Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

First bluebonnets for 2020

with 55 comments

I photographed my first bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) this year
on February 29th along the Capital of Texas Highway at the Arboretum.
The breeze blew briskly, and I struggled getting my head and the camera
low enough to play the flowers off against the clouds. Somehow I managed.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 2, 2020 at 4:40 AM

55 Responses

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  1. i always love your bluebonnet pictures, tells me what time of year is coming )


    March 2, 2020 at 4:55 AM

  2. While you took that lovely shot on Feb 29th, you’ve posted on March 2nd. Happy Texas Independence Day–hooray for the state flower!


    March 2, 2020 at 7:34 AM

  3. It always startles me to see your bluebonnets against a blue sky, since the lupines we have grow in the shade of black oaks. It really is vey lovely to see it this way.


    March 2, 2020 at 8:28 AM

    • Even with your lupines in the shade, I’m wondering if you could still find one on a slope where you could get way down low and aim upward toward a panel of sky.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 2, 2020 at 9:00 AM

      • I might could (as country folk around here say) but I’m not anxious to get down there with all the ticks.


        March 4, 2020 at 8:53 AM

        • Linguists refer to forms like “might could” as double modals. Along similar lines, I’ve noticed over the last few years that people on television news shows now almost always say “could potentially,” where the “potentially” is redundant because “could” already means ‘has the potential to.’

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 4, 2020 at 10:39 AM

          • I’ve noticed that. Also popular around here is “Myself and my coworkers (eg) went to lunch. ” ACK! And another redundancy: “For me personally…” What happened to the teachers?? My English teacher must be spinning in her grave.


            March 4, 2020 at 11:45 AM

            • Many (most?) public schools have largely stopped teaching grammar. That’s partly because for the past 50 years the consensus of the people who control education is that standard grammar oppresses minority students, who make up an increasingly large fraction of the the students in public schools.

              Steve Schwartzman

              March 4, 2020 at 12:14 PM

  4. A great portrait of a wildflower, Steve! It fits perfectly with your blog’s title.

    Peter Klopp

    March 2, 2020 at 8:33 AM

  5. Oh, geeze, already. I used to plan for these to be out in early April.

    Jason Frels

    March 2, 2020 at 8:54 AM

    • In my observations over a couple of decades, it’s not unusual to find at least a few bluebonnets in late February and the beginning of March.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 2, 2020 at 9:02 AM

  6. Beautiful portrait.

    Michael Scandling

    March 2, 2020 at 10:20 AM

  7. Gorgeous!


    March 2, 2020 at 12:27 PM

  8. So stunning, to me it looks utterly perfect !

    Ms. Liz

    March 2, 2020 at 6:09 PM

  9. Beautiful composition, Steve! I love bluebonnets.

    Lavinia Ross

    March 2, 2020 at 9:42 PM

    • I was thinking about you when I woke up a little while ago, Lavinia, and now here’s a comment from you. Thanks for appreciating the composition in this portrait.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 3, 2020 at 7:17 AM

      • I’ve been sick for 5 weeks with some horrible respiratory bug and was given antibiotics for week #4. I’m finally coming out of it, and dealing with the residual.

        I love those spring flower photos. They are good medicine.

        Lavinia Ross

        March 5, 2020 at 5:02 PM

        • Then I’m happy to keep offering you these doses of floral medicine. Of course I’m sorry to hear you’ve been sick for so long, and relieved to hear you’re finally coming out of it.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 5, 2020 at 5:42 PM

  10. I’ve not seen bluebonnets yet, but the Indian paintbrush and pink evening primrose, their boon companions, are beginning to spread. The ditches around the Hamby Nature Center were full of paintbrush. Yellow wild indigo (Baptisia sphaerocarpa) is flowering now, too — another member of the pea family.

    I saw a small huisache in bloom on Saturday, at the San Bernard refuge. It was well off the road and inaccessible, as well as being tangled with other growth, so a decent photo wasn’t possible, but there it was.

    Michael called the bluebonnet delicate, but they’re actually tough little flowers. It sounds like it took a tough photographer to get this photo, but the effort paid off.


    March 2, 2020 at 10:54 PM

    • Then we’ll expect to be seeing picture of a paintbrush and pink evening primrose from you soon, along with yellow wild indigo. And speaking of huisache, the tree that we pass every day as we leave and return has leafed out a lot already, so this may be one of those years when it doesn’t produce flowers. At least the one you saw, even if inaccessible, had flowers, which makes it likely you’ll be seeing others you can get closer to. And you’re right about bluebonnets being tough. As for the photographer of the bluebonnets, if only he were as tough…

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 3, 2020 at 7:45 AM

  11. You certainly did manage. Beautiful.


    March 3, 2020 at 2:58 AM

  12. I won’t be seeing Lupins in bloom for a couple of months yet. Yours seem early, but it’s pretty.


    March 3, 2020 at 7:45 AM

    • March is the time when bluebonnets begin coming up in large numbers here but it’s not unusual to see individuals or small groups in February—and February 29 put me right on the border between February and March.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 3, 2020 at 8:01 AM

  13. Wow, Steve — this is truly stunning.

    Jet Eliot

    March 3, 2020 at 2:09 PM

    • Bluebonnets are a familiar sight in Texas this time of year, though not normally from such a low vantage point.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 3, 2020 at 3:10 PM

      • My mother lived in TX and when the bluebonnets came out, she always sent many photos of the phenomenon. She is gone now, but this photo was an elegant and happy reminder.

        Jet Eliot

        March 3, 2020 at 4:36 PM

  14. How bonny (I hope nobody else tried to be similarly lame-funny, but I don’t usually have time to read everybody else’s comments).


    March 3, 2020 at 6:04 PM

  15. Beautiful vibrant color!!


    March 3, 2020 at 8:42 PM

  16. […] portrait you recently saw of a bluebonnet looked up at its subject. On the same February 29th outing along the Capital of Texas Highway by […]

  17. Lovely shot Steve … the background colours are wonderful


    March 8, 2020 at 12:48 PM

  18. Yeas, Spring! It will be quite a while before our first Lupines bloom, but I can wait. I can imagine you dealing with the wind pushing that heavy head around. 🙂


    March 9, 2020 at 1:34 PM

    • I just learned that “Heavy is the head that wears the crown” is a Shakespeare misquotation. The adjective in the original was “uneasy.” Now that that’s straightened out we can rest easy.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 9, 2020 at 2:10 PM

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