Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

And a shotgun

with 30 comments


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

30 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. In the years you’ve been photographing wildflowers, have you ever been greeted this way before? Or was this a first.

    Robert Parker

    March 21, 2023 at 5:21 AM

  2. Ha, when I lived remotely and was alone during the day, there were times I greeted strangers with a shotgun. Not photographers though…


    March 21, 2023 at 5:31 AM

    • One problem is that from a distance it may be hard to tell who’s a photographer.

      I take it you never ended up blasting anyone.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 21, 2023 at 7:44 AM

      • Not telling😁but I don’t have a firearm these days so photographers are safe.


        March 21, 2023 at 4:27 PM

  3. I wonder if those mounds of sand are from gophers? Nice flower power image though it sounds like you ended up being a bit of a risk taker to get it!


    March 21, 2023 at 6:42 AM

    • I’ve wondered about the mounds. My assumption was ants, though most of the mounds didn’t show evidence of ants at the time I saw them. A few did. I hadn’t considered gophers, and I’m thinking you’ve had experience with them. I looked online just now and also found mention of moles. I didn’t find a specific mention of the mounds in south-central Texas like the one in this picture.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 21, 2023 at 7:52 AM

  4. A lady with a shotgun conjures images of the Wild West in me. I am glad you were not shot for trespassing, Steve.

    Peter Klopp

    March 21, 2023 at 9:36 AM

    • In some ways parts of Texas are still the Wild West. That said, I stayed entirely outside the fence, so I think I was safe.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 21, 2023 at 1:40 PM

  5. Being faced with a gun must have been very disconcerting. If it were me, I would not return to that spot, no matter how gorgeous the flowers.
    I’m glad you and your wife are safe!


    March 21, 2023 at 7:07 PM

  6. Stellar roadside attraction!
    From what I hear and read, firearms are part of rural TX culture. Wild west indeed!

    Eliza Waters

    March 21, 2023 at 7:35 PM

    • Yes, firearms are a fact of life out in those rural areas. In remote places where help may be far away, people feel the need to be protected.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 21, 2023 at 9:22 PM

  7. I confess that I laughed when I read of your encounter. On my last trip, I came upon a place that had a hand-lettered sign on the fence that said, “No Peddlers.” Since I wasn’t peddling anything, I figured I was safe. Your tale did remind me of one of my favorite photos of some early Texas women. : All I know is that their names were Katie and Alma, and their portrait was made in Austin, c.1895 at the studio of William O. Journeay. The photo’s in the Austin History Center; I found it via the Traces of Texas website. As our highway department likes to say, “Don’t mess with Texas” — and don’t mess with Texas women, either!


    March 21, 2023 at 8:42 PM

    • Katie and Alma in your picture from around 1895 don’t look all that different from the two women we encountered out at this homestead in 2023. Remove the hats and some of the bulky clothing, and you could hardly tell the difference. As you said: Don’t mess with Texas.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 21, 2023 at 9:44 PM

  8. What a lovely field of flowers!! I’m glad you didn’t get blasted too!


    March 22, 2023 at 7:52 PM

    • If I had, you wouldn’t have been reading this post.
      Yes, we’ve had lots [literally] of good floral displays so far and are hoping for plenty more.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 22, 2023 at 8:51 PM

  9. A photographer I know in Maine was photographing a barn once when greeted with a shotgun. Of course he had ignored the no trespassing sign so was deserving. He also did not get shot but he didn’t get the shot either. Once when I was riding with an ex-girlfriend we came across the first bee balm we had ever seen at the edge of the road. We stopped to look at it and the same scenario was described to us. They had people stop and pick the flowers so, although sans weaponry, they were very protective but like you, we were permitted to admire.

    Steve Gingold

    March 24, 2023 at 1:58 PM

    • In this case I don’t recall a No Trespassing sign but the barbed wire sent the same message. Had I crossed the barbed-wire fence instead of staying outside, my reception would probably have been a lot more hostile. I’ve assumed it’s all right to walk in the strip between the road and a parallel fence, and that’s where I’ve gotten and continue getting many good pictures over the years. At the same time, I have to pass up a lot of places with potentially good pictures because of the fences around them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 24, 2023 at 3:00 PM

      • I will not trespass if it is obviously private property even in there is no signage. I am even hesitant to shoot into someone’s yard unless it is huge and most apparently untended. From what I know of property designations, what you’re describing is considered in most towns and cities the tree belt (even if there is no sidewalk) which is town land although property owners are allowed to mow it or plant flower beds.

        Steve Gingold

        March 24, 2023 at 3:44 PM

        • Yes, the tree belt in a town or a city. I don’t know what the technicalities are out in the country, where that belt is usually much broader than it could be in town.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 24, 2023 at 3:50 PM

  10. That’s a gorgeous palette of colors. I can certainly understand why you were drawn to it. And glad to hear the encounter with the shotgun went well.

    Todd Henson

    April 9, 2023 at 11:11 AM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: