Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for March 21st, 2023

Two more wildflower extravaganzas

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From March 13th adjacent to the McKeller Cemetery along US 183 in Gonzales comes this floral panorama of sandyland bluebonnets (Lupinus subcarnosus), bladderpod (Lesquerella sp.), lazy daisies (Aphanostephus skirrhobasis), and phlox (Phlox drummondii). A few miles north of there I’d indulged in the classic combo of bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) and Indian paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa). Click to enlarge each picture.




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I’ve been reading Superabundance, a 2022 book by Marian L. Tupy and Gale Pooley. They make the point that, despite predictions of doom and gloom, the world has been improving:

Let’s start with income, for richer societies can afford more food, better healthcare, higher levels of education, and so on. Between 1950 and 2019, the average income per person in the United States rose from $15,001 to $63,233, or 322 percent. In the United Kingdom, it rose from $12,008 to $44,960, or 274 percent. Between 1952 and 2019, the population-weighted average global income per person rose from $4,063 to $18,841, or 364 percent (all figures are in 2018 U.S. dollars).

Increased prosperity was not confined to developed nations. Some of the world’s poorest countries benefited handsomely from income growth over the last few decades. The growth in Chinese incomes, from $238 in 1952 to $19,800 in 2019, amounts to a staggering 8,219 percent. India saw its average income rise from $930 to $8,148, or 776 percent. Even sub-Saharan Africa, the world’s poorest region, saw its income per person rise from $2,222 to $3,866, or 74 percent (all figures are again in 2018 U.S. dollars).

Except for a handful of war-torn African countries, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and failing socialist countries, such as Venezuela, real incomes rose throughout the world over the last half-century—often substantially.

Now, consider the population-weighted average global life expectancy, which rose from 52.6 years in 1960 to 72.4 years in 2017, or 37.6 percent. In the United States, it rose from 69.8 years to 78.5 years, or 13 percent. In the United Kingdom, it rose from 71.1 years to 81.2 years, or 14 percent.

Once again, the world’s poorest nations experienced some of the greatest life expectancy gains: China, from 43.7 years to 76.4 years, or 75 percent; India, from 41.2 years to 68.8 years, or 67 percent; and sub-Saharan Africa, from 40.4 years to 60.9 years or 51 percent. There is not a single country in the world where life expectancy was lower in 2017 than it was in 1960.


© 2023 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 21, 2023 at 4:30 PM

Posted in nature photography

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And a shotgun

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After we turned for home along on FM 1117 northward from Nixon on March 13th we kept seeing more gorgeous roadside wildflower displays. By then, though, we’d been out for many an hour, I’d stopped plenty of times for pictures already, and the sky had largely clouded over (as you saw in a picture yesterday). March 15th found us back there a little earlier and with better light, so this time I pulled over at a property that had caught my fancy two days before.

Walking back and forth outside the fence, I took pictures of the wildflowers. Lost in my photographing as I was, I didn’t notice that at some point two women had come out and that one carried a shotgun. Eve saw them and waved to them to show that we were friendly. Eventually one of the women called out to me but I gestured that I couldn’t hear what she was saying. She walked over to me at the fence and confirmed that all I was doing was taking pictures of the wildflowers. She said they’d had trouble with people coming on the property, so they were leery. In any case, I didn’t get blasted, and all’s well that ends well.

The yellow flowers are Texas groundsel (Senecio ampullaceus), the pink are phlox (Phlox drummondii), and the orange are Indian paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa). Little mounds of sand like the one in the foreground are a common feature in that region.


© 2023 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 21, 2023 at 4:31 AM

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