Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Rain lily on the cusp of winter

with 60 comments


While we normally and understandably focus on the flowers of rain lilies (Zephyranthes sp.), I considered myself lucky on December 21st to at least find the green leaves of one as winter was about to begin. I think you’ll agree the raindrops didn’t hurt.


⥥      ⥥      ⥥


Konstantin Kisin, a short clip of whom I linked to yesterday, recently participated in a debate at the Oxford Union in England. A nine-minute video shows him giving reasons why “This House Believes Woke Culture Has Gone Too Far.” Since the posting of that video nine days ago it has gotten over 700,000 views and over 3000 comments on the Oxford Union’s YouTube channel. The video clip has been reposted on many other websites as well. (Update: here’s a transcription of Kisin’s speech.) You can also read an ABC television station’s article about Kisin’s performance at the debate.


© 2023 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 22, 2023 at 4:31 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , ,

60 Responses

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  1. “a collective fermented memory of the last ten thousand visits”….lolol And your photo is striking. Thanks, Steve. 🙂

  2. Exceptional photo, my friend! 👌

    marina kanavaki

    January 22, 2023 at 4:50 AM

  3. As always, spellbindingly beautiful photography!

    Rei Clearly

    January 22, 2023 at 5:40 AM

    • My interest in words just sent me to the dictionary, where I learned that the adjectival form spellbound, meaning ‘bound by a spell,’ came first. It’s attested in 1785. From spellbound English speakers inferred the existence of the previously non-existent verb to spellbind, which is attested in 1808.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 22, 2023 at 6:47 AM

      • I use it to mean, transfixed, as if by a spell on a image of the creation of an artist. The artist being a captor of sorts, and through sealing the image in form, casts a spell, which transfixes the eyes of those beholden to it.

        Rei Clearly

        January 22, 2023 at 6:56 AM

        • You used the word well. I didn’t mean to imply anything wrong with it. I’m just spellbindingly interested in word origins (along with photography).

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 22, 2023 at 7:01 AM

          • Me too! Thus the explanation! I like to play with lesser known use, also the reason for the explanation. Thank you for taking an interest, I love discussing word use. 😛

            Rei Clearly

            January 22, 2023 at 7:56 AM

      • Thanks for the interesting info! And re-kindling the fire in my soul that is ignited by researching the history of words! Love it!

        Rei Clearly

        January 22, 2023 at 8:25 AM

  4. Lovely photograph! Nature’s details are fascinating and beautiful – love to see them in closeup.

    Ann Mackay

    January 22, 2023 at 6:43 AM

    • Thanks. As so often, my macro lens let me get in close for the details. Flash let me stop down for good depth of field and sharpness throughout.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 22, 2023 at 6:51 AM

  5. Raindrops at the start of winter? Not unusual for the state of Texas. But raindrops in BC in January? That is remarkable. Your photo shows the droplets in a fantastic range of sizes. That is what I find unusual.

    Peter Klopp

    January 22, 2023 at 9:47 AM

    • On average Austin gets several days in December when the temperature drops below freezing. That means most of the time we stay above freezing, so any precipitation then is in the form of rain or drizzle. I agree with you that the different drop sizes all together create an appealing mix.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 22, 2023 at 7:39 PM

  6. I love the drops, the different shades of green, and the patterns the drop magnify.


    January 22, 2023 at 10:14 AM

    • That magnification sure is a nice feature, one I rarely get to take advantage of. How could I resist?

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 22, 2023 at 7:48 PM

  7. The raindrops on leaves make a beautiful, artistic composition, Steve.

    Lavinia Ross

    January 22, 2023 at 11:12 AM

    • The Sound of Music calls for raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Here the drops were on rain lily leaves and the whiskers on me.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 22, 2023 at 7:50 PM

  8. Very nice find! Great eye seeing the potential in this one. Love it.

    Todd Henson

    January 22, 2023 at 11:28 AM

    • I’d stopped at that spot to photograph some prickly pear cactus. I wouldn’t have expected rain lily leaves in December, so they came as a welcome surprise, especially droplet-covered as they were. Once I spotted that, no way was I not going to take pictures of it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 22, 2023 at 7:53 PM

  9. Very cool, I like this shot a lot!

    Robert Parker

    January 22, 2023 at 11:56 AM

    • Me too. I don’t recall ever photographing rain lily leaves with droplets on them, so the novelty was part of the appeal.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 22, 2023 at 8:04 PM

