Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Just your run-of-the-mill fabulous Texas wildflowers

with 24 comments

Meister Lane cul-de-sac on the Blackland Prairie along the border between Austin and Round Rock on May 26.

Red = firewheels (Gaillardia pulchella)

Yellow = sundrops (Oenothera berlandieri)

Yellow-green = prairie parsley (Polytaenia nuttallii)

Purple = prairie verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida)

Pale violet = horsemints (Monarda citriodora)

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 13, 2019 at 4:43 AM

24 Responses

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  1. If Jackson Pollock was a photographer.

    Steve Gingold

    June 13, 2019 at 4:54 AM

    • For me, this calls up the Impressionists or some of their followers into the earliest part of the 20th century rather than a mid-20th-century artist like Jackson Pollock. Pollock has the distinction of being available in a seafood market for one kind of price and in the art market for a much higher price. In contrast, photographing in nature is priceless.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 13, 2019 at 6:26 AM

  2. I think impressionist, and I like.

    Michael Scandling

    June 13, 2019 at 7:20 AM

    • I was concerned this would seem unnaturally bright but Adobe Camera Raw doesn’t show any oversaturation of the reds and yellows in the adjusted RAW file. Sometimes a photograph looks good on my monitor but after I upload it to WordPress it gets dulled down.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 13, 2019 at 11:30 AM

      • Look at it on a number of different devices. The desktop WordPress app versus the website versus various different mobile device apps all show images differently.

        Michael Scandling

        June 13, 2019 at 12:26 PM

        • And in addition to all that, the monitors of people on the receiving end can vary wildly. I work on high-quality Apple monitors, but when I occasionally look at my blog on other people’s computers I’m more often than not disappointed that they get to see only inferior versions of my work. Likewise when I have to use a projector for a presentation to a group.

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 13, 2019 at 1:28 PM

          • I feel your pain. When I prepare an image for the blog I sometimes reduce the contrast a bit if the image is high contrast and increase the contrast a bit if it is low contrast. I make very sure that all of the colors fit comfortably inside the sRGB color gamut.

            Michael Scandling

            June 13, 2019 at 4:54 PM

            • I save all my jpegs as sRGBs. I’ve sometimes made a jpeg a bit brighter and more contrasty to try to compensate for the dulling down I’ve often experienced on WordPress.

              Steve Schwartzman

              June 13, 2019 at 5:05 PM

          • It can work the other way, too. When I first looked at some of my photos on my new iPad, I was surprised to see how much better they looked than on my monitor at home. The home monitor does well enough, but I’ve taken to looking at certain photos on both devices, just to see what’s happening. With some, the difference seems minimal, but it’s noticeable with others.


            June 18, 2019 at 7:34 AM

            • Happy new iPad! How comforting to find that your pictures look better on it, especially when there’s a lot of difference.

              Steve Schwartzman

              June 18, 2019 at 11:36 AM

  3. Incredible abundance of wildflowers, a veritable explosion of colour, Steve!

    Peter Klopp

    June 13, 2019 at 7:40 AM

  4. If the activity were not so destructive, I would be tempted to dive into that floral sea, and stay submerged as long as possible.


    June 14, 2019 at 7:53 PM

    • Destruction aside, you probably wouldn’t want to stay submerged there for long. This is Texas, and by the end of the day (literally) you’d likely find yourself covered with chigger bites. Any prolonged flower diving this far into the spring is best done in one’s imagination.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 14, 2019 at 8:02 PM

  5. I’m finally learning enough about the various ecoregions in Texas that I can envision the blackland prairie, and your photo, combined with your mention of that part of Texas, reminded me of some letters exchanged between my great-great-grandmother and a friend who camped near them on that same prairie. On May 9, 1881, Mrs. Crooks wrote to my grandmother, who’d moved back to Iowa:

    “Today I was looking over my diary and saw that we camped this day one year a mile from a town by the name of Melissa. We did not see the town as it was on the R Road between Plano and Van Austine… I did not like that country at all when I first came because it was so barren of trees, but I am getting used to it and like it better since the grass has come up so beautiful and green, and so many wildflowers… How are you and Mr. Crowley, does he sigh for Texas when the cold north winds blow and the snow and ice is plenty? Is it hard to wean him from the land of sunshine and flowers?”

    I love the thought of my ancestors living among, and then longing for, flowers just like the ones you show here.


    June 18, 2019 at 7:52 AM

    • It’s wonderful to have such a personal connection to Texas in your family history. While you’ve talked about it from time to time, the excerpt you quoted today is the most germane yet, with its mention of “so many wildflowers.” Too bad she didn’t have a modern camera. The reference to “Van Austine” puzzled me; with some finagling I figured out it’s Van Alstyne, which is two towns north of Melissa (Anna lies between them). As for the name Crowley, in Virginia Beach in 1970 I met a Martha Crowley who grew up in Arlington, Texas; in fact her family must have been there for some time because they lived on Crowley Rd.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 18, 2019 at 11:50 AM

  6. Beautiful, Steve!


    June 22, 2019 at 4:08 AM

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