

    Robert Parker

    February 10, 2019 at 10:34 AM

  16. Your photos are prized by many!
    Thank you.

    Lynn Somerstein

    February 10, 2019 at 11:31 AM

  17. Congratulations, your devotion is rewarded.


    February 10, 2019 at 11:32 AM

  18. Congratulations Steve! All your wonderful photos and very worthy of prizes – glad you got the recognition. By the way, is the expression ‘blow your own trumpet’ used in the US?


    February 10, 2019 at 1:16 PM

    • Recognition’s nice, thanks.
      I’ve heard a bunch of variants over here, including blow your own horn, toot your own horn, blow your own trumpet, beat your own drum, ring your own bell.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 10, 2019 at 2:20 PM

  19. WOW congrats


    February 10, 2019 at 1:18 PM

  20. Brilliant! Congratulations.

  21. I’m glad to see you getting some very well deserved recognition! Your photos are always gorgeous!


    February 10, 2019 at 1:46 PM

  22. My congratulations Steve. Good work! 🙂

    H.J. for avian101

    February 10, 2019 at 2:34 PM

  23. You RULE, Steve! Congratulations from Ariana and Michael in Houston!


    February 10, 2019 at 3:03 PM

    • This morning we watched the 1979 movie “A Little Romance.” At one point the character of the mother, an American, is desolated to learn that she’s going to have to move from Paris (France) to Houston. I imagine you guys don’t share her feeling.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 10, 2019 at 4:15 PM

  24. Congratulations!!! It’s such a pleasure to see your wonderful photos first thing every morning. Thanks for a great start to the day. Jeanne Berkheiser

    Jean Berkheiser

    February 10, 2019 at 4:21 PM

    • You’re welcome. I’m happy to promote the pleasures of nature in Texas (and occasionally elsewhere).

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 10, 2019 at 4:26 PM

  25. Congrats! Nice enlarged views when clicking! Great that you got so many awards from so many areas in Tx! Makes me think of Beach Boys’ “I Get Around”, which you surely did! Not even counting your traveling outside Tx for loads of other pix you’ve published!


    February 10, 2019 at 6:11 PM

    • Thanks, Wanda. As you know, I don’t normally show such reduced versions of photographs as the ones included in the NPSoT email (which I copied), but fortunately that email already had all the links in place to connect to larger views. If you consider that I’ve been photographing native plants for 20 years now, it’s not so strange that I’ve gotten to other parts of the state, even if not nearly as many as I’d have like.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 10, 2019 at 10:15 PM

  26. Bravo, and well-earned!

    Susan Scheid

    February 10, 2019 at 7:48 PM

    • Grazie, Susanna. Your recent travelogues made that seem like an appropriate language in which to reply.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 10, 2019 at 10:18 PM

  27. Well done, Steve. Congratulations


    February 10, 2019 at 9:25 PM

  28. Of course I remember that white prickly poppy. It (or something very close to it) always has been one of my favorites among your photos. The penstemon almost looks like a botanical drawing, and the fern is delightful.
    As it happens, I saw my first Castilleja indivisa this afternoon. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to see some C. purpurea this year, as well. You’re lucky to have traveled so widely, and collected so many great images — and good that you had a chance to share them with the NPSoT members.


    February 10, 2019 at 9:43 PM

    • I made sure to submit a variant of the white prickly poppy photo that appeared here, as one of the contest’s rules was that a picture shouldn’t have been previously published. We can debate whether a blog post counts as publishing, but since I had decent variants, why not just use one?

      I’d never thought of the penstemon picture as being like a botanical drawing. Now that you bring it up, I can imagine it.

      Happy Castilleja indivisa to you. In the same strip of land where I photographed early bluebonnets this week, I once found an Indian paintbrush flowering in December. Good luck finding a purple specimen this year (and yellow and orange, if you haven’t come across those yet).

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 10, 2019 at 10:30 PM

  29. Congratulations! When I first looked through them, I though that these were all the winning pictures, and that they were all yours. I get it that there were others too. I do not remember most of these. Actually, now that I look again, these all look new to me.


    February 10, 2019 at 10:13 PM

  30. Congratulations, Steve!

    Lavinia Ross

    February 10, 2019 at 10:18 PM

  31. Toot away! 8 out of 11 entries? You have certainly earned that right.

    Things I have noticed on closer inspection:
    – The Penstemon buckleyi is so perfect it looks like an old botanical illustration.
    – The example of the Galveston Cemetery is a perfect way to cover hallowed ground in remembrance of those who were loved. Why doesn’t every cemetery do this?
    – The detail in the Osmunda cinnamomea is stunning! Anyone who did not click for a closer look totally missed what is really there.

    As always, your work is amazing, Steve.


    February 11, 2019 at 7:08 AM

    • Thanks for your vote of confidence, Lynda. I won’t deny that getting 8 wins in 11 submissions is good, but I’ll add that not many people entered photographs in the contest. Alas, for a few of the 12 regions I was the only entrant!

      You and Linda-with-an-i both saw the Penstemon buckleyi photo as resembling a botanical illustration. Similar names, similar view. In fact Linda was present when I took the Galveston cemetery picture a few years ago, and she’s gone back in following years to make her own views of it. Speaking of which, just a month into this blog in 2011 I did a post showing how great it is when wildflowers take over a cemetery:


      Unfortunately, when I returned a couple of times in the spring in later years I found the cemetery heavily mowed and devoid of wildflowers. The same thing happened with a cemetery to the southeast of Austin that had looked gorgeous covered with wildflowers when I first came across it. Call it the sad effects of global mowing.

      I’d forgotten about the fern portrait till I rediscovered it in my archive while searching for pictures from that coastal region. The best place I’ve ever been for fern pictures is New Zealand:


      Steve Schwartzman

      February 11, 2019 at 7:34 AM

      • I note that your photograph was a foreshadowing. I have seen, on closer inspection, the tractor in the background. Some just don’t get it. I didn’t read Linda’s comment, but I will go to it now. She and I often think along similar lines.


        February 11, 2019 at 7:54 AM

  32. Congrats – well deserved IMHO!!


    February 11, 2019 at 6:55 PM

  33. I definitely remember the Argemone albiflora. I think you showed it to me when I found the Argemone mexicana, which at that time I thought it was a big deal.


    February 12, 2019 at 8:47 PM

    • I’d still agree that the flowers of the Argemone species are a big deal. I look forward to seeing them each new spring.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 13, 2019 at 7:10 AM

      • They are a big deal, but the yellow ones are very common now. ‘Albiflora’ definitely doesn’t like it here as much and would be a nice find in the future. Congrats on all your winnings Steve!


        February 13, 2019 at 7:47 AM

        • Thanks, Maria. Our Argemones are reversed: in Austin we see plenty of the white flowers but the yellow don’t occur at all.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 13, 2019 at 7:59 AM

  34. What a wonderful validation of your photography, Steve. My heartfelt congratulations.


    February 12, 2019 at 11:41 PM

  35. That’s awesome … congratulations!


    February 13, 2019 at 9:50 AM

  36. Congratulations on the wins! You’ve certainly worked hard enough at your craft over the years. I’m glad to see you getting recognition for it.



    February 13, 2019 at 9:00 PM

  37. Recognition is always nice to receive and you received quite a bit with these. Well deserved and congratulations.

    Steve Gingold

    February 14, 2019 at 5:44 AM

    • Thanks, Steve. You know what it’s like to live out your passion, so recognition is welcome.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 14, 2019 at 7:20 AM

  38. Every reason to toot that horn! Well done 🙂👏


    February 16, 2019 at 12:47 PM

  39. via gmail notices, i read wp posts off line, follow the link to open that site, then wait until the next internet connection to see the images. Wow! You dominated the awards – and definitely deserve recognition! My favorite was/is “Penstemon buckleyi” – so soft and delicate, it looks like a scientific illustration.

    it’s always great when talent is recognized via platforms like the Plant Society/Tx – especially some of the nice people of the world get the awards!!!

    Playamart - Zeebra Designs

    February 16, 2019 at 3:08 PM

    • You’re the third person to comment that the Penstemon buckleyi looks like a botanical illustration. I hadn’t thought of it that way but I can understand your impression. I’m also glad that I could show such pretty flowers at a place where people probably wouldn’t expect it: a sand dune.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 16, 2019 at 3:58 PM

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