Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Snow-on-the-mountain from the ground

with 28 comments

When I say “from the ground” I mean lying on my back on the ground with my 24–105mm lens zoomed out at or near the wide end to play off some gone-to-seed snow-on-the-mountain plants (Euphorbia marginata) against the clear blue sky. As you see, horizontal and vertical compositions are both possible.

I found these plants adjacent to the pond on Discovery Blvd. in Cedar Park on November 18th.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 23, 2020 at 4:33 AM

28 Responses

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  1. Did anyone call an EMT thinking the worst?

    Steve Gingold

    November 23, 2020 at 5:06 AM

  2. I like the vertical composition best! The leaves take the eyes straight to the top. I don’t think most people think of this kind of approach to photography. While in NYC I noticed the work of a photographer who primarily shot photos of people from the ground level, with skyscrapers rising into the sky as a background. It was fascinating. My first thought was how he avoided full nostril shots. Most times the subject had turned their head slightly, and the image was remarkable.


    November 23, 2020 at 6:35 AM

    • At least with these snow-on-the-mountain pictures I didn’t have to worry about unsightliness-in-the-nostrils. Do you have a link to the NY photographer’s work?

      Like you, in the second picture (and others I took of that prominent plant) I appreciated the fact that the leaves were still intact from bottom to top and served as a visual vertical conveyor belt.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 23, 2020 at 7:07 AM

  3. ” lying on my back on the ground”: that’s the true photographer!


    November 23, 2020 at 8:11 AM

  4. Both text and photos sound very poetic to me. When reading your title I was thinking at first of the snow we already have on our mountain tops. But in Texas, how could this be? Then the explanation from the photographer lying on his back taking these marvellous pictures.

    Peter Klopp

    November 23, 2020 at 8:58 AM

    • Hooray for poetic, both verbal and visual. Snow-on-the-mountain (or -prairie) is the only “snow” we get in Austin in most years—unlike you in Canada. However, 400–500 miles north, in the Texas panhandle, there’s real snow in the winter.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 23, 2020 at 9:09 AM

  5. All I can think about seeing these photos is that BLUE BLUE sky!!


    November 23, 2020 at 11:02 AM

    • We’ve been largely stuck for several weeks in a pattern of overcast mornings giving way to partly or mostly sunny afternoons. A few days have been clearer from the very beginning. I imagine you don’t get a lot of sunshiny days in England at this time of year.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 23, 2020 at 3:31 PM

      • Sadly not. Mostly cloudy, foggy and rain. Some blue, but pale like a robin’s egg and usually not for long. Still it is the solstice in 4 weeks and then we are on the up so I am remaining positive 🙂


        November 23, 2020 at 4:15 PM

  6. I am so envious of the blue skies in the West/Southwest. We rarely have such clear, dry weather.

    Eliza Waters

    November 23, 2020 at 7:51 PM

    • For several weeks we’ve been getting those blue skies mostly in the afternoon after the day starts out cloudy. The morning of the snow-on-the-mountain brought clear skies earlier, fortunately for me.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 23, 2020 at 9:11 PM

  7. Of course we need to get into positions to be able to get our subjects in the perspective in which we visualize them. And isn’t it cool to still be able to haul ourselves back up after having done so? With my tin knees in mind, I practice getting down on my back and up again, once to each side, at least once a day. And it sure does help.


    November 23, 2020 at 8:55 PM

    • Lying on a rubber mat, as I normally do, also helps. It’s easier to push a hand down onto that than onto the ground. I hope your daily practice makes perfect.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 23, 2020 at 9:14 PM

  8. ‘V’ is for visual perfection — certainly in that second photo. The bare stems and crinkled leaves remind me of baby’s breath in a floral bouquet; I don’t think the fully-leaved stems would be as interesting or appealing without them. The red stems show up nicely, too. Red, green, and blue is as fine a combination as yellow, green, and blue.


    November 26, 2020 at 8:04 AM

    • As you’re probably aware, RGB is an additive color mode that’s applied to televisions and computer monitors. To that I’m happy to add your V for visual perfection. Fortunately I had the presence of mind (and body and rubber mat) to lie down and take it all in.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 26, 2020 at 9:27 AM

  9. Wonderful shots Steve … big thumbs up for lying on the ground 🙂


    November 28, 2020 at 12:38 PM

    • Better to be a lier than a liar. And in fact my thumbs were up as I aimed the camera toward the sky.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 28, 2020 at 1:05 PM

  10. Rally beautiful pictures. Love them!

    Newton Marks

    December 22, 2020 at 12:52 PM

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