Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Return to Lost Maples

with 17 comments


Normally for me a return to a distant scenic place means the passage of years or at least months. Not this time: the November 27th visit to Lost Maples State Natural Area about 150 miles west-southwest of Austin proved so colorful and photographically fruitful that we went back the very next morning. We’d spent the night in Kerrville and were therefore only an hour away, not the three hours away we’d have been if we’d returned to Austin on the 27th. Being a Monday, the place wasn’t mobbed the way it had been on the weekend, so reserving an entrance permit was easy.



Here are four views of bigtooth maples, Acer grandidentatum, from that second-day-in-a-row visit, when we initially walked a part of the West Trail, where the stripe of color shown in the top picture caught my attention. The second photograph shows the glowy advantage of backlighting. In the third view, notice all the ball moss, Tillandsia recurvata.



While physicists make much of black holes, the last photograph is one of a bunch I took
showing how blue holes sometimes emerge in the midst of all the colorful foliage.




§        §        §



Dictionary.com has chosen woman as its word of the year for 2022. You can read the reasons why, and in the process you’ll learn that the word in older English was the equivalent of wifeman*, where wife originally meant ‘female,’ whether married or not, and man was a generic term for ‘person,’ as in mankind and “Man does not live by bread alone.”

* In case you’ve ever wondered why the o in the plural women is pronounced like a short i, now you can see it’s a carry-over from the original form of the word. Why the first vowel in the singular form changed, I don’t know.


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 15, 2022 at 4:27 AM

17 Responses

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  1. Your blue hole among the leaves reminded me of the variety of watery blue holes around the world, including the Blue Hole of Santa Rosa in New Mexico. My favorite among the photos is the first; that sweep of vertical color is unusual. I wonder if the tree might have been naturally pruned over time, eliminating some of the branches that would have filled it out a bit. In any event, it’s quite striking.


    December 15, 2022 at 8:50 AM

    • There’s also a Blue Hole in Wimberley, not far from Austin.

      That narrow vertical sweep of colorful leaves certainly attracted me. I wonder if the last two February deep-freezes had anything to do with shaping the tree; on the other hand, I didn’t see any others quite like that one. Whatever caused it, I’m grateful for it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 15, 2022 at 6:55 PM

  2. I cannot think of greater opposites than the ominous black hole in far outer space and the blue patch in your magnificent tree picture.

    Peter Klopp

    December 15, 2022 at 9:39 AM

  3. Unfortunately, this year I missed out on a visit to Lost Maples. All the more I’m happy to see your pictures here.


    December 15, 2022 at 10:27 AM

    • Oh, I’m sorry you missed it, especially since you’re closer than we are. Fortunately there’s always next year.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 15, 2022 at 6:56 PM

  4. I’ve seen a lot of maples but these put on a great show, now I’d like to see this Texas breed and the bigleaf variety of the Pacific coast.

    Robert Parker

    December 15, 2022 at 10:48 AM

    • You can book your flight to Texas for next November. Actually it’s not that simple because the intensity varies from year to year and the peak comes at different times in different years; there’s no way to predict it. I kept looking at the weekly foliage report from there until it finally seemed the best time to pounce.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 15, 2022 at 6:59 PM

  5. Beautiful blue holes and bold colourful leaves. I like the choice of woman for word of the year. I hope that looking up the word woman has helped people to understand that ‘man’ means or meant ‘person’. Did you see these other words of the year? https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/emersonmalone/2022-words-of-the-year-goblin-mode?fbclid=IwAR3dSmgLnrZVvwnLHcEECpw7T6DoTWwLqG4GGFG_ohaAq8rfJvgNOAQorEw


    December 15, 2022 at 6:28 PM

    • No, I hadn’t seen other words of the year. Apropos of gaslighting, a few days ago we watched the 1940 movie version of Gaslight, which I hadn’t even known the existence of. It was good and starred Anton Walbrook and Diana Wynyard in the roles taken in 1944 by Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman in the super-well-known version. Why anyone felt the need to do a remake after just four years, I don’t know.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 15, 2022 at 7:36 PM

  6. All nice but as you know I like the combo of yellow/gold and blue and the last is all that.

    Steve Gingold

    December 24, 2022 at 4:08 PM

    • That blue hole captivated me. I took a bunch of pictures with different compositions and zooming.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 24, 2022 at 4:58 PM

  7. Wonderful blue holes … the colour of the foliage is divine


    December 26, 2022 at 3:13 AM

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