While philosophers and fatalists hold that all things must eventually come to an end, it’s also true that everything we create must have a beginning. In September of 2010 I started a column about one of my interests, etymology (see wordconnections.wordpress.com). But I’ve long had several passions, and since I’m always me, they occasionally bleed into one another. Sometimes I’ve purposely made that happen: even while writing about word origins, I’ve managed to include photographs of prairie verbena, coral honeysuckle, Texas vervain, zexmenia, Texas bindweed, rain-lily, and some other wildflowers that grow natively in central Texas.
To put an end to any subterfuge, I’m now (in June of 2011) beginning a column devoted overtly to nature photography, a pursuit on which I spend even more time than I do on etymology. In the twelve years that I’ve been at it, I’ve come to think of my body of work as Portraits of Texas Wildflowers, although I’ve photographed many things in nature that aren’t strictly flowers but are usually connected in space or time, directly or indirectly, to flowers: leaves, insects, trees, lichens, plants drying out, spiders, fruit, tendrils, seeds, etc.
Follow this column and you’ll see nature as I’ve come to see it in this part of the world, which is Austin and vicinity. That said, almost all of the plants shown here do have a wider range than central Texas. Most grow in at least some other parts of Texas; many can be found in adjacent states and northern Mexico; and a few are native in large parts of the United States and even as far north as Canada and as far south as Central or even South America.
The emphasis will be on the photographs themselves, each of which we are told is worth a thousand words, but along the way I’ll occasionally talk technique so you can learn how I took, and sometimes how I suffered in taking, a certain picture. The fact that the photographs are from central Texas, a part of the world not known for scenery on the order of Yosemite or Yellowstone, is proof that you can find wonders wherever you live. All you have to do is look.
Update in 2015:
Speaking of looking, in the last few years I’ve occasionally had a look at some parts of the world other than central Texas. When that has happened, I’ve interrupted the flow of Texas pictures with some nature photographs from those other places. As a result, posts have appeared here showing Massachusetts, west Texas, the American Southwest, and New Zealand.
© 2011 Steven Schwartzman