Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 13 comments

On the morning of September 3rd in Manor I spent time in the Seasons at Carillon subdivision, which is still largely under construction. After no rain for a couple of months we finally got some by the end of August. I suspect a temporary rivulet had flowed over this patch of cracked ground on the Blackland Prairie and left a trace that looks like a tree trunk with prominent bark. At least that’s how my imagination sees it in this wide-angle view that looks almost straight downward. Not far away, the cracked ground had given rise to a snow-on-the-prairie plant, and in shades of green and brown had given a temporary second significance to the species epithet in Euphorbia bicolor.


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In American primary and secondary schools, if a student goes to the school nurse and complains of a headache, the nurse isn’t even allowed to give the student an aspirin without getting permission from the child’s parents. At increasingly many American schools, however, staff can call a student by a name that belongs to the opposite sex and can coach the student into wanting puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones—all while keeping those actions hidden from the child’s parents. If you think that couldn’t possibly be true, think again. In fact the broader situation is even worse than that, as a September 5th article by John Daniel Davidson explains.


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 12, 2022 at 4:30 AM

13 Responses

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  1. Cracked earth and checked wood can appear remarkably similar. In both cases, the fissures are fixtures.

    The solitary snow-on-the-prairie brings to mind the fields filled with the plant I came across yesterday. I’ve never seen it so thick; it truly did look like snow. I first noticed it around Brazoria refuge land, and thought it might have been encouraged by an earlier burn. Then, I realized it was covering private pastures, fencelines, and such with equal enthusiasm. Apparently it’s just having an exceptional year.


    September 12, 2022 at 6:13 AM

    • I’m happy for you. I’ve occasionally lived through years where the snow-on-the-prairie is as dense as you’ve described, and that profuseness must have led to the plant’s common name. Let’s hope some more of that profuse white comes our way this weekend.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 12, 2022 at 6:56 AM

  2. Interesting abstract pattern. These cracked ground pictures are often depressing in a way, make me think of severe drought.

    Alessandra Chaves

    September 12, 2022 at 8:01 AM

    • While we both photograph patterns for their abstractness, I understand how cracked earth might depress a person, especially someone like a farmer who depends on the land. In this case the recent rain had softened the ground a little, even in some places producing damp clay that I had to clean off the bottoms of my shoes before getting into my car later. In spite of the softening, the cracks remained sharply drawn and gave me material for pictures.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 12, 2022 at 8:16 AM

  3. Cool abstract! I saw leaf veins.


    September 12, 2022 at 8:48 AM

  4. Beautiful compositions, Steve. The snow-on-the-prairie plant growing amid the cracked earth was a nice catch.

    Lavinia Ross

    September 12, 2022 at 10:33 AM

    • Thanks. As many pictures as I’ve taken of snow-on-the-prairie in the past two decades, I don’t recall ever photographing one on parched ground like this. I’m always keen on finding new ways to portray familiar plants.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 12, 2022 at 3:39 PM

  5. Very unusual pictures of the parched earth! They conjure up abstract paintings in my eccentric imagination.

    Peter Klopp

    September 12, 2022 at 1:02 PM

  6. Nice. I’ve only photographed one mudcrack scene over the years but it also had some growth holding on to one of the solid spots.

    Steve Gingold

    September 13, 2022 at 3:01 AM

    • Some plants are capable of holding on in the seemingly most unlikely conditions. Cracked mud and cracked ground have long appealed to me as sources of abstract photographs. That was true again as recently as yesterday.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 13, 2022 at 6:00 AM

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