Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Look at the clouds. Look at the cliff.

with 29 comments


Look at the clouds. Look at the cliff. Look at the bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis). You might hardly notice those flowers. They’re there at the bottom, making up a tiny element of the picture. They don’t always get to be the stars in their pictures. Sometimes humility’s the watchword.

I photographed this cliffscape in Burnet County on March 17th.


© 2023 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 26, 2023 at 4:30 PM

29 Responses

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  1. I see them! That is a beautiful composition, Steve!

    Lavinia Ross

    March 26, 2023 at 5:13 PM

  2. They make an absolutely lovely bottom layer of blue violet!

    Birder's Journey

    March 26, 2023 at 5:39 PM

  3. One could say that the clouds and cliffs are sandwiched between the blue sky and blue bonnets.


    March 26, 2023 at 5:49 PM

  4. With blue at top and bottom of the image it creates a very positive synergy.

    Wonderful photograph.

    Wally Jones

    March 26, 2023 at 8:20 PM

  5. Bluebonnets are everywhere. They do just fine as first fiddle or third.

    Steve Gingold

    March 27, 2023 at 4:17 AM

  6. That’s a neat use of ‘humility.’ It occured to me that humilis often is used as a specific epithet for various low-growing plants, and your bluebonnets are ‘low-growing’ here. I grinned at your first sentences. “Look at the clouds. Look at the cliff…” brought to mind a thought of you as a tour guide for a group not at all attuned to the wonders of nature: so much so that they don’t know how to look around them to see natural wonders.


    March 27, 2023 at 8:44 AM

    • I appreciate your vote of confidence in me as a nature tour guide. There will always be so much I don’t know (said he with humility). Etymology reveals a lot here. Latin humus, which English has borrowed, meant ‘ground, earth.’ The derived adjective humilis would originally have meant ‘of the earth,’ and then ‘low, lowly, slight, insignificant, humble [from the French descendant of humilis, which picked up a b].’ Now look at English bridegroom, whose second part, which picked up an r, came from Old English guma, which meant ‘man.’ That guma was the cognate of Latin homo, which likewise meant ‘man.’ The original notion must have been of man as a creature of the earth.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 27, 2023 at 9:30 AM

  7. Yes, the clouds seem to mirror the cliff.

    Alessandra Chaves

    March 27, 2023 at 9:13 AM

  8. Goodness! Your pictures sometimes make me miss Oklahoma and all the space between here and there, . . . and I got nowhere near Austin. Bluebonnet resembles lupines that are native here, but they are alluring because they are unfamiliar.


    March 27, 2023 at 2:50 PM

    • Ah, the lure of the unfamiliar. You can always visit the Southwest.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 27, 2023 at 9:42 PM

      • Hey, I should get almost to Phoenix before summer. I have only driven across Arizona on Highway 40, so have never been near Phoenix. That is not Oklahoma though.


        March 29, 2023 at 10:46 PM

      • . . . Why is Arizona in the Southwest, but Los Angeles is not?


        March 29, 2023 at 10:47 PM

        • Geographically it is, but California dominates everything. It’s similar to Brooklyn and Queens being geographically on Long Island, but most people who say Long Island mean the portion of Long Island that’s not part of New York City.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 30, 2023 at 8:23 AM

          • California dominates everything?! How many others are aware of this? I thought that it was my secret.


            March 31, 2023 at 12:42 AM

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