  10. A stunning shot Steve.


    January 22, 2023 at 12:03 PM

    • Merci. I’m glad I went out photographing that morning. The droplet-covered rain lily leaves weren’t my only prize.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 22, 2023 at 8:12 PM

  11. Beautiful image, Steve!

    Eliza Waters

    January 22, 2023 at 3:25 PM

    • Thanks. Of the 19 takes I did on this theme, the picture I chose to show here was the one that came out the best.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 22, 2023 at 8:14 PM

  12. I like the abstract pattern and the drops, the black background looks especially fitting.

    Alessandra Chaves

    January 22, 2023 at 8:40 PM

    • You’ve seen how much I went for black backgrounds in the past year or two. It’s a good way to isolate and highlight a subject. Now if Austin could only get more rain: we finished 2022 with something like 10 inches below average.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 23, 2023 at 5:36 AM

  13. What a beautiful image. It’s interesting how the larger drops allow the green of the leaf to shine through, while the smaller drops are reflective. The slightly yellow edging of the leaves is pretty, too; it’s a nice complement to the texture of the leaves.


    January 23, 2023 at 9:07 AM

    • Good observation. Maybe physicists have figured out the point at which growing drops stop reflecting and start acting like magnifying lenses. As for texture, there’s so much if it in the original that even the small, blog-size jpeg version of the picture had a file size of almost 600K. I did a screen capture of the image on my monitor and that version took up only 200K of storage space.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 23, 2023 at 9:35 AM

  14. More marvelous macrophotography!

    It is easy to overlook members of Zephyranthes when they are not in bloom.

    Thank you for sharing an example of how beautiful things can be found in simple forms. It is up to us to be more observant, alter our perspective and become inspired.

    Wally Jones

    January 23, 2023 at 9:36 AM

    • Thanks for your enthusiastic comment. This may have been the first time I ever photographed rain lily leaves without also taking pictures—much greater in number—of the flowers. The presence of raindrops compensated for the absence of flowers. I use a macro lens more than any of the others I own. As you said, a close look, even at seemingly simple things, often reveals a lot.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 23, 2023 at 9:52 AM

  15. This is resemblant of all those dewy grass blades I see in the summer. Yes, the drops do more than not hurt it.

    Steve Gingold

    January 23, 2023 at 10:36 AM

    • Yes, “the raindrops didn’t hurt” was an intentional understatement. Without the drops I probably wouldn’t have taken any pictures of the leaves. I wish we had dew here more often so I could get pictures of the grass blades you mentioned in that state.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 23, 2023 at 11:22 AM

  16. Really nice close-up and droplet pattern!


    January 23, 2023 at 11:15 AM

    • Thanks. Fortunately it wasn’t raining at the time. In fact the ground wasn’t even wet. Fortunately these leaves had retained their droplets, apparently from hours earlier.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 23, 2023 at 11:27 AM

  17. The raindrops didn’t hurt at all. Konstantin was the most persuasive debater but debating is about tactics and not necessarily facts. I did manage to listen to Konstantin’s speech but he lost my vote the moment he used the tactic (beloved of so many men when it comes to the climate debate) of belittling young Greta. It was a cheap shot and totally unnecessary to his argument. I would suggest that if he and his wife had been lucky enough to have a daughter he not only would have been prepared to fill her lungs with Co2 but he would have been prepared to ensure that people, like himself, didn’t denigrate her. Konstantin’s reference to malnutrition figures is also questionable because malnutrition in China refers to obesity as well, and China has a serious problem with obesity. I will stop there and enclose a link to the full debate in case anyone is interested in the many sides to the debate. It was very entertaining. https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2023/01/14/oxford-union-debates-whether-wokeness-has-gone-too-far-videos/


    January 25, 2023 at 11:54 PM

    • What you’ve said about malnutrition came as a surprise. Latin mal- means ‘badly,’ so the definition of malnutrition that I find given by the World Health Organization is in accord with etymology: “Malnutrition, in all its forms, includes undernutrition (wasting, stunting, underweight), inadequate vitamins or minerals, overweight, obesity, and resulting diet-related noncommunicable diseases.”

      However, my guess is that most English speakers, perhaps almost all, believe malnutrition refers exclusively to undernutrition or getting inadequate vitamins and minerals. That’s how I’ve always interpreted the term. Here’s how the first dictionary I checked just now, the Merriam-Webster, defines malnutrition: “faulty nutrition due to inadequate or unbalanced intake of nutrients or their impaired assimilation or utilization.” Here’s the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary: “a poor condition of health caused by a lack of food or a lack of the right type of food.” American Heritage Dictionary: “Poor nutrition because of an insufficient or poorly balanced diet or faulty digestion or utilization of foods.” Collins English Dictionary: “If someone is suffering from malnutrition, they are physically weak and extremely thin because they have not eaten enough food.”

      I could give more dictionary definitions but you get the point. The closest any of the dictionaries I consulted came to including overweight or obesity was: “[Malnutrition] can be caused by not getting enough to eat, or it can be caused by not eating enough healthy foods.” Even so, there’s no mention of being overweight or obese.

      An organization that communicates with the public needs to do so clearly. It shouldn’t use a word in a way that many or most people will interpret differently from what the organization means by the word. Just as I’ve never included overweight or obesity in my definition of malnutrition, and just as dictionaries don’t, I assume Kisin doesn’t, either. A statement by a group like the World Health Organization about the extent of malnutrition in China would lead Kisin and me (and a great many others) to overestimate the number of undernourished people there because we would think only undernourished people are included in the statistic being cited.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 26, 2023 at 6:55 AM

      • I guess there is a disconnect between how health departments, medical people and researchers use the term malnutrition and how it is generally used by the public. ( and defined in dictionaries ). I am not sure how I came to know that malnutrition includes obesity/overnutrition. Do I know too many doctors or nutritionists? Listen to too much public radio? Or read too many medical papers?


        January 26, 2023 at 8:20 AM

        • I’ll blame it on too much public radio.

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 26, 2023 at 8:26 AM

          • You can never listen to too much public radio! In my opinion anyway!

            Rei Clearly

            January 26, 2023 at 9:36 AM

            • I am an avid fan of public radio ( in NZ where I live ) but at the moment I am taking a break from radio and TV. I am enjoying radio silence.


              January 26, 2023 at 4:01 PM

              • Good for you! I just got access back! So that’s the reason for my response. Enjoy your break!

                Rei Clearly

                January 26, 2023 at 4:04 PM

          • Haha!


            January 26, 2023 at 3:51 PM

        • Too much or just enough? Can you ever know too much? 😛

          Rei Clearly

          January 26, 2023 at 9:32 AM

          • Good questions. My brain and I quibble about this all the time. I want to know more. My brain says, ” I will let that information in for today but I will have to delete what you learned yesterday. My circuits are wearing out from information overload.”


            January 26, 2023 at 4:06 PM

    • As for Greta, I believe her critics see her as being in the throes of a religious, cult-like fervor rather than as someone putting forth a rational argument. I’ve been recommending works by three people who all say that the changing climate is a problem but who are dispassionate about how we should be dealing with that problem. I listed them at the end of my August 5th post last year:

      Dobsonfly eggs

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 26, 2023 at 7:09 AM

  18. Yes, I acknowledge that Greta is sometimes seen in that way, and I accept that as a public figure she and her activities are open to criticism. What bothers me in the debate is the way in which Konstantin critiques her by using the term “Saint Greta”, a term which demeans and belittles Greta herself. It was unnecessary to his argument. In this recent interview, Konstantin expresses his views clearly and well on a number of topics. He is not trying to score points. At about 12.14 one can listen to Konstantin discussing the controversial “celebrity”, Andrew Tate, in a reasonable and unbiased way. If he can do this for someone as misguided as Tate, he should be able to extend the same courtesy to Greta. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzcRqSvMELA I enjoyed this interview.


    January 26, 2023 at 5:02 PM

    • You may have hit upon the reason for the difference in tone between the Oxford debate and the interview you linked to: the former was a debate, and so rhetoric is an expected element with a long historical tradition.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 26, 2023 at 10:10 PM

  19. You may or may not wonder why I am highlighting Konstantin’s use of the label, ‘Saint Greta’, it is because the labels and the language feed into a much wider problem of appalling abuse on social media of women in public positions. This is a hot topic in New Zealand at the moment. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/hatred-and-vitriol-jacinda-ardern-endured-would-affect-anybody/LRU56QO245FZLNJJFQY6TZ6AXU/


    January 26, 2023 at 5:34 PM

    • I wasn’t aware that this is a hot topic in New Zealand now, but it makes sense that it would be after the surprise announcement of Jacinda Ardern’s resignation (which by the way was reported in the media I watch here). I’ve made no study to quantify the criticism that comes people’s way based on the sex of the target. If it’s any consolation to you, I’ve heard people attach the title of Saint to men as well. Two recent examples that come to mind are Saint Anthony Fauci and Saint George Floyd.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 26, 2023 at 10:20 PM

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