Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘humor

Portraits from our yard: episode 7

with 28 comments

Ashe juniper trees (Juniperus ashei) grow on all four sides of our house. What appealed to me about the one in our back yard shown above on July 22nd was the way two Virginia creeper vines (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) have flanked the trunk this year. That let me make a vertical “sandwich” of green-brown-green that thoroughly filled the frame. On the technical side, let me add that I took the picture from a distance and used my macro lens as a regular 100mm lens for a change. Below is an Ashe juniper in our front yard whose corrugated trunk always gets my attention. It, too, nicely fills a frame, with the corrugations offering countervailing horizontal elements to the predominant verticality of the image.

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And speaking of verticality, we hear a lot from activists about “white privilege,” but those ideologues are whitewashing the real problem: it’s not white privilege but height privilege. Tall people can reach things from high shelves without needing a stepladder. Tall people can see over the heads of others in crowds and theaters and stadiums. Tall people get to be on basketball teams. Getting the short end of the stick are non-tall men. According to an article on more.com,” a study… published in the Journal of Applied Psychology revealed that in the U.S., a six-foot-tall man makes an average of $790 more per year than his shorter peers do.” Women on average have a preference for taller men. Psychology Today reported on a study showing that “Men were most satisfied with women slightly shorter than them (about 3 in.), but women were most satisfied when they were much shorter than their male partners (about 8 in.)” On and on it goes, and it’s a real downer.

As an American man only 5’5″ tall, I get short shrift every minute of my life from a society poisoned by systemic heightism and toxic tallicity. According to an online height percentile calculator, I’m in the 8th percentile of American men, so I should have to pay only 8% of all the taxes I’m subject to. It’s also clear that reparations are owed me. I don’t want to seem vengeful, so it could be something as small as $1,000,000 for each year I’ve endured the degradation of being short. Every institution that caters to the public should have a safe space with a low entrance and a low ceiling where no tall people are allowed to enter; nobody’s gonna lord it over me there, no siree. A “bigger warning” should be posted everywhere I’m likely to encounter tall people. Whenever I’m waiting in line, all taller people ahead of me should have to relinquish their places and go to the end of the line (Get thee behind me, Satan!). In months that are shorter than the maximum 31 days, baseball’s seventh inning stretch should get replaced by the seventh inning scrunch.

Tall people who sell short on the stock market are committing altitudinal appropriation; only short people should be allowed to sell stock that way. In baseball, the player now known by the slur “short stop” shall be referred to instead as the “second-and-a half base person.” People who use the s-word in saying horrific things like “I’m short on cash” or “When I was asked for an answer I came up short” or “I suffer from shortness of breath” should immediately lose their jobs, be banned from all social media, and have to abase themselves by undergoing height-sensitivity training on their hands and knees.

Our state and local governments should require tall people who own businesses to paint a big red T on their storefronts; BLM and Antifa rioters would be allowed to vandalize, loot, and burn down only buildings marked with that big red T. And speaking of which, alongside BLM we need a new organization, SLM, for Short Lives Matter.

Even our justice system is infected with institutional tallism: don’t judges sit on a platform that raises them above everyone else? We must recognize that the word Court in legal matters is a dog whistle to height supremacists, who know that court means ‘short’ in French. Similarly, supreme comes from the Latin word for ‘highest,’ so our most authoritative legal institution must have its name changed from the Supreme Court to the Ultimate Tribunal.

In short, it’s high time society stops selling short people short!

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 7, 2021 at 4:37 AM

The next generation

with 37 comments

A bunch of times in the summer of 2019 we’d seen rock squirrels (Otospermophilus variegatus) on our back deck, especially on one section of the railing. As the year went by and we advanced into the spring of 2020 we didn’t see them any more. Then one day in April I looked out a back window and saw a bunch of baby squirrels. How much is a bunch? The most I ever counted together was five. Here from April 29th are two of them, with the one on the right in what strikes me as a funny pose.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 15, 2020 at 4:38 AM

Brazoria Wildlife Refuge

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After we all spent time at the Artist Boat Coastal Heritage Preserve on October 6th, Shannon and Scott went off on what proved a successful quest to find a rare bird that had been reported in the vicinity. Linda drove Eve and me off in the opposite direction so we could swing around and visit the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, where it turned out that we, too, had some avian encounters. This post shows you one of them.

Don’t you think someone should train each kind of bird to sit on a sign for its own species and not on one for a different species? That way the tourists wouldn’t get confused. Our mismatched bird wasn’t a roseate spoonbill but rather a double-crested cormorant, Phalacrorax auritus. It made up for not knowing its place by sitting docilely on the sign as I slowly got closer and closer with my 400mm lens. Linda and Eve, who were watching from the car, thought I’d soon be able to reach out and pet the cormorant. Well, not quite, but I did get much nearer than I thought I would, as you can confirm from the uncropped closeup below, which I took seven minutes after the first picture. (Click to enlarge each portrait.)

