Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘minimalism

Portraits from our yard: episode 9

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On July 22nd I noticed that a bit of inland sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) had sprung up along a front walkway, partly hidden by adjacent shrubbery. Here’s a minimalist view of three fresh seed heads on a stalk that formed a graceful arc. This could almost be a small modern sculpture. Speaking of which, look how a Bosnian artist carves miniature sculptures in the lead at the tip of a pencil.


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Austin, where I live, is one of those “progressive” places with an activist city council that cut one-third of our police budget last year. As a result, Austin now has 150 fewer police officers than before and the average time it takes for the police to respond to emergency calls has gone up by several minutes. And look at the headline for an August 6th article in the Austin American-Statesman: “Austin police investigating 50 homicides in 2021, the highest number in three decades.” Riot-wracked 2020 saw 48 homicides in Austin, and 2021’s current count of 50 surpassed that with five months of the year still to run. Some “progress.”

It also recently came to light that U.S. Representative Cori Bush of Missouri had spent some $69,000 over a three-month period for private security for herself. That’s ironically the same Cori Bush who has been ardently campaigning to “defund the police.” When Representative Bush was asked about her practice of “security for me but not for thee,” she said the work she is doing is so important that no matter how much she spends for personal protection, “my body is worth being on this planet” and the rest of us will just have to “suck it up.” I should add that this is also the same Cori Bush who for years has pushed the disproven narrative that a policeman killed Michael Brown when he had his hands up and was trying to surrender. In a post last month I gave you the Obama Justice Department’s evidence refuting the “hands up, don’t shoot” claim. And this is also the same Cori Bush who said the other day that she was “elated” after the current administration extended a moratorium on evictions after admitting that the Supreme Court had already ruled such a moratorium extension unconstitutional, given that it came from the Centers for Disease Control, which has no legislative authority at all.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 10, 2021 at 4:34 AM

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How something can land

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On May 1st we went walking in our neighborhood. A few blocks from home I noticed that a drupe from a yaupon tree (Ilex vomitoria) had fallen onto an agave and gotten caught in the crook of one of the plant’s thorns. How long had the little fruit been trapped like that? Perhaps a few days, given how shriveled it was.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 21, 2020 at 4:29 AM

Minimalist mountains and clouds

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Here’s a different take on the Kananaskis Range of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, Canada: a silhouetted view with graphic clouds beyond and above. The date was September 11, 2017.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 13, 2018 at 4:52 AM

Bent out of shape

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Don’t get bent out of shape by this portrait of a Mexican hat flower head, Ratibida columnifera, that I made a year ago today at Wild Basin.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 19, 2018 at 4:59 AM

Svelte or streamlined, take your pick

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Rain Lily Bud 4025

Click for better quality.

Either epithet fits the bud of this rain lily, Cooperia pedunculata, that I photographed along Great Northern Blvd. on August 19.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 4, 2016 at 4:58 AM

Öd und leer das Meer!

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Chicago Skyline Faintly Visible Across Lake Michigan 8185

“Öd und leer das Meer!” are the words that Wagner gives to the shepherd near the beginning of Act III in Tristan und Isolde: “Desolate and empty the sea!”

Lake Michigan isn’t the sea, but it’s so large that from most places along the shore you can’t see the other side. That was true in the photograph you saw that looked east from Zion, Illinois, on a stormy evening. It would also be true in this June 17th view looking northwest from Indiana Dunes State Park, except that the faintly visible Chicago skyline stands proxy for the western shore of Lake Michigan.

The skyline in this photo, though small, still looks larger and closer than it did in reality, thanks to the telephoto lens I used.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 3, 2016 at 4:35 AM

Minimalist Monday

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Mustang Grape Vine Looped 3946

Here to start off the week is a strangely and geometrically looped mustang grape vine (Vitis mustangensis) that I came across adjacent to the Mexican devilweed at Muir Lake in the town of Cedar Park on February 4th.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 22, 2016 at 5:03 AM

Belated color

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Colorful Oak Leaf Against Blue Sky 0773

I didn’t show you a lot of fall foliage in 2015, so here, belatedly, is an oak leaf I photographed along Rain Creek Parkway on December 6th last year.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 27, 2016 at 5:04 AM

After and before*

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Mexican Hat Seed Head Remains 1492

Click to enlarge.

The previous post showed a couple of Mexican hat flower heads, Ratibida columnifera, that I noticed on January 2nd had sprung up in the median of Morado Circle. Although most of the flowers on the plants were fresh, I found a small number that had been there long enough (perhaps a lot longer) to go to seed and begin to decay, as you see above. I also saw some specimens that were still on their way to flowering, like the one on the sinuous and aesthetically pleasing stalk shown below.

Mexican Hat Head Developing 1446

Click to enlarge.

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* Our strong conception of time progressing from past to future almost always leads us to say before and after, so I thought I should give equal time—well, hardly equal—to after and before. I could also have written the post with all its words in reverse order, but that would have been a contretemps.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 17, 2016 at 5:05 AM

Same place and time, a very different view

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Rain-Lily Bud by Neptunia 5702

In contrast to the previous post’s September 15th panorama of rain-lilies, Cooperia drummondii, here I got in close for a minimalist treatment of a budding rain-lily in that same colony. The hazy “sun” behind the rain-lily was a conveniently out-of-focus flower globe of Neptunia pubescens, known as tropical neptunia or tropical puff. The pink in the upper background may have come from some of the aging flowers in the colony (whose colors you can reacquaint yourselves with), or perhaps from a silverleaf nightshade flower. Whatever caused that color, I like having it in the picture; don’t you?

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 20, 2015 at 5:33 AM

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