Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Clematis drummondii after the rain

with 34 comments

On August 3rd we finally had some rain, so on the morning of the 4th I went down to Great Hills Park with my macro lens and a ring flash to see if I could get some good pictures of raindrop-covered plants. In particular I had in mind Clematis drummondii, which I don’t recall ever before photographing with drops on it. This vine’s fibers often have a metallic-looking sheen to them, which the flash enhanced. Below, an enlargement from a different picture gives you a good look at raindrops on metalically shining Clematis strands.

And speaking of metals, here’s a relevant quotation for today: “I did not know that mankind were suffering for want of gold. I have seen a little of it. I know that it is very malleable, but not so malleable as wit. A grain of gold will gild a great surface, but not so much as a grain of wisdom.” — Henry David Thoreau, “Life Without Principle,” 1863.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 29, 2020 at 4:39 AM

34 Responses

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  1. Excellent shoot pictures of raindrop covered plant. Other is seen the golden metal of raindrop. Amazing capture.


    August 29, 2020 at 7:42 AM

    • Both of these pictures got me excited when I saw how well they’d turned out. Part of the excitement was that I hadn’t taken pictures of this species in this way before.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 29, 2020 at 8:39 AM

  2. revelatory….what beauty


    August 29, 2020 at 8:06 AM

    • Revelatory is a good word for it. The rain revealed how metallic these botanical strands can look.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 29, 2020 at 8:41 AM

  3. A great pair of great macros of a rare clematis variety and a thought-provoking quote on the power of a grain of wisdom are a good starting point for me this Saturday morning.

    Peter Klopp

    August 29, 2020 at 9:21 AM

    • Then happy Saturday morning to you. While Clematis drummondii may seem rare due to the lustrous and even metallic appearance of its fibers, the species is quite common here, as it is in west Texas also. In looking at a distribution map just now, I noticed its range also includes a large part of Arizona. I’m fortunate that I don’t have to travel more than half a mile to find reliable stands of it to photograph.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 29, 2020 at 10:10 AM

      • Having beautiful things to photograph in our own immediate environment is also the main reason (not just age) for me to stay in my own neck of the woods. It’s a four-season paradise.

        Peter Klopp

        August 30, 2020 at 9:14 AM

        • And by looking at the things near us we get to know them in their various stages: as your said, a four-season paradise.

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 30, 2020 at 11:30 AM

  4. Absolutely fantastic.
    So you did have rain! I’m envious.


    August 29, 2020 at 10:17 AM

    • Thanks. I was thrilled with these pictures. The same goes for the two episodes of rain we had in August. Neither lasted long, but at least the land got a little much-needed water, and I got a chance to photograph this familiar species in a new way. In fact I photographed it after the second rainfall, too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 29, 2020 at 10:22 AM

  5. Amazing photography!


    August 29, 2020 at 12:33 PM

  6. The magic touch of raindrops!… well, that and the one by the photographer! 😉

    marina kanavaki

    August 30, 2020 at 3:54 AM

    • You’ve reminded me of a 1956 song written by Buck Ram and sung by the Platters: “You’ve got the magic touch.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 30, 2020 at 9:52 AM

      • Beautiful song!!!!! 😉

        marina kanavaki

        August 30, 2020 at 11:13 AM

        • Was this song new to you? It was a part of my childhood.

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 30, 2020 at 11:31 AM

          • No it wasn’t ….however the song isn’t about childhood… but yes, part of childhood [or a little older in my case – my childhood was 70s/80s so I listened to Platters when I was older]! Amazing voices! 😉

            marina kanavaki

            August 30, 2020 at 11:39 AM

            • Yes, they were a great group (and now that word reminds me of “The Great Pretender,” also written by Buck Ram). Ah, the doo-wop era.

              Steve Schwartzman

              August 30, 2020 at 11:50 AM

              • 😉

                marina kanavaki

                August 30, 2020 at 12:57 PM

              • Now you’ve done it, Steve. My musical mind tends to latch onto fragments that drift by in the course of a normal day and keep them active for varying periods of time. The Germans call this an Ohrwurm, i.e., an ear-worm, that lodges itself in your ear and won’t let go. And, of course, your reference inevitably called this memory into play: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCrn6QXvHLg. BTW, apart from all this nostalgia, lovely raindrop renditions.


                August 31, 2020 at 1:26 AM

                • It must be at least 50 years since I last heard the novelty song you linked to. And speaking of novelty, I’m really happy with these metallic Clematis-cum-raindrops pictures.

                  You’ve also reminded me of another song from the ’60s, “Rhythm of the Rain,” by a group whose name also fit the theme of falling water, the Cascades. I see from Wikipedia that Glen Campbell played guitar on that recording. The group’s last success was in 1969 with “Maybe the Rain Will Fall,” which I didn’t know. Many popular American songs made it down to Honduras, where I was living then, but apparently not that one.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  August 31, 2020 at 6:59 AM

                • By the way, English also uses the term earworm:

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  August 31, 2020 at 10:53 AM

  7. You’ve certainly shown the many sides of C. drummondii this year. It’s more than just a pretty faceful of white fluff, that’s for sure. It would be fun to see all of these portraits together; they’d be proof enough that what a plant ‘looks like’ depends on everything from where it is in its cycle of life to the environmental conditions surrounding it — not to mention whose eye is probing its details.


    August 30, 2020 at 7:12 AM

    • You’ve probably heard me say that 2020 has proved an especially good year for new portrayals of both Mexican hats and Clematis drummondii. I could easily put together a collection for each of those species, showing them in ways that reveal their various stages, and—echoing what you said in your last words—often doing so with views that differ from any I’ve seen elsewhere. That’s a good position to be in.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 30, 2020 at 10:33 AM

  8. Alas, true wisdom and wit are hard to come by. I think Thoreau would be dismayed by what he might find (or not) in our time.


    August 31, 2020 at 7:03 PM

  9. These are gorgeous, Steve!


    September 4, 2020 at 7:52 PM

  10. Beautiful shots, Steve. I especially like the second with the drops within the drop. Well seen and captured.

    Steve Gingold

    September 5, 2020 at 1:49 AM

  11. Very beautiful 💕

    Omowunmi Adebayo

    September 13, 2020 at 4:06 PM

  12. […] as old man’s beard. The last times I’d taken pictures of any were late July and early August. In the first week of December I noticed a fluffy colony on the west-side embankment of US 183 just […]

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