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 27, 2019 at 4:38 PM

From Whole Foods to Central Market: Ketchup, mustard, water, and a grackle

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Grackle with Ketchup and Mustard 6414

The last time you saw a grackle, Quiscalus mexicanus, it was one I photographed on the ground outside the Gateway Whole Foods on June 29th. On September 21st I found myself sitting on the patio behind the Central Market on N. Lamar, where I saw more grackles than on the visit to Whole Foods. At one point a woman at a nearby table stood up and walked away to get something, and within seconds this grackle flew in to see what it could find to eat. Bold birds, these grackles.

In case you’re wondering whether this was a one-legged grackle, it wasn’t. The bird’s left foot was in the tray, whose rim blocked it from view at this angle, just as part of the bird’s right leg concealed part of its left.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 6, 2015 at 5:09 AM

Another year’s fun with search criteria

with 46 comments

I don’t know if one occurrence counts as a tradition, but let’s assume that it does: following in the “tradition” of the fun post from New Year’s Day 2012, here are some things that people typed into their search engines during the past year that ended up bringing them to this blog. Sometimes the search engine did a great job of figuring out what the person wanted, but other times it misled the searcher.

—>  Comments of mine appear indented under the search strings.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

garlic fowers

Thank you, search engine, for understanding that the person meant flowers. This search engine knew how to go with the fow.

preaky pear

Just like last year, we meet people who think prickly pear is preaky pear. Do they also think someone in poor health is seaky?

meaning of preakly pears in a dream

It means that you should study spelling.

think steve pear pad

I guess my personality can be preaky at times. Or is this a dream telling me to buy an iPad?

hanging bubble cactus

Wouldn’t the spines of the cactus pop the bubbles?

flowers in preria
perari flowers

Anyone for prairie?

if i had wings like a morning dove

Make that a mourning dove, named for its sad-sounding call.

how can i edit my portraits to have sharp eyes but soft skin

I have sharp eyes for portraits of wildflowers, but nothing is gonna make some of those plants have soft skin.

prairie verbena informatshon

My blog is a great source of informatshion about prairie verbena and many other plants in this part of the natshion.

ludwigia beethoven

That’s Ludwig von Beethoven, famous composer. I assure you that when I photographed a wildflower in the genus Ludwigia last year it wasn’t humming the Fifth Symphony or the Ode to Joy. My post was whimsically titled Not Named for Beethoven.

speaking flowers

Not only don’t flowers hum or sing, they don’t speak, either.

texas thistle is it a wildflower

Can’t say that I find many thistles being cultivated in nurseries, so I guess it’s a wildflower.

20 foot tall weed bush

Have you ever heard of a weed bush? I haven’t. Especially not one that’s 20 feet tall.

leaves with real names

You mean like John Leaf, Sarah Leaf, Freddy Leaf?

whats the weed names

I just told you.

cool lizards names

No idea what post this brought someone to. I tried the search myself and was surprised to find a bunch of websites offering lists of suggested names for various types of pets, including lizards. Some of the suggested lizard names (including their meanings) on one site are Bodizara (divine), Radoslava (glorious and happy), and Frantiska (free woman). I think I’d want my pet lizard to be glorious and happy.

ontario see

The person may have wanted to see Ontario but ended up seeing a picture in which the clouds over my neighborhood in Austin reminded me of the way the north shore of Lake Ontario looks on a map.

shape of lake ontario

This person really did want to know the shape of Lake Ontario but must have been surprised to find it—or half of it—in the clouds over Austin.

tony creek ontario map

The place in Austin where I looked up and saw the northern outline of Lake Ontario was alongside a tributary of Bull Creek. Maybe the search engine thinks that’s a tony neighborhood.

overhead pond

If the pond were overhead, wouldn’t the water spill down onto us poor folks below?

red fruit in sky

Look, up in the sky: it’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s… a red fruit!

all plant life of blackland prairie

That’s a pretty tall order, don’t you think? How could you expect to get information about all of the hundreds of plant species found on the Blackland Prairie?

all kinds of plants or leaves with names

Man, you must’ve gotten a lot of hits!


