Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Turnabout is fair play

with 21 comments

On June 23rd I took pictures, for only the second time ever, at the end of Vaught Ranch Rd. Not surprisingly, I saw mostly the same species of wildflowers there as I had the year before. The two shown in today’s post are Lygodesmia texana, known as the Texas the skeleton plant, and Wedelia acapulcensis var. hispida, called zexmenia (or as many a local botanist or native plant person likes to joke, sex mania). They say that turnabout is fair play, so you get to see each flower head as both subject and background glow. Notice that zexmenia has more orange in its flowers than most of the other DYCs (darn yellow composites) in central Texas.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 14, 2020 at 4:43 AM

21 Responses

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  1. Or, as I’m fond of saying, one hand washes the other. It works out to the same thing, and each one complements its counterpart. What a nice pair.


    July 14, 2020 at 5:50 AM

    • I can’t remember if I ever previously did so direct a pairing of opposite viewpoints here. The par in compare is the same word as pair.

      When one hand washes the other, there’s sound, but not the sound of one hand clapping.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 14, 2020 at 6:47 AM

      • Again we cross historical wires. I used to love listening to Shelly Berman. I’ll never forget “My tongue is asleep and my teeth itch.”


        July 15, 2020 at 2:51 AM

        • It’s strange to think of teeth itching; gums, maybe, but not teeth.

          I see from the Wikipedia article about Shelley Berman that he began as a straight actor, and that “to make ends meet, Berman found employment as a social director, cab driver, speech teacher, assistant manager of a drug store, and a dance instructor at Arthur Murray Dance Studios.”

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 16, 2020 at 6:39 AM

  2. The skeleton plant surely is an odd name for such a beautiful flower.

    Peter Klopp

    July 14, 2020 at 8:32 AM

    • This plant has a slender stalk and often lacks obvious leaves. That’s how it got the name skeleton plant.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 14, 2020 at 12:54 PM

  3. Win!! Those are both such lovely shots and I like that turnabout!


    July 14, 2020 at 12:53 PM

    • I like your enthusiastic “Win!!” Both of these portraits are in the abstract style I’ve been resonating to in 2020.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 14, 2020 at 12:57 PM

  4. Those two colors complement each other so well! Your turn-about play with them is awesome!


    July 14, 2020 at 1:22 PM

    • I agree that the colors worked well together. I didn’t set out with the idea of pairing pictures from opposite viewpoints, but it works.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 14, 2020 at 2:36 PM

  5. The purple in the second photo seems to radiate out of the yellow – nice!

    Eliza Waters

    July 14, 2020 at 7:46 PM

  6. Fair play and a tie too! Perfect color combination / perfect shots!

    marina kanavaki

    July 16, 2020 at 6:11 AM

  7. The pairing feels autumnal to me: a nice feeling, given our current heat. Beautyberry and goldenrod come to mind as one of those typical combinations. I’m especially fond of skeleton plant, and it’s nice to see it combined with the zexmania. I can’t remember seeing this iteration of purple and gold, and I really like it.


    July 16, 2020 at 6:16 AM

    • I assure you that when I took these pictures a few weeks ago there was nothing autumnal about the experience. Now, of course, it’s gotten even hotter.

      Skeleton plant flowers are always fun to photograph. Usually I’ve portrayed them in their own right; this time the conveniently close zexmenia provided an excellent complementary color for the skeleton plant and, even more to my liking, vice versa.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 16, 2020 at 6:33 AM

  8. Both of those images are stunning! You continue to evolve into a true master!

    • Buenas tardes. It’s always gratifying when a painter sees good things in my photographs. I keep pursuing abstraction.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 17, 2020 at 6:50 PM

  9. The second is my favorite … the background acts like rays. The centered composition is perfect!


    July 20, 2020 at 11:12 AM

    • I’m with you on the second one, with those seeming purple rays of light streaming out of the background. The first picture was primarily to show some detail in the skeleton plant flower.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 20, 2020 at 3:57 PM

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