Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Time for some fall foliage

with 29 comments

Central Texas doesn’t put on the grand autumn displays that colder climates claim as a point of pride, and yet you’ll find us faithful to fall foliage in our fashion. It’s time for some winsome pictures of autumn color to begin wending your way. As a first, take a look at this prairie flameleaf sumac (Rhus lanceolata) that we found along a street called Arterial 8 at the far end of the Jester Estates neighborhood in west Austin on November 8th. Notice the reddish-black clusters of tiny fruits in the right half of the image.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 15, 2020 at 4:34 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , , , ,

29 Responses

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  1. Your comment about us being faithful to fall foliage in our way brought to mind Ernest Dowson’s poem “Cynara,” but when I looked it up, the line in his poem was different: “I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.” It took one more search, but I found the answer. The line in the Cole Porter song written for the musical Kiss Me, Kate! was based on Dowson’s poem, and it has the line I remember: “I’m always true to you, darlin’, in my way.”

    Not only that, the foliage is beautiful: a perfect combination of colored and still-green leaves.


    November 15, 2020 at 7:31 AM

    • Bingo! It was Cole Porter who added the changed wording to Dowson’s original. That’s what I was thinking about in my text. Why I didn’t go with fashion to extend the alliteration of faithful to fall foliage, I don’t know, but I just went back and added it. As for the flameleaf sumac, I expect to show a picture that’s more flame-like, thanks to backlighting.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 15, 2020 at 8:12 AM

      • I enjoyed the alliterative wording in your post and also enjoyed eavesdropping on this discussion. I wouldn’t have known anything about the poem and song. Thanks to you both 🙂

        Ms. Liz

        November 15, 2020 at 3:30 PM

        • You’re most welcome. Here’s the poem and a sidebar that tells about Dowson’s short life:


          And here’s the song from Kiss Me Kate: [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFPiYXognIs].

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 15, 2020 at 5:33 PM

          • Nice! thanks for sending the links Steve – it was great to look at both. Dowson is quite the poet but life dealt him a bad hand, tragic he died so young.

            Ms. Liz

            November 15, 2020 at 7:17 PM

            • Until I looked at the page with the Dowson poem I’d forgotten, or perhaps didn’t know, that he had such a difficult and short life. Cole Porter lived longer but also had difficult last years due to an accident while riding a horse.

              Steve Schwartzman

              November 15, 2020 at 8:56 PM

  2. I like the movement as well as the colour – you make the leaves seem very spirited.


    November 15, 2020 at 7:41 AM

  3. I’m drawn to the little patches of blue sky. The deep reds stand out too. We are enjoying a colorful autumn, despite that the ice storm took a toll on many of the already golden-colored leaves. The reds are outstanding this year.


    November 15, 2020 at 7:43 AM

    • I like those patches of blue, too. I was out again late this afternoon playing more fleameleaf sumac off against the blue sky.

      I remember how you were concerned about the damage from the ice storm, so I’m relieved to hear that reds are having an outstanding year. In fact the cold snap may have contributed to that.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 15, 2020 at 8:52 PM

  4. I’ve noticed how pretty the sumacs are along 360–I always look forward to their autumn colors. Nice shot!


    November 15, 2020 at 7:47 AM

    • We’re on the same wavelength. Later in the day I also photographed flameleaf sumacs along Loop 360, having noticed them on the way to and from Jester.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 15, 2020 at 7:54 AM

  5. The leaves of the sumac tree you photographed are truly spectacular and form in the typical Steve-Schwartzman-fashion a colourful carpet.

    Peter Klopp

    November 15, 2020 at 9:06 AM

  6. Sumacs are beautiful in autumn. Once a favourite of English front gardens, sadly most of which have been turned into car parks.


    November 15, 2020 at 10:19 AM

    • I didn’t know that sumacs were once an English favorite in front gardens, and now that I know I’m sorry to hear about the way car parks have replaced many of them. You’ve probably heard me say that in the past couple of decades many of the sites where I’ve taken nature photographs in and around Austin have gotten developed.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 15, 2020 at 8:48 PM

      • Too many cars Steve…


        November 16, 2020 at 5:13 AM

        • And yet without a car I couldn’t easily get to the many places where I’ve taken nature pictures all these years. Paradoxical, isn’t it?

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 16, 2020 at 8:09 AM

  7. Sumacs have great fall color. This image would make a humdinger of a jigsaw puzzle!

    Eliza Waters

    November 15, 2020 at 4:50 PM

  8. Wow. Please have a jigsaw puzzle made of this. I’ll buy one for my grands.


    November 16, 2020 at 2:27 AM

    • I’ve never turned a photograph into a jigsaw puzzle. I checked online just now and found there’s a slew of companies that do that. One I noticed will make a 68 x 96 cm puzzle with 2000 pieces!

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 16, 2020 at 7:53 AM

  9. Wending our winsome way in great swirls of brilliant color…and Texas does very well with that!


    November 20, 2020 at 11:18 AM

    • What winsome color we do have, small though it be when compared to places like New York and New England, is well worth the wait each year.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 20, 2020 at 3:32 PM

  10. Great nature pattern … texture and color!


    November 21, 2020 at 1:15 PM

    • This is Austin’s reply to Colorado on a smaller scale. More is forthcoming in the weeks ahead.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 21, 2020 at 4:03 PM

  11. […] aptly named flameleaf sumac, Rhus lanceolata, which you’ve often enough seen here putting on great displays of fall foliage. Less well known is Rhus trilobata, the species name of which tells you that each leaf is made up […]

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