Man, you must’ve gotten a lot of hits!!

flowers of world

Like I said, you must’ve gotten a lot of hits!!!!

flower picture side view

Well, at least that’s a little more specific. You must have gotten only half a zillion hits instead of the full zillion.

look up a flower

Yes, do look one up. There are many to choose from.

violet colors awesome pictures

All my pictures are awesome, no matter what colors are in them.

yesterday flowers

Yesterday, flowers. Today, flowers. Flowers forever!

compare yesterday

To what?

matter similar in color

Similar to what?

similar flowers

Similar to what?

comments about is water different

My comment is that water is definitely different. It’s different from wood, from metal, from porcupines, from adjectives, from hardware and software, from overweening pride. This is going to be a daring leap, but let me generalize: water is different from everything that’s not water.

caterpillar succulent

The person probably wanted a picture of a caterpillar on a succulent but ended up being taken to a very succulent caterpillar.

the turtle is staring at me

I had just the picture for this person.

how much spanish moss in shoes for blood pressure

And don’t forget to wear garlic around your neck to ward off vampires.

teksas planine

The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain
In Teksas, which used to be a colony of Spain.

yexas mountain laurel

If I ever decide to leave where I am, Yexas would be my first choice for a state to move to. Yex indeed.

bunga lili kuning.

I have no idea why that Indonesian phrase, apparently referring to a kind of lily they have over there, would have led to a blog about native plants in Texas.

bunga kaktus

None in Teksas. Kowabonga, all you [ancient] Howdy Doody fans.

pohon rotan

Boca Raton, anyone?

strange plant that grows in texas

There are lots of strange plants that grow in Texas. Lots of strange people, too.

prehat cindy

You mean Cindy before she put her hat on?

blooming hats
texan hat brim
brimmed hats for men

These searches apparently brought people to a picture of a Mexican hat.

mexican top hat plant

A Mexican hat is one thing and a top hat is another; a Mexican top hat would be one strange piece of headware, dude, and a plant that looked like that hat would be even stranger.

mexican guys on tumblr rare

The ones wearing Mexican hats are probably even rarer.

how many people use hats in mexico


rusty looking plant- 2 words

Someone seems to have been doing a crossword puzzle. What the person got taken to is rusty blackhaw, which probably wasn’t right for the puzzle, given that the word rusty was already in the clue.

yellow glow surrounding text

And I haven’t got a clue about which post of mine this person could have been taken to.

curls on green pictures

If you leave green pictures out in the sun they probably will curl up.

cover a piece of a leaf and it turns yellow

I wonder if that would happen to my skin if I covered a piece of it.

what is one theme of “what if a much of a which of a wind?

Sorry, student trying to get help on an assignment about that poem for an English class, but you found only a poverty of answers to your question in my post about poverty weed blowing in the wind.


Months have passed. Are you done now?

insects picturesbredyfly

A bird can fly but a fly can’t bird.





blue bud dwaft

This apparently led to a post about a dwarf—not dwaft—dandelion, which doesn’t have blue buds. Whether the searcher felt a dwaft at the time, I don’t know.

orange flowers you can draw

I wonder what makes some orange flowers drawable and others not.

men in flowers

I don’t know about men, but this one man has been in enough flowers that the search engine went ahead and counted me as a plural.

i’ve seen the same butterfly numerous times. what does it mean

It means that that kind of butterfly is common in your area.

mean butterfly

What did the mean butterfly do, bite you?

okay wolf

Okay, I did a post about a wolf spider.

spines on beetles

Which on which doesn’t seem to matter to the search engine, so how about a picture of a beetle on a spine?

common name of bindwee,purple

The common name of purple bindweed is purple bindweed.

sesbania herbacea scientific name

The scientific name of Sesbania herbacea is Sesbania herbacea.

a close look at flowers

You came to the right place!

where in texas are pretty wildflowers as of april 1 2012

On my blog, naturally!

where can i get black and white photos colorized in houston

Not on my blog in Austin, but that’s where the search engine brought you.

14 turkey’s eggs

How about two turkey vulture eggs?

white snail rain

Is that a lesser amount of rain than when it’s raining cats and dogs?

dağ çiçekleri

This Turkish phrase means ‘mountain flowers.’ I imagine it took the searcher to a post about snow-on-the-mountain.

фото семян клематиса

That translates as “Photo seed of Clematis.” Whether someone writing in Russian wanted to see seeds of a Clematis that’s native in Texas I don’t know, but that’s what the search engine led to.

flower glitter

My bright wildflowers got me
A place among the glitterati.

a weed that has a brown stem and have fluffies on them

Aw, those fluffies are so cute, who cares if they’re on a weed?

fluffy dee smith

Is she really fluffy? I hope she’s not a weed.

how to include human element in cemetery photos

You might try dying.

voyeur cam galore

Yep, there’s lots of nekkid female flowers on this blog.

