Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Search Results

Old plainsman, phlox, and other wildflowers

with 19 comments

Old Plainsman, Phlox, and Other Wildflowers 7832

On April 4th along FM 467 southwest of Seguin I saw some old plainsman (Hymenopappus spp.) coming up and towering over the other wildflowers. The magenta flowers are phlox (Phlox spp.). Mixed in are some Indian paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa) and bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis).


I’m out of town for a few days. Feel free to leave comments, but it may take me a while to answer them.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 14, 2014 at 6:01 AM

Like shooting Texas wildflowers in the spring

with 38 comments

Phlox and Other Wildflowers 7873

Click for greater clarity.

I’ve always thought it strange when people use the expression “like shooting fish in a barrel.” To my mind that would lead to a shattered barrel and a wet floor, so to indicate that something is easy I’d rather say it’s like shooting (with a camera, of course) Texas wildflowers in the spring. Texas is known for its fields of densely mixed wildflowers, and here’s a first take on that for 2014. On April 4th I finally bit the bullet (but not the one that broke the barrel with the fish in it) and headed south to see some of the floral fields I’d begun reading reports about on the Internet. Sure enough, once I got as far as Interstate 10, about an hour south of Austin, I began finding plenty of roadside yards and fields covered with wildflowers.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to select some of the photographs from that trip and blend them in with others I’d already been preparing for these pages. My thinking is that if I showed you day after day of flower-filled fields it’d be too much of a good thing (and that’s another expression we can therefore avoid).

This first mixture is from FM 467 southwest of Seguin. The magenta flowers are phlox (Phlox spp.). The yellow are Texas dandelions (Pyrrhopappus pauciflorus). The red are Indian paintbrush (Castilleja indivisa). The blue are some passing-their-prime bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis). The closely bunched slender stems with small violet flowers on them are Texas vervain (Verbena halei). Quite a sight, no?

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 6, 2014 at 5:30 AM

Not an April Fool’s joke

with 47 comments

The color of the phlox (Phlox spp.) we saw on March 27th in various places southeast of San Antonio really was as vibrant as shown here. (Contrast that with the normal colors of the foliage.) You’re looking slightly uphill at one part of the large wildflower meadow in the V between FM 775 and FM 321 not far outside the town of La Vernia. By getting low to the ground I took advantage of the slope to conceal two buildings and leave nothing but wildflowers, trees, sky, and clouds showing.

When I faced in the opposite direction, toward the sun, I photographed the phlox colony sloping gently down into at least as dense a colony of Indian paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa) that looked more orange than usual. The blue flowers interspersed in both colonies were sandyland bluebonnets (Lupinus subcarnosus).

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 1, 2019 at 4:33 AM

Categorically phantasmasepulchrofloragorical*

with 59 comments

On March 21st, three days after spending time at the wildflower-covered cemetery in New Berlin, we reveled in the Sand Branch Cemetery on FM 2504 west of Poteet in Atascosa County. This time the dense wildflowers were even more widespread than before.

The first photograph sets the scene, while the second and third emphasize the way some of the tombstones were engulfed in a sea of wildflowers.

The other two pictures highlight the profuse wildflowers in their own right.

The red flowers are Indian paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa). The yellows are Nueces coreopsis (Coreopsis nuecensis) and also some sort of daisy with a smaller flower head.

The purplish blue flowers are sandyland bluebonnets (Lupinus subcarnosus). The magenta flowers are a species of Phlox. The whites are white prickly poppies (Argemone albiflora) and a kind of smallish daisy.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

* I’d come up with sepulchrofloral while preparing this post and Susan Scheid independently created phantasmafloragorical to describe the previous cemetery views, so I hybridized the two hybrids.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 28, 2019 at 4:43 AM

Following leads to the southeast

with 47 comments

After I published a post last week entitled “Not a good year for bluebonnets,” three people locally gave me reports on places where wildflowers are currently looking good. In “Bluebonnets redeem themselves” you saw the results of following Agnes Plutino’s lead to the northeast. Craig78681 and Betty Wilkins mentioned places to the southeast, and yesterday I headed that way. The picture above confirms that their leads panned out. I took the photograph on the north side of FM 1327 just west of US 183 in Creedmoor*. By now you recognize the bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis). Mixed in with them are pink evening primroses (Oenothera speciosa), not fully open because of the persistent breeze. The yellow spots are Texas dandelions (Pyrrhopappus pauciflorus). This is how Texas is supposed to do spring wildflowers.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

* Having grown up on Long Island, I always think of Creedmoor as a mental hospital.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 11, 2018 at 4:44 AM

The background moves to the foreground

with 6 comments

The white in the background at the top of yesterday’s photograph came from the rocky cliffs along Capital of Texas Highway north of FM 2222. The most recent cliff faces were formed about 40 years ago when the roadbed was cut through for the highway.

In the four decades since then, the forces of rain, seep water, gravity, wind, sun, bacteria, and no doubt other things have been at work in some places to alter the vertical face of the exposed rocks. This post shows three of those textured areas as they looked on June 19th.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 30, 2017 at 5:00 AM

Not rain

with 17 comments


A well-known feature at Utah’s Zion National Park is Weeping Rock, where water seeps out of the upper part of a rocky overhang. When we visited the place last year on October 22nd I got behind the plane of the dripping water and looked outward through it. A slow shutter speed of 1/40 second let the falling drops leave bright trails that contrasted with the wispy clouds visible above the adjacent mountain.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 11, 2017 at 5:08 AM

Basket-flowers and firewheels

with 18 comments

Basket-Flowers and Firewheels 8743

Click for greater clarity.

In the early spring I showed you some dense Texas wildflowers, and now I’m interrupting the pictures from Bastrop for the next several days to catch you up on some more-recent “colonial” pictures from later in the spring, even though today already marks the official beginning of summer. Oh well, the seasons lag the sun, so I can lag the seasons.

Today’s wowee-zowee photograph is from May 24th, when for the third year in a row at the intersection of Meister Ln. and Schultz Ln. in southernmost Round Rock I visited this great colony of basket-flowers, Centaurea americana. The red and yellow flowers in the background are Gaillardia pulchella, known as firewheels and Indian blankets.

If you’re interested in photography as a craft, you’ll find that points 2, 6 and 15 in About My Techniques are relevant to this photograph.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 21, 2014 at 6:00 AM

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: