Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Non-minimalist and minimalist fall color

with 19 comments

I think you’ll agree that the top picture, which shows backlit leaflets of flameleaf sumac
(Rhus lanceolata) against a blue sky, exhibits non-minimalist fall color.

Mature grasses offer up fall color on a small scale. That was the case with this hairy grama (Bouteloua hirsuta) seed head that I photographed on a redder-than-usual stalk. I also noticed a single spike of gayfeather (Liatris punctata var. mucronata) that had turned fluffy and that the sun lit up.

All three pictures are from November 22nd on the same property
that provided the pictures you recently saw of ladies’ tresses orchids.


⦿              ⦿


Free expression keeps meeting suppression. Canada seems to be as bad as the United States.

Toronto School Board cancels Yazidi Nobel Peace Prize winner because
her account of being a sex slave at the hands of ISIS ‘would foster Islamophobia’

The Toronto School Board also canceled high-profile criminal defense lawyer Marie Hunein.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 12, 2021 at 4:28 AM

19 Responses

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  1. You have really enjoyed your Flameleaf Sumac this season.

    Steve Gingold

    December 12, 2021 at 4:51 AM

  2. these are lovely choices and as for Canada…. people, come on


    December 12, 2021 at 6:06 AM

    • The first is particularly ironic, given the value that the cancellers place on “lived experience” in other matters.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 12, 2021 at 6:41 AM

  3. I’ve really missed seeing sumac — and all the other hill country treats — this year. Your image certainly presents it well, and I like the added line of red around the image that highlights but doesn’t detract. The purple-ish seed head of the hairy grama combines well with the red stem, too.

    I couldn’t help wondering if the spider itself was hidden away inside that Liatris.


    December 12, 2021 at 7:17 AM

    • Leave it to you to notice the thin red line, which is 2 pixels wide. I’m sorry you weren’t in a position to see equally colorful sumac this year. As for the spiderwebbed Liatris, sometimes I’ve managed to find and photograph the spiders that made the webs on my specimens, and other times not, either because the maker was in an inaccessible place or because the maker was long gone.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 12, 2021 at 1:28 PM

  4. Minimalistic or not, these photos are great pieces of photographic art, Steve.

    Peter Klopp

    December 12, 2021 at 8:13 AM

  5. The top one is stunning. I love the veins, light, and variation in the colors. I also love how you found fall color in TX!!


    December 12, 2021 at 9:22 AM

    • Flameleaf sumac sits at the top of my list in Austin for reliable fall foliage. I look forward to it each autumn and have rarely been disappointed.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 12, 2021 at 1:45 PM

  6. Wow, that sumac really glows! And the other two images are delightfully subtle and intimate portraits of the plants.

    Ann Mackay

    December 12, 2021 at 11:20 AM

    • It’s the backlighting that makes the flameleaf sumac leaflets glow that way. They’re often pretty in reflected light as well, but nothing beats light passing through them. Subtlety has its value too, as you’ve pointed out.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 12, 2021 at 1:47 PM

      • I love backlighting with autumn colours.

        Ann Mackay

        December 13, 2021 at 4:27 AM

        • I took advantage of backlighting with several other kinds of leaves in two locations yesterday.

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 13, 2021 at 5:46 AM

  7. All are lovely photos. I noticed the webbing in the gayfeather and that’s something I’ve seen before in gayfeathers. I wonder if little spidey predators are particularly well hidden on this flower stalk?


    December 12, 2021 at 6:13 PM

    • Merci. I’ve think I’ve seen spider webbing or silk on just about every kind of plant out there. Sometimes I’ve glimpsed the spider, whether in the open or partly concealed by the plant. Other times no spider was present at all.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 12, 2021 at 7:59 PM

  8. My vote falls on the side of the non-minimalist flameleaf sumac. The red against the blue epitomises fall for me.


    December 12, 2021 at 8:29 PM

    • It’s hard to resist colors as rich as those in the opening view. They’re certainly emblematic of fall.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 12, 2021 at 8:41 PM

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