. pretty and paid


wonderful lady and wonderful flower

Now that’s more respectable.

tiny 18

Tiny perhaps, but of legal age.

photo model sex mania
www sex mania com
sex mania
photo sex mania
sex mania mexico [twice]

I did a post about Zexmenia entitled Sex Mania. I can only imagine the letdown those seven searchers felt when they got taken to a picture of a wildflower.

grape infouresence

That’s the quintessence of a misspelling.

prairie aganilis

The search engine figured out that the person meant prairie agalinis.

plant that was hole for seeds

Can a plant be a hole, for seeds or otherwise?

what kind of flower grows up

Any kind of flower that doesn’t grow down.

champagne bubbles clip art

This apparently led to my photograph of algae bubbles in a local creek. Drinking that water, even on New Year’s Eve, is strongly discouraged.

techniques in order not to get

This led to a post entitled “In order not to have a pictureless day.”

resin drops with ants free people

I did a post about ants trapped in a drop of sunflower resin, but I have no idea what the searcher meant by adding “free people” to the query.

sycamore feeling

Wasn’t there a song about “Here comes that old sycamore feeling again”?

richly colored blue brown red photography

Do you have any idea how many photographs there are out there that are richly colored in blue, brown, and red?

wildflower ma gracia

What? Was your ma named Gracia?

yellow wildflower central texas

There’s only about a gazillion yellow wildflowers here, so good luck finding the one you’re after.

insects on plants by digital camera

Were the plants with the insects on them growing alongside a digital camera?


It’s almost certainly not what the searcher wanted, but I posted several pictures of plants growing in the parking lot of the Costco in north Austin.

lakeline mall austin

This would-be shopper got to see a dense late-spring display of wildflowers that happened to be on the fringe of that shopping mall—and no sales tax was charged on the view.

how look camphorweed?picture

I have a feeling this was not from a native speaker of English.

thorny plant that shoots his seeds

Don’t you love the his rather than its?

seeds look like a mop thorn

I pity any plant whose seeds look like a mop thorn.

show me a picture of a bulrush!

Did the person who wrote this think that putting the exclamation mark at the end would get a faster response?

magical properties of deer horn.

My picture of a deer antler was magical indeed.

sky sun good

me photographer good

views from bellow

I hope it hasn’t sounded like I’ve been bellowing.

flower of clarity

The caption under many of my photographs says to click for greater clarity.

good two flowers

This apparently led to my photograph of two crossed purple and white anemones. I’m glad the search engine found it to be a good picture.

focused flower

Yes, most of my pictures of flowers are in focus.

full clarity flower images

And they have clarity, too (especially if you click on them to undo some of WordPress’s crunching of images).

natural flowers and which is very rare found in india

There are people from India who live in my part of town, but that’s not so rare anymore. I don’t know if they have natural flowers.

great hills of nature

I often mention that I live in the Great Hills section of Austin and have taken many pictures in Great Hills Park. For me this part of town could indeed be thought of as great hills of nature.

flower, trees, skys, nature

Lucy in the skys with diamonds.

clear cover resin

Somehow I think this came from a person interested in handicrafts, not rosinweed.

resin eyes

But rosinweed flowers do have a sort of eye.

violins and flowers images

Maybe the violinists could’ve used the resin on their bows.

so, now since you are here, let’s replace violet with blue

So, now since you are here, let’s assume the query led to one of my comments about a flower with blue in its name (bluebell, bluebonnet, mealy blue sage) looking more purple than blue.

willow leaf tattoo

I never thought of it, but this willow leaf could become a good tattoo.

celtic willow tree leaves

Turns out that that willow leaf really was similar to one of three spirals in a Celtic goddess tattoo that a commenter mentioned having.

vine posts

Somehow I don’t think a blog post is the kind of post the person had in mind.

portriat of long beards

Maybe you can use a lariat to lasso those long beards.

harmonious portraits

Harmonious portraits I’ve got, but somehow I doubt the seeker was happy with the kinds of subjects in them.

i m always happy

I’m not.

richard van hessel

No idea who he is or how that search brought someone to my blog.

“suzanne elrod” “sculpture”

No idea who she is or how that search brought someone to my blog.

schwartzman flower

How nice to have a flower named after me.

louie schwartzman and ladybird johnson

Louie, schmooie: it’s Steve.

steven schwartzman children

I guess the search engine thinks of all these pictures as my children.

artists who have carried out work on flowers

Oh, the search engine recognized me as an artist! I’m the Michelangelo of milkweed, the Goya of goldeneye, the Rembrandt of rosinweed, the Miró of Mirabilis, the Titian of Tinantia, the Gauguin of Gaillardia, the Dalí of Datura, and the Monet of Monarda. You, too, can play the game and add other alliterative titles that link a famous artist to a native plant.

portraits of wildflowers steve
wildflowers steve
“portrait photography of wildflowers”

Yay, me! When I tried that third search myself in Google on November 14, this blog was first in the list of hits. I’m number one!

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 1, 2013 at 6:12 AM

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