Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Basket-flower in two stages

with 42 comments

On May 26th, before I photographed the colony of basket-flowers (Plectocephalus americanus) in Pflugerville that you’ve already seen, I’d stopped on Burnet Rd. by the old Merrilltown Cemetery in far north Austin to check out the basket-flowers I’ve come to count on each spring stretched out along a roadside ditch and at the edge of the property next to the cemetery. While wind made my work difficult, I did get some good pictures of a developing basket-flower “basket” in front of a fully open flower head of the same species. I don’t recall making a portrait like this one in my two decades of photographing basket-flowers, so the picture pleases me in its own right and because of its novelty.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 5, 2019 at 4:44 AM

42 Responses

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  1. Showy image, I really like it!

    Ms. Liz

    June 5, 2019 at 6:18 AM

  2. I love the baskets (or bird’s nests) that some umbellifers form on dying, like the wild carrot or ammi majus. This is a pretty delicate image and even more interesting with the actual flower in the background.


    June 5, 2019 at 7:24 AM

  3. Amazing floral composition, Steve! I like how you used another flower in the background to serve as a colourful bokeh.

    Peter Klopp

    June 5, 2019 at 7:45 AM

    • Sometimes I play off a flower in the foreground against a different kind of flower in the background. At other times, as here, I play off one stage of a flower against a different stage of the same kind of flower. When it’s a younger stage against an older one, it exemplifies Wordsworth’s thought that: “The Child is father of the Man.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 5, 2019 at 7:51 AM

  4. The first words that came to mind when I saw the photo were “shining with purple light.” The opened flower behind the bud seems nimbus-like: it’s a more than usually delightful example of your fondness for playing one flower off against another.

    It seems odd to me that I still haven’t seen a basketflower in bloom this year. I recently did another little look-around in all the usual nearby places, and they just aren’t there. I guess I’ll have to wait for them to reveal themselves in some less than usual, or farther away, places.


    June 5, 2019 at 7:48 AM

    • As you were typing your comment I was replying to the previous one by pointing out my fondness for playing off one flower against another, one stage in life against another. I’m happy to have you refer to the open basket-flower as a nimbus: good word. I see now in the American Heritage Dictionary that nimbus is etymologically related to Latin nebula and to German Nibelung.

      It is odd that you haven’t yet seen a blooming basket-flower this year. I wonder why none have come up in your usual places. Over here they’ve been out so long I expect them to start fading soon.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 5, 2019 at 7:58 AM

  5. Another stunning photo. I’ve attempted to grow basket flower, with no success (too shady, heavy soil). I’m always glad to see it around, though.


    June 5, 2019 at 8:09 AM

    • Too bad your conditions aren’t good for basket-flowers. I haven’t grown any native plants but I’ve sure grown a lot of pictures of them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 5, 2019 at 8:32 AM

  6. Beautifully captured.


    June 5, 2019 at 8:23 AM

  7. This is stunning Steve!

    Pete Hillman

    June 5, 2019 at 1:52 PM

  8. I like this picture. Beautiful!

    Isabel F. Bernaldo de Quirós

    June 5, 2019 at 2:01 PM

  9. Love that rich purple background supporting the forward basket-flower’s portrait.

    Steve Gingold

    June 5, 2019 at 3:13 PM

  10. Beautifully shot, Steve.

    Jane Lurie

    June 5, 2019 at 7:17 PM

    • This picture and others in the series came out as well as I could have expected. Would that that were always so.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 5, 2019 at 8:59 PM

  11. Splendid photo!


    June 5, 2019 at 8:30 PM

  12. It still looks synthetic.


    June 6, 2019 at 2:35 AM

  13. Beautiful geometry of the bud against that purple blossom – wonderful!


    June 6, 2019 at 6:48 PM

    • Thanks, Lynn. Of all the photographs that have appeared here, this is one of the ones I’m happiest with.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 6, 2019 at 7:47 PM

  14. What a wonderful portrait!

    Michael Scandling

    June 7, 2019 at 7:16 AM

  15. Perfect background!!


    June 7, 2019 at 8:40 PM

  16. Super image … love the flower in the background


    June 12, 2019 at 3:44 AM

  17. Steve, you are such an artist. 😀


    June 17, 2019 at 7:21 AM

    • Thanks, Shannon. I was especially pleased when I found that what I’d hoped to accomplish after looking through the viewfinder, I had accomplished.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 17, 2019 at 7:33 AM

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