Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Soft view of a rain lily

with 22 comments

On April 8th in my part of Austin I found exactly one rain lily, Zephyranthes drummondii. I got in close, aimed straight down, and made this portrait in which only the central elements of the flower were in focus.

And here’s a quotation for today: “Winston Churchill reportedly quipped that ‘A lie travels around the globe while the truth is putting on its shoes.’ That was before the internet. Today, the truth can’t even find its shoes.” — Alan Dershowitz, Cancel Culture, 2020.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 17, 2021 at 4:41 AM

22 Responses

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  1. beautiful soft view


    April 17, 2021 at 6:17 AM

    • Now wanting the harshness that flash would have brought, I went for the opposite approach, namely a soft one.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 17, 2021 at 6:21 AM

  2. I was thinking about rain lilies yesterday. We’ve had two days of off-and-on, relatively gentle rain, so it’s time for them to appear. This downward-looking view has the advantage of showing off the smudges of pollen. It appears you weren’t the flower’s first visitor.


    April 17, 2021 at 6:51 AM

    • I do hope you find your quota of these ever-photogenic ephemeral flowers. I never thought about how some of the pollen had found its way out of this flower’s center. Insects do seem likely culprits.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 17, 2021 at 7:47 AM

  3. Not surprised truth can’t find its shoes, it’s sometimes an elusive and slipper-y thing.

    Robert Parker

    April 17, 2021 at 7:12 AM

  4. That’s a soft-hearted lily.

    Steve Gingold

    April 17, 2021 at 8:14 AM

  5. I really like that picture. I looks like a pastel painting.


    April 17, 2021 at 10:54 AM

    • I go through phases (though not in a regular way). Lately I’ve been taking some low-light, shallow-depth-of-field pictures, and that approach often produces pastel portraits like this one.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 17, 2021 at 11:03 AM

  6. Great photo! Great quote!

    Peter Klopp

    April 17, 2021 at 12:47 PM

  7. I took a shot of a Rain Lily last year with my old smartphone that I like even more than this beautiful portrait of a Rain Lily (I was channeling my inner Schwartzman at the time). I am still waiting for the rain lilies in my yard and beyond to show some flowers in bloom. On the other hand, I’m not too depressed about it. Plenty of other things coming up, like Maltese Star Thistle and Japanese Brome. The other day I pulled up three 30 gallon trash bags of them so the Texas Bluebonnets and Dakota Vervain could get some sunlight. Fortunately it was right after the rain and hailstorm so they came out easily.
    I’ve read studies that indicate that getting out in “nature” is good for your health and mental health. If you’re feeling depressed, take a walk outside. Could it be you’re not getting enough exposure to Nature?
    (A hummingbird just passed by window, either enjoying or defending the Coral Honeysuckles and Cross Vines… and my endorphins just pumped up a little). So long!


    April 18, 2021 at 9:37 AM

    • You are ambitious: three 30-gallon bags of invasive plants. I hope you wore thick gloves for the Malta star thistle (of which I noticed some when I was there for the celestials).

      Rain lilies have remained among my favorite wildflowers to photograph. In the past I portrayed some dense colonies of them but haven’t seen any for several years, so my recent portraits had shown mostly individuals and occasionally small groups.

      In 2020 I was surprised by the number of new nature places we came across in our wanderings. That continued into 2021, with the latest one being Turkey Bend in far west Travis County. Most of the others had been closer to home.

      I don’t often see a hummingbird outside my window (we don’t have any bird feeders) but yesterday I did.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 18, 2021 at 10:02 AM

      • I will take your advice on the thistles. Got a thorn inside my middle finger, which became infected, turning a lovely purple. Tod.ay i went out and did some “precision” spraying of glyphosate on the Centaurea melitensis. At the end, I gave up and pulled up some that were keeping a bluebonnet from getting access to sunlight. Cool that you saw a hummingbird. We Just use Crossvine and Coral Honeysuckle and Flame Acanthus and Turkscaps to attract hummers. Gesundheit!


        April 20, 2021 at 12:45 PM

        • Gesundheit indeed. Sorry to hear that a thorn in your middle finger led to an infection. In addition to herbicides, from what you say it seems some pulling by hand will still be required. Happy gloves to you.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 20, 2021 at 12:57 PM

          • I am now wearing gloves ALL the time, and have decided to try cutting the plants close to the base instead of pulling out, thus refraining from disturbing the soil. Hopefully, the Silver Bluestem will outperform the other grasses. Many more square feet of thistle to be cleared, but the resurgence in healthy appearance of the Lupinus texensis and Glandularia bipinnatifida after clearing out the Centaurea melitensis surrounding them is encouraging.


            April 23, 2021 at 8:41 AM

            • I’m glad to hear that gloves did the trick. So many things in nature here want to get into our skin. Goodbye Malta star thistle, hello prairie verbena.

              Steve Schwartzman

              April 23, 2021 at 11:26 AM

  8. That is a good quote, and I do like that soft view of the rain lily.

    Lavinia Ross

    April 18, 2021 at 11:43 AM

    • Alan Dershowitz is one traditional liberal who has stood up for due process and freedom of speech. Many others have not.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 18, 2021 at 2:53 PM

  9. I like the soft focus effect


    April 18, 2021 at 7:52 PM

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