Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Low on the prairie for snow-on-the-prairie

with 14 comments

I got down low on the prairie
For this snow-on-the-prairie.

Make that Euphorbia bicolor on September 10th in Elgin, some 25 miles east of Austin.

In the same field, slated to soon be part of a quickly growing subdivision,
I noticed some goldenrod plants (Solidago sp.) beginning to put out buds.

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What’s fair?

Of course people disagree about what’s fair in any given situation. One commonly heard claim is that “The rich don’t pay their fair share of taxes.” With that in mind, you may want to check out an article by Adam Michel. Of the many statistics about income and taxes cited in the article for the United States in 2018 based on data from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), here are two:

The top 1% or earners (people who made at least $540,000 that year) earned 21% of all the income in the country yet paid 40% of all federal income taxes.

The bottom 50% of earners (people who made no more than $43,600 that year) earned 12% of all the income in the country but paid only 3% of all federal income taxes.

It seems that paying “a fair share” would require the ultra-rich to have their taxes cut roughly in half (21%/40%), while the lower half of the country’s earners would need to have their taxes quadrupled (12%/3%).

As Adam Michel’s article also notes: “Looking at all federal taxes, the Congressional Budget Office shows that the top 1% pay an average federal tax rate of 32%. The data show tax rates decline with income, and the poorest 20% of the population pay an average tax rate of just 1%. The left-leaning Tax Policy Center found similar results.”

Apparently the big disparity in federal tax rates between 32% and 1% isn’t unfair enough for activists to consider it fair.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 21, 2021 at 4:37 AM

14 Responses

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  1. The golden grasses complement the plants as much as the sky, and those red stems are a great accent. Prior to Hurricane Nicholas, I found quite a stand of seaside goldenrod beginning to form buds; its time is coming.

    Speaking of the storm, at Brazoria last weekend I found the storm surge had made it all the way inland to the auto tour road. Apart from the flattened grasses, there was an assortment of things like crab trap floats, lids for plastic storage bins, and a bait stand sign caught in the grasses. Some of the roads still are closed, but at least the refuge was open. Apparently San Bernard and Brazos Bend still were closed on the weekend because of downed trees and such.


    September 21, 2021 at 6:14 AM

    • Ah, I remember your seaside goldenrod. It’ll soon be two years—and a very strange two years at that. Speaking of the years passing, the better part of a decade ago we discussed backing up our WordPress posts. At the time, I’d periodically been copying and pasting my posts, including comments, into MS Word documents. I seem to remember you said you’d not recently been backing up your posts but probably should. Some time after that interchange I got out of the habit, and years went by. Finally last week I bestirred myself and have been slowly working my way back through my many WordPress posts, copying and pasting into Word documents, each holding one month of posts. I’ve currently made it back to April 2019, with years still to go. Tedious as it is, you may want to do something similar. What if WordPress suddenly goes broke and everything disappears?

      Golden grasses are such a big part of autumn in Texas. I get a sense they’re not played up enough in popular culture.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 21, 2021 at 7:56 AM

      • One side-effect of backing up posts in reverse is that I’ve realized how quickly the past two years have gone by. In looking at many of the pictures I’ve felt like I took them just the other day.

        Steve Schwartzman

        September 21, 2021 at 8:06 AM

  2. I love the perspective from the ground level in that first photo. So many beautiful colors on the prairie this time of year. Goldenrod is in full bloom here and is putting off a spectacular show.


    September 21, 2021 at 7:03 AM

    • You’re significantly north of us, so I’m not surprised your goldenrod has been busy doing its thing. Down here increasingly many goldenrods are budding, and a few here and there have begun flowering. We drove around scouting the other day so I could make mental notes of promising places to come back to in a couple of weeks.

      You’ve seen how often I get down low or even lie on the ground for a different perspective on nature. It’s the way many animals see the world.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 21, 2021 at 8:02 AM

  3. I love that perspective. The greens, white, and yellow gold look so fresh and lovely against the blue sky.


    September 21, 2021 at 7:35 AM

  4. With this low perspective, even the lowliest tiny plant can look like giant trees. It pays off to humble oneself every once in a while. Haha!

    Peter Klopp

    September 21, 2021 at 9:30 AM

    • Then I must be very humble by now, given how often I get down on the ground to take nature pictures.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 21, 2021 at 9:49 AM

  5. Another nice spot lost, or soon to be, to development. Pretty soon you’ll have to travel far for what you now can do locally.

    Steve Gingold

    September 21, 2021 at 5:18 PM

    • I only just discovered this piece of land in Elgin, which has streets already laid out and houses going up. On the good side for me as a nature photographer, in Austin we still have parks and greenbelts that won’t be built on, so I’ll never run out of individual subjects. What I’m finding in shorter supply is broad fields filled with wildflowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 21, 2021 at 5:28 PM

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