Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Riata Trace Pond in autumn

with 22 comments

On November 15th the Riata Trace Pond in northwest Austin had taken on an autumnal look. Above you see the feathery stage of poverty weed (Baccharis neglecta), and below the fluffy stage of goldenrod (Solidago sp.).

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 13, 2019 at 4:34 AM

22 Responses

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  1. That first image looks like two puzzle pieces that fit together like Gaia. And the seed heads are well backed by the shadowed shoreline.

    Steve Gingold

    December 13, 2019 at 4:40 AM

    • In the first picture I moved around a lot trying to line up the contour of the poverty weed with the contour of the reflections in the back. The two were different but I tried to optimize the way that they interacted.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 13, 2019 at 6:13 AM

  2. Exactly what I wanted to say! This is really great!


    December 13, 2019 at 4:48 AM

  3. In the first picture, I like the contrast between the dream-like reflections in the water and well-focused seedheads and in the second photo the backdrop of the brilliant blue sky. Great job, Steven!

    Peter Klopp

    December 13, 2019 at 8:39 AM

    • As soon as I saw those dreamy reflections I wanted to incorporate them into some of my pictures. In the second photograph, the blue is actually the pond rather than the sky; I see now that a person viewing the image might have a hard time telling the difference.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 13, 2019 at 3:03 PM

  4. Oh that top one! Yes it does fit together like a jigsaw. Yes the contrast between sharp and out of focus. Yes the contrast between light and dark. Marvelous.

    Michael Scandling

    December 13, 2019 at 9:58 AM

    • Merci. I was especially pleased with the first picture. As many times as I’ve taken pictures at that pond a few miles from home, I don’t remember getting such a good interplay between plants on the near shore and those on the far shore.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 13, 2019 at 3:06 PM

  5. The smeared reflections in the water really work well in that top photo.

    Jason Frels

    December 13, 2019 at 12:57 PM

  6. I see Peter wrote “dreamy” and that was my first thought, too, a wonderful dreamlike feeling to this one, love it!

    Robert Parker

    December 13, 2019 at 3:33 PM

    • “Dreamy” does it. Poverty weed by itself at this stage is dreamy, and the reflections beyond it reinforced the effect.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 13, 2019 at 3:43 PM

  7. If I called Poverty Weed fluffy, and Goldenrod feathery, I imagine you would take issue with my characterization. 😊


    December 13, 2019 at 8:21 PM

    • This is not a case of “Hier stehe Ich, Ich kann nicht anders.” You’re welcome to swap the two adjectives around and you’ll get no argument from me.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 14, 2019 at 7:43 AM

      • Your response takes me by surprise, Steve. I thought you had your arguments laid out for the exact word choice in each case. 🙂


        December 15, 2019 at 9:36 PM

  8. I’m especially taken with the first photo, and the band of darkness weaving its way between the foreground plants and the reflections. It looks like a ribbon to me, and that evoked the wonderful Gordon Lightfoot song, “Ribbon of Darkness.”

    Some time ago, you mentioned that Peggy Rompf mentioned two species of Baccharis in my area, and I think I can see the difference now: especially in the leaves. B. halimifolia apparently is especially salt-tolerant; I found an area that seems to contain both species at the Brazoria refuge, but I need to explore it again. As your photo shows, poverty weed’s hard to mistake when it takes the form of those feathery wands.


    December 14, 2019 at 7:59 PM

    • While the second photograph is competent and pleasant, the first clearly stands out as something unusual. If I’d had a stepladder with me I could’ve gotten a slightly higher vantage point to expand that zigzaggy band of darkness you mentioned and get a complete separation of the Baccharis and the background reflections. The season was advancing and I thought I wasn’t going to get a good poverty weed photograph for 2019, and then along came this.

      The only place I’ve ever knowingly seen Baccharis halimifolia was in Oklahoma. Whether the ground it grew on had a higher than average salt content, I don’t know. I hope you get the two species in your area sorted out.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 14, 2019 at 10:50 PM

  9. Dreamy …me too! Wonderful shot


    December 20, 2019 at 12:38 PM

  10. I really like the reflections in the first photo.


    December 27, 2019 at 11:05 AM

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