Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘color

The Junior League of Austin shows its true colors

with 30 comments

I was sorry a couple of years ago when a property on Bluffstone Drive where I’d been taking nature pictures for a few years became a construction site. Once the building went up, I learned it was the new home of the Junior League of Austin’s Community Impact Center. When we drove by there on May 29th it was apparent that the people in charge of landscaping the site value local native plants and had sown a nice mix of them. The photograph above shows the eye-catching wildflowers fronting Bluffstone Drive. The stacked purple tiers are Monarda citriodora, known as horsemint or beebalm. The red-centered ones with yellow fringes are Gaillardia pulchella, called firewheel or Indian blanket. Here’s a portrait of one of them:

A little later I walked over to one side of the building and found a somewhat spiderwebbed brown-eyed susan, Rudbeckia hirta, among other wildflowers.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 27, 2020 at 4:38 AM

Pushing into colorful abstraction

with 40 comments

Click to enlarge.

For the past few months I’ve often found myself pushing into abstractions that are more about color and shape than about their ostensible subjects. From Great Hills Park on June 15th, here’s that kind of take on a Mexican hat (Ratibida columnifera) and a basket-flower (Plectocephalus americanus).

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 22, 2020 at 4:41 AM

Firewheel edge-on

with 31 comments

On the morning of May 25th I went out to an area where there still wasn’t much light. Even at a high ISO, all I could manage was an aperture of f/4, so I decided to go for some limited-focus portraits like this one of a firewheel, Gaillardia pulchella, with dewdrops on it.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 20, 2020 at 4:48 AM

A damaged Mexican hat

with 39 comments

On May 19 at a “vacant” lot in northwest Austin I found a damaged Mexican hat, Ratibida columnifera. It no longer fit the species name, which means ‘column-bearing,’ because something had broken off most of its central column, and in addition (actually subtraction) only one ray floret remained. The plant’s losses became my photographic gain. The intact wildflower shining huefully in the background was Gaillardia pulchella, known as a firewheel or Indian blanket. This is another picture that’s at least as much about color as form.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 8, 2020 at 4:43 AM

Mexican hat on a strangely curving stalk

with 24 comments

From a “vacant” lot in northwest Austin on May 19th comes this Mexican hat (Ratibida columnifera) on a stalk that had curved so far it left the developing flower head upside down. The saturated reds and yellows of the greenthread (Thelesperma filifolium) and Indian blanket (Gaillardia pulchella) in the background make this picture as much about color as form.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 1, 2020 at 4:39 AM

Rainbows don’t get named

with 36 comments

Waterfalls get named. Mountains get named. Rivers get named. Deserts get named. Even people get named. Rainbows, those ephemeral creatures, get no names. Here a necessarily nameless rainbow I saw near 5 in the afternoon on May 28th after we came down from the windy top of Scott’s Bluff National Monument in western Nebraska. Whether the grasses are native, I don’t know, but the rainbow surely was.

It seems like two or even three rainbows banded together here, and I don’t know how to account for that. In checking my archives, I can confirm that multiple rainbows show up in all of the eleven pictures I took.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 1, 2017 at 5:01 AM

Not just reddish-orange

with 24 comments


The reddish-orange sandstone so common at Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada serves as an excellent substrate for lichens of contrasting colors, as you see in these two photographs from our October 24th visit. You can click either picture to get greater size and more details.


© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 25, 2016 at 4:59 AM

A vivid horsemint

with 13 comments

Horsemint Flowering by Clasping-Leaf Coneflowers and Firewheels 4657

In the previous post the indistinct purple in the background came from horsemints (Monarda citriodora). Now here’s a focused look at one of them, again in the Balcones District Park on May 13th. Pretty rich, huh? The supporting yellow belonged to clasping-leaf coneflowers (Dracopis amplexicaulis) and the red to the usual Indian blankets (Gaillardia pulchella).

Note: I’m away from home and will be for a while. Please understand if I’m late replying to your comments.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 14, 2016 at 5:03 AM


with 23 comments

Tiny Beetles Mating on Firewheel 0136

Two of the most familiar wildflowers in Texas are the firewheel (Gaillardia pulchella) and the bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis), both of which you’ve already seen here more than once this year. The main reason I’m showing you this picture now is the action taking place in the firewheel’s red light disktrict.

Clicksy-doodle for some hanky-panky:

Tiny Beetles Mating on Firewheel 0136A

This photograph is from April 4 along Bluegrass Dr. in my northwest part of Austin.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 10, 2016 at 4:56 AM

The foreground becomes background

with 8 comments

Wild Garlic Bud by Cedar Sage Flowers 0230

The species that was the subject of the last post—Salvia roemeriana, cedar sage—served up its flowers on a different day in a different place as an amorphous but colorfully saturated background for a bud of wild garlic, Allium drummondii, that was beginning to open. Say April 4 along Bluegrass Dr. and you’ll have it right.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 18, 2016 at 4:59 AM

%d bloggers like this: