Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

An early-in-the-season and early-in-the-year look at fully fruited possumhaw

with 27 comments


On January 3rd I drove across town to Austin’s main post office to talk with a postal inspector about an unknown packet I received; it turned out to be our federal government spending our tax money to send us yet another round of Covid tests that I hadn’t specifically asked for. Afterwards, a few blocks away from the post office, I noticed a possumhaw tree (Ilex decidua) with a good amount of fruit on it. I also noticed how wispy the clouds were. So began my quest, carried out in at least four places that morning and early afternoon, to match up those two things in photographs.



I also took dozens of pictures of the clouds in their own right, so right did they look in the sky.




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Check out a four-minute video in which Konstantin Kisin describes a clever psychological experiment that shows how someone’s mindset can distort the person’s perception of reality. In particular, a belief in victimhood can lead a person to perceive victimization where there isn’t any.


© 2023 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 21, 2023 at 4:26 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , , , ,

27 Responses

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  1. You should have an album called “Things are looking up”.

    Steve Gingold

    January 21, 2023 at 4:29 AM

    • One advantage of aiming straight up, as I did for some of my cloud pictures, is that there’s no longer any “proper” orientation. I kept turning the camera to look for attractive ways of getting clouds to fill the frame.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 21, 2023 at 7:07 AM

  2. Love your photos! Beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

    Rei Clearly

    January 21, 2023 at 5:13 AM

  3. Fascinating video – thanks, Steve.

  4. Really good video, never heard of him till now, thanks


    January 21, 2023 at 8:19 AM

  5. The second and third photos — and especially the second — look remarkably like seas, particularly the sort that are called ‘confused.’ Confused seas occur when sets of waves come from different directions across the same stretch of water, creating random ‘haystack’ waves like this. Strong, sudden windshifts often are involved. I’d far rather experience confused clouds than confused seas.


    January 21, 2023 at 8:40 AM

    • Now I know about “confused” seas. I hadn’t imagined the second image as maritime, but I can conceive it that way now that you’ve suggested it. Somebody might put together an exhibition of paired photographs, one of clouds and the other of the sea.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 21, 2023 at 9:08 AM

  6. If the clouds were part of the ocean’s surface, I would be worried about the stormy conditions. The possumhaw tree with its berries and the blue sky with its wispy clouds makes me think of a lovely autumn day.

    Peter Klopp

    January 21, 2023 at 9:21 AM

    • In many places it would have passed for a lovely autumn day, and yet it was January 3rd in mild Austin. Linda before you also saw connections to the sea, which I’d failed to see on my own.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 21, 2023 at 11:34 AM

  7. That is a beautiful photo of the possumhaw against a marbled sky, which is beautiful all on its own, too. We’ve got freezing fog and 28 degrees this morning up here. The fog was pink a short time ago.

    Lavinia Ross

    January 21, 2023 at 9:37 AM

    • This photographer would love to have a crack at freezing pink fog.

      I made dozens of portraits of clouds on their own that day; in originally preparing this post I showed one, then added another shortly before publication time.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 21, 2023 at 11:38 AM

  8. The red berries against the blue sky is wonderful!


    January 23, 2023 at 9:45 AM

    • Amen to that. I photographed another densely fruited possumhaw yesterday over an hour from home. While we were out for over 8 hours, it looks like the cedar waxwings reduced the berry supply on the yaupon tree outside my window. On Friday they’d started in on it but didn’t stay all that long.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 23, 2023 at 10:00 AM

  9. Thanks. I’m glad you found the video worthwhile.

    Steve Schwartzman

    January 23, 2023 at 9:54 AM

  10. Those are wonderful clouds! My camera loves clouds like that! That first image is a nice red, white & blue combo.


    January 23, 2023 at 11:16 AM

    • Your camera and mine must have had the same trainer back at the factory. Less facetiously I’ll say I’ve had a fondness for photographing clouds that goes back decades.

      I realized after I posted the top picture that it would have served well on the Fourth of July. Some years I’ve been sure to show a picture with red, white, and blue on that date.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 23, 2023 at 11:33 AM

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