Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Sound the trumpet

with 32 comments

On May 26th ominous clouds made me give up taking pictures in the northeast quadrant of Mopac and US 183. The next morning I went back and resumed photographing native plants there. One I found was a trumpet vine, Campsis radicans, with both flowers and buds. The buds were more heavily covered with dewdrops and made better portrait subjects. I estimate this bud was about 2 inches (5 cm) long.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 9, 2020 at 4:43 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , , ,

32 Responses

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  1. Very striking against the all-black background. Every time there’s a swing up or down in the stock market, someone is going to mention the “the lipstick index” and whether it’s a useful indicator of consumer confidence – – at first glance, this photo suggested a stylish lipstick advertisement.

    Robert Parker

    June 9, 2020 at 6:17 AM

    • I hadn’t noticed the resemblance. Your comment made me see it. Also not having heard of the lipstick index, I looked it up and found this interesting Wikipedia article:

      “The lipstick index is a term coined by Leonard Lauder, chairman of the board of Estee Lauder, used to describe increased sales of cosmetics during the early 2000s recession. Lauder made the claim that lipstick sales could be an economic indicator, in that purchases of cosmetics – lipstick in particular – tend to be inversely correlated to economic health. The speculation was that women substitute lipstick for more expensive purchases like dresses and shoes in times of economic distress.

      “Lauder identified the Lipstick index as sales across the Estee Lauder family of brands. Subsequent recessions, including the late-2000s recession, provided controverting evidence to Lauder’s claims, as sales have actually fallen with reduced economic activity. Conversely, lipstick sales have experienced growth during periods of increased economic activity. As a result, the lipstick index has been discredited as an economic indicator. The increased sales of cosmetics in 2001 has since been attributed to increased interest in celebrity-designed cosmetics brands

      “In the 2010s, many media outlets reported that with the rise of nail art as fad in the English-speaking countries and as far afield as Japan and the Philippines, nailpolish had replaced lipstick as the main affordable indulgence for women in place of bags and shoes during recession, leading to talk of a nail polish index. Similar sentiment was noted during the coronavirus pandemic, when the mandated use of face masks to prevent the spread of the disease resulted in an increase of eye makeup purchases, suggesting a Mascara index.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 9, 2020 at 6:22 AM

      • After seeing “housing starts,” home sales, “durable goods,” etc. it’s kind of fun to see these informal trackers, like lipstick or Campbell’s Soup, Spam (a definite indicator of hard times), mac’n’cheese, rice&beans, etc.

        Robert Parker

        June 9, 2020 at 7:06 AM

        • I wonder which proved the most accurate, one of the formal indicators or one of the informal ones.

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 9, 2020 at 7:29 AM

          • That’s a good question. I suspect the Wall Street investors use pretty sophisticated algorithms, rather than mascara sales, but who knows. Seems like a popular vampire series on cable, nostalgia for Alice Cooper or Kiss, etc. could distort the mascara index.

            Robert Parker

            June 9, 2020 at 7:46 AM

            • The sophisticated way isn’t always the best. I remember an anecdote from the days when Thomas Edison and his crew were working on early light bulbs and were casting the glass in various shapes. At one point Edison gave an assistant one of the trial bulbs and told him to calculate its volume. After a while the assistant came back and said he’d tried to calculate the volume using integral calculus but was having trouble. Whereupon Edison took the bulb, filled it with water, and poured the water into a measuring cup. Problem solved.

              Steve Schwartzman

              June 9, 2020 at 7:52 AM

  2. Beautiful light Steve ☺️🌷 smiles Hedy

    sloppy buddhist

    June 9, 2020 at 6:57 AM

  3. I’ve never heard of lipstick as a leading economic indicator; everybody’s got a theory, and putting a new one forth might have been a canny marketing strategy. I’m suspect Mr. Lauder knew that.

    What tickles me is that, apart from Rob’s comment, I never would have realized the upper left quadrant of your bud is very nearly the shade of my favorite lipstick. Some years ago, a clerk at Walgreens told me the color was being discontinued. I bought all they had, and still have three in the drawer. Good thing, since another economic reality’s taken over: supply and demand. It’s still possible to find the lipstick on places like eBay, but the price ranges from $39.95 to $54.00 for one tube.

    Now, back to the bud: it’s lovely, both shape and color. Dewdrops and raindrops make everything even more special, of course, and these are wonderfully arrayed.


    June 9, 2020 at 7:06 AM

    • Yikes: $54 for one tube. With lipstick I’m out of my league—except lexicographically; in movies from the 1930s, lipstick is usually called lip rouge. Lipstick seems to have won out pretty soon.

      I’m assuming the drops were from dew because I took the picture in the morning, and the previous day’s rain was 24 hours earlier, didn’t last long, and wasn’t heavy.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 9, 2020 at 7:43 AM

  4. I like this fiery-red bud all covered in dew droplets, Steve. Great capture!

    Peter Klopp

    June 9, 2020 at 7:22 AM

  5. I should go see if the one that invaded my back yard is blooming. I really like them and was excited to see it back there until I looked it up and found that it is considered invasive here. Good thing I like it, as it is here to stay. You’ve captured the bud in such a dramatic way~I love it. And it does remind me of lipstick…good thing I don’t wear the stuff, if that is what it is going for these days!


    June 9, 2020 at 9:42 AM

  6. A beautiful capture. You really have all the elements that appeal to me: color (gorgeous salmon-red); texture (dew drops); background (simple, black); whimsy–that shadow in the bottom third. Really, just a perfect shot!


    June 9, 2020 at 1:32 PM

    • That’s a good point-by-point analysis. At first the shadow across the bottom third struck me as a flaw; then I came to my senses and realized that it added a contrasting element. Your characterization of whimsy seems especially apt for the upper right corner of the shadow, which leaves a tapering sliver of bright red visible.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 9, 2020 at 2:49 PM

  7. Beautiful.

    Khürt Williams

    June 9, 2020 at 9:46 PM

  8. We had yellow trumpet vines in Omaha, and they were wonderful attractions for all sorts of insect visitors. When I first saw your red one here, the shadowed part looked like a deep indentation. That large coalesced water droplet really helps to complement the completion of your careful composition.


    June 9, 2020 at 11:36 PM

  9. This is another one I saw in Oklahoma! I got no cuttings though. I should have. It would have been nice to get a wild form, rather than the garden variety that is in one of the gardens now.


    June 10, 2020 at 9:05 AM

  10. That’s a nice bud and handsome dressed in dew.

    Steve Gingold

    June 10, 2020 at 2:07 PM

  11. Super shot Steve .. the dew is the icing on the cake


    June 14, 2020 at 2:31 PM

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