Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Grasshopper central

with 31 comments

While at Tejas Camp in Williamson County on September 25th I though of calling the place “grasshopper central” for the many insects of that kind I saw ensconced on plants and jumping about. Here are two portraits of grasshoppers on river primrose plants (Oenothera jamesii).

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Yesterday I outlined a proposed Constitutional amendment of mine that would require legislators to read and understand bills before being allowed to vote on them. Actually that would be part of a larger amendment dealing with legislative bills. Here’s more of what I’d like to see included.

1. A legislative bill shall deal with only one subject.

2. The first line of the bill must state what that subject is, and it must conform to the general understanding among the public of what that subject includes.

3. For each pending Congressional bill, every sentence shall be identified by the name and position of the person or persons who wrote the sentence. If the writer(s) acted on behalf of or at the behest of some other person(s) or organization(s), those identifications must also be included.

4. Unless Congress by a three-quarter majority in each house separately declares a national emergency, the complete text of a bill must be released to the public and made readily available online at least 14 days before a bill is brought to a vote.

5. A non-partisan commission created by Congress shall thoroughly examine every final bill and remove all parts of it that don’t conform to points 1–3 above. The commission is also empowered to prevent, and must prevent, voting on any bill whose final form the public has not had easy access to for 14 days.

Point 1 is intended to eliminate the monstrous bills we now get that run to hundreds or even thousands of pages and that include a slew of unrelated things. Politicians too easily hide pet projects and controversial proposals in the welter of such “omnibus” bills. My idea is to have the legislature vote separately on each proposal or small group of related proposals. That would let the public know which legislators support which things.

Point 2 is intended to head off concept creep and gross semantic inflation. For example, the current administration has been referring to anything under the sun as “infrastructure,” e.g. “human infrastructure” and “family infrastructure,” whereas the normal use of the term “infrastructure” includes only physical structures like roads, bridges, airports, dams, power lines, railroads, ports, canals, and the like.

Point 3 is intended to reveal who is actually inserting provisions into a bill. As things stand now, the real promoters are often hidden from the public.

Point 4 is intended to give the public and the press a reasonable amount of time to find out what’s in a bill before it gets voted on.

Point 5 creates a neutral external body to enforce the provisions that members of Congress may be too pusillanimous to adhere to.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 2, 2021 at 4:32 AM

31 Responses

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  1. Wow, those grasshoppers are amazingly detailed!

    Ann Mackay

    October 2, 2021 at 6:30 AM

    • There’s a lot to see on a grasshopper once you take a close look. Both pictures are larger than life.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 2, 2021 at 7:43 AM

    • We get pretty big grasshoppers on our door. We go out side and we look closer and they are really detailed.


      October 16, 2021 at 8:59 AM

  2. These are great macros of grasshoppers feared by farmers for their voracious appetite.

    Peter Klopp

    October 2, 2021 at 8:12 AM

  3. That first photo makes clear the height difference between this primrose and the cutleaf primrose. It’s delightfully amusing. I can imagine the grasshopper landing and then thinking, “Wait. What? This isn’t what I intended.”

    The sharpness of the second photo gives a great view of those grasshopper details. They’re so complex, and interesting to me now. When I was a kid, I used to be afraid of grasshoppers. I suppose it was all that whirring and jumping. I’ve not seen many this year, but like a grasshopper, hope ‘springs’ — eternal or otherwise.


    October 2, 2021 at 9:46 AM

    • Being upside down didn’t stop this grasshopper from nibbling away at the flower, which I saw it doing. And yes, the height difference between the two evening-primrose-family species is apparent here; for once I didn’t have to get on the ground to take a picture like the first one, with clear sky in the background. In the second photograph I was especially pleased with the sharpness, at least on the front half of the grasshopper, including the near antenna. I can’t help wondering why there are so many designs and textures. It sounds like you’ve outgrown your childhood fear of grasshoppers, which don’t bother people (aside from eating their crops).

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 2, 2021 at 4:32 PM

  4. Fantastic shots, Steve. Quite an artistic grasshopper, to judge from the first picture. 😉
    Have a great weekend,


    October 2, 2021 at 9:53 AM

  5. Texture and design on your hopper is incredible

    Yoli B

    October 2, 2021 at 3:28 PM

  6. Fine portraits of the hoppers, the pose on the first one is excellent. I recognized the flower as primrose, though up here all I see are O. biennis.


    October 2, 2021 at 9:11 PM

    • I’m not familiar with that species, which I see makes it into far east Texas. As you say, there’s a pretty obvious family resemblance in all these evening-primrose flowers. As for the first picture, an upside-down pose is good for variety.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 2, 2021 at 10:20 PM

  7. Nice looks at your grasshoppers. The meadow I visit here for a variety of orchids, other flowers, and insects could also be given that name as one can hardly take a step with a few jumping ship with each foot forward.

    Steve Gingold

    October 3, 2021 at 12:49 PM

    • Some of my best-ever grasshopper pictures have come recently. I know what you mean about grasshoppers leaping about with each new human step forward.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 3, 2021 at 1:58 PM

  8. Great shots Steve .. have to ask, what lens were you using? Keep up the photographic appetite 🙂


    October 9, 2021 at 2:45 PM

    • For getting as close as this I use my Canon 100mm macro lens. Of the three lenses I normally carry around with me, the macro lens is by far the one I use the most often.

      The appetite hasn’t waned yet, as uncomfortable as outdoor Texas often is.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 9, 2021 at 3:43 PM

  9. Grasshopper wrangling is trending as a future profession. Those insects are a great source of protein.


    October 12, 2021 at 7:22 AM

    • If you’re gonna eat cows and chickens, there’s nothing illogical about eating grasshoppers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 12, 2021 at 8:15 AM

  10. Those are great photos! Taking photos is one of my hobbies!


    October 15, 2021 at 6:55 PM

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