Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Sinuous, dry, mysterious

with 8 comments

A bit of mealy blue sage (Salvia farinacea) was flowering in the northeast quadrant of Mopac and US 183 on August 14th. Even more than the fresh flowers, this sinuous dry seed stalk caught my photographic fancy.


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I call your attention to Harlyn De Luna’s August 8th article for The Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism, “Speech isn’t violence; it’s how we avoid it.” The article is in line with something I’ve been pointing out in recent commentaries: the way transgressive activists do violence to our language by pushing to redefine familiar words in ideological ways. Among the most flagrant attempts at redefinition have been man, woman, and mother. De Luna’s article focuses on another: violence. The word’s meaning has always been grounded in physical force, even if writers have used it metaphorically from time to time (as I did two sentences ago when I wrote about doing violence to our language). Now activists want to sever the word from physical reality altogether, so that any idea they disagree with is automatically “violence.” They even go one step further with the rhyming slogan “Silence is violence.” Not only does saying something that the activists disagree with count as violence, so does saying nothing at all. You must mouth the statements they want you to mouth or else you’re committing an act of violence.

You’re welcome to read Harlyn De Luna’s article about that.


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 19, 2022 at 4:27 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , ,

8 Responses

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  1. I like the curves, the texture and the fact that the lower portion of the background suggests a foggy ground and the background is not completely black.

    Alessandra Chaves

    August 19, 2022 at 8:24 AM

    • I added the “mysterious” in the post’s title as a reference to that fog-like band across the bottom of the image. I was working outdoors in daylight with flash and a small aperture, so apparently the “fog” was just areas of dry (and therefore light-colored) vegetation that didn’t come out as dark as the more distant portion of the background did. In the five images I ended up with, the background black and gray have different configurations, so I might well be able to work one or more of those pictures into something good, too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 19, 2022 at 8:45 AM

  2. I’m getting better at spotting photos where you’ve used flash. The bell-like shape of the dried blooms brought to mind some lyrics from Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem” — “Ring the bells that still can ring…” These may have lost their color, but they kept their evocative shape.


    August 19, 2022 at 10:29 AM

    • Speaking of a ring, sometimes I incorporate that into flash via a ring flash. (Okay, those are two different words.) As much as I like the color of fresh mealy blue sage flowers, this picture was, as you said, mostly about shapes and minimal color.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 19, 2022 at 10:37 AM

  3. I photographed a caterpillar (Synchlora sp aka bagworm) today that resembles this mealy blue sage in a way. Your shot nicely captures the sinuosity of the drying plant.

    Steve Gingold

    August 19, 2022 at 10:48 AM

  4. The shape is wonderful, fine contrast and details as well. Didn’t realize you used flash much…


    August 20, 2022 at 4:01 PM

    • I’ve always used flash from time to time. In the past year or two I’ve found myself using it more.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 20, 2022 at 4:22 PM

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