Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

More from the Kelly Hamby Nature Trail

with 58 comments

The previous post showed you six of the things we saw on October 6th at the Kelly Hamby Nature Trail on the south shore of the peninsula that’s across the bridge from the west end of Galveston Island. Now here are another half-dozen finds.

Trailing fuzzybean, Strophostyles helvola

Drying pod of a trailing fuzzybean, Strophostyles helvola

American oystercatcher, Haematopus palliatus

Purple beach morning glory bud, Ipomoea pes-caprae

Purple beach morning glory flower, Ipomoea pes-caprae

Barnacle shells on a larger shell

While that last picture may not be entirely “natural,” holding the shell up against the clouds seemed like a natural enough thing to do for the sake of a good portrait. Magritte or another Surrealist painter could’ve shown the entire shell floating in the clouds.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 21, 2019 at 4:42 AM

58 Responses

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  1. These are a few of my favourite things; birds, flowers, and oddities.


    October 21, 2019 at 5:45 AM

  2. Very nice series of images Steve! Enjoyed seeing them!

    Reed Andariese

    October 21, 2019 at 6:40 AM

  3. I missed the barnacle shell! Too right about the Magritte similarity (which I only just learned about this summer). I’m greatly looking forward to your artistic view of the barnacle covered log. I did the best I could with iPhone, which is arguably not as crisp as a DSLR.


    October 21, 2019 at 6:44 AM

  4. Absolutely Magritte! One doesn’t have to always be natural.

    Michael Scandling

    October 21, 2019 at 7:27 AM

    • Or we could say it’s only natural to stretch the definition of natural. Why, it’s second nature.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 21, 2019 at 7:44 AM

  5. ‘Trailing fuzzybean’–I love that name. Are its beans fuzzy? The pod looks smooth, but who knows what’s inside, right? Great shots, all!


    October 21, 2019 at 8:39 AM

    • What’s not to love in a name like trailing fuzzybean? According to the Wikipedia article about this species, “The fruit of S. helvola is up to 10 cm long, containing shiny black seeds with hairy coats originating from the inner surface of the pods.”

      You’ve seen 12 pictures so far from this place and there’ll be at least a few more.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 21, 2019 at 9:24 AM

  6. Again it is the morning glory that speaks to me through your photo in the most impressive way, Steve. Perhaps it is its emotional aspect as we are heading into winter in our northern latitudes.

    Peter Klopp

    October 21, 2019 at 9:27 AM

  7. Terrific series of nature close-ups, Steve. I love the morning glory bud.

    Jane Lurie

    October 21, 2019 at 11:02 AM

  8. Did you shave that bean because it doesn’t look very fuzzy? The morning-glory bud is lovely and the barnacle shells quite cool.

    Steve Gingold

    October 21, 2019 at 3:20 PM

    • It seems the fuzziness is inside the pod. According to Wikipedia: “The fruit of S. helvola is up to 10 cm long, containing shiny black seeds with hairy coats originating from the inner surface of the pods.”

      Pictorially speaking, I think the picture with the barnacles is the most interesting, even if arranged. On the natural side, the soon-to-unfurl bud had me taking a bunch of pictures.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 21, 2019 at 5:19 PM

  9. A great collection of images from the trail, Steve.

    Ellen Jennings

    October 21, 2019 at 4:49 PM

  10. I figured out your pattern in the last two posts: plant-plant-bird-plant-plant-shell. Intentional? I suspect as much.


    October 21, 2019 at 5:42 PM

    • You’ve made an excellent observation. I purposely spread out the animal pictures, though I wasn’t consciously trying for the kind of regularity that you pointed out. In yesterday’s post you’ll also notice that I alternated between horizontal and vertical photographs, something I frequently do if possible.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 21, 2019 at 7:02 PM

      • You might have subconsciously followed a pattern, Steve. Our brain is remarkable in looking for patterns.


        October 21, 2019 at 7:28 PM

  11. It’s interesting to me that all of my photos of the beach morning glories, the beach evening primrose, and the trailing fuzzybean all were taken across the bay at the Brazoria refuge, and not a single one at the actual beach. No doubt it’s the sandy soil that’s the commonality.

    The barnacled shell is my favorite of the group. I especially like the way the pattern of the barnacles is echoed by the clouds. ‘A cloud-encrusted sky’ seems particularly appropriate for a beach scene.


    October 21, 2019 at 9:32 PM

    • While the sandy soil is a commonality, it’s still strange that you wouldn’t have taken a single picture of those wildflowers at the beach, especially those with “beach” in their common names.

      I’m especially fond of the barnacled shells, too, because of the incongruity of the vertical position as well as the clouds for a backdrop (rather than, say, beach sand). “Cloud-encrusted” it is, and gladly so.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 21, 2019 at 9:49 PM

      • When I’ve visited the area previously, those particular flowers haven’t been in bloom. I do have some beach primrose photos from the shore of Palacios Bay, and photos of other beach flowers from the Hamby Nature Trail that weren’t anywhere around when we visited, like this wedgeleaf prairie clover and a little gem called cenicilla (Sesuvium portulacastrum) that deserves to be posted.


        October 21, 2019 at 10:04 PM

        • The virtue of living so close is that you get to see these places throughout the seasons. Conversely, when we visited on our one day, we saw only what was blooming then. If only we could lasso the coast and pull it closer.

          I remember the tiny grasshopper on the prairie clover.

          Steve Schwartzman

          October 21, 2019 at 10:10 PM

  12. Very enjoyable details. Thank you for sharing.

    Sagittarius Viking

    October 22, 2019 at 12:04 PM

  13. […] a comment on the previous post, Shannon Westveer referenced the photograph showing barnacle shells on a larger shell against a […]

  14. Gorgeous set of photos!


    October 22, 2019 at 8:22 PM

  15. Another fabulous collection Steve 👏


    October 27, 2019 at 2:27 AM

  16. It’s always fun to see Oystercatchers! We have them out here too, but they’re darker overall but they still have that big red bill. I like the last photo too – very cool.


    November 3, 2019 at 12:28 PM

  17. The name “oystercatcher” always makes me snicker. I have a mental image of an oyster skipping down the beach with the bird in hot pursuit…
    I’ve noticed that you’ve been making surreal comments lately. Is this a new fascination, or a longstanding one? I do like the last image too although the bird is lovely.


    November 11, 2019 at 8:28 AM

    • That last picture prompted me to mention Surrealism, which I became aware of in college. I think I knew about Salvador Dalí even earlier.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 11, 2019 at 9:22 AM

      • It’s funny, isn’t it, the “isms” and “schools” of art?


        November 12, 2019 at 9:04 AM

        • Funny in some ways, not so funny if you’re working in an out-of-favor style, e.g. a representational painter during the era when abstract expressionism reigned.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 12, 2019 at 9:22 AM

          • Right you are, and I used to agonize over this quite a bit. Not only that, but people frequently dismiss what I’m doing with, “Oh, I see you like Monet.” So insulting. Of course I like Monet, but it is merely a coincidence that we see the world in the same way. I do not seek to paint like him, as so many people have suggested.


            November 12, 2019 at 3:53 PM

            • Well, one thing about getting older, for better or worse, is that we’ve seen so many trends come and go and then come back. Nothing new under the sun, and all that.

              Steve Schwartzman

              November 12, 2019 at 3:57 PM

              • Yes, and you suddenly realize how little any of it matters. If I’m happy doing my thing, and I am, I couldn’t care less what people think or what “ism” box they want to put me in.


                November 12, 2019 at 3:59 PM

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