Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘minimalist

Dark and light

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On June 12, 2018, at Garden in the Woods in Framingham, Massachusetts, I photographed the buds of black cohosh (Actaea racemosa). The only other place I’d ever seen black cohosh was in Arkansas in 2016.

The dense pentagonal flowers of mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) remain a highlight of my visit to Garden in the Woods. They’re quite different from those of the similarly named but botanically unrelated Texas mountain laurel that you’ve seen in these pages several times.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 12, 2019 at 4:34 AM

Wild onions along Bull Creek

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The last post brought you a picture of a long-jawed orbweaver spider on the stalk of a wild onion, Allium canadense var. canadense, along Bull Creek on April 26th. It occurred to me that I should show you one of the flowering wild onion plants in its own right. How about that looping greenery?

Wild onion leaves are even more elongated than long-jawed orbweaver spiders: hardly wider than a quarter of an inch (7mm) yet as long as 18 inches (46 cm). Below is an abstract take on one of those linear leaves that had yellowed and browned. I don’t remember, may never have known, what created the faint orb below the leaf’s tip. Whatever it was, we can see it as a planet floating in the deep blue and black of cosmic night.

 

And now Pascal, the thinker, the mathematician, comes to mind: “Le silence éternel des ces espaces infinis m’effraie.” “The eternal silence of those infinite spaces frightens me.” That famous line is at the end of this passage from his Pensées, his Thoughts:

 

“Quand je considère la petite durée de la vie, absorbée dans l’éternité précédente et suivante, le petit espace que je remplis, et même que je vois, abîmé dans l’infinie immensité des espaces que j’ignore et qui m’ignorent, je m’effraie et m’étonne de me voir ici plutôt que là, pourquoi à présent plutôt que lors. Qui m’y a mis? Par l’ordre et la conduite de qui ce lieu et ce temps a-t-il été destiné à moi? Memoria hospitis unius diei praetereuntis.

“Pourquoi ma connaissance est-elle bornée? Ma taille? Ma durée à cent ans plutôt qu’à mille ? Quelle raison a eue la nature de me la donner telle, et de choisir ce nombre plutôt qu’un autre, dans l’infinité desquels il n’y a pas plus de raison de choisir l’un que l’autre, rien ne tentant plus que l’autre?

“Combien de royaumes nous ignorent!

“Le silence éternel de ces espaces infinis m’effraie.”

 

“When I consider the shortness of a lifetime, absorbed as it is into the eternity that comes before it and the one that comes after it, the tiny space I take up, and yet that I can see, lost in the infinite immensity of those spaces I know nothing about and that know nothing about me, then I get frightened and bewildered at finding myself here rather than there, and I wonder why now and not some other time. Who put me here? By whose order and whose actions was this place and time destined for me? Memoria hospitis unius diei praetereuntis. (Pascal is quoting from The Book of Wisdom: “The remembrance of a guest of a single day that passes away.”)

“Why is my consciousness limited? My size? The length of my life a hundred years rather than a thousand? What was nature’s reason for making my life like this, and for choosing this number instead of another one, in the infinity of numbers for which there’s no reason to pick one over another, given that none has any more appeal than any other?

“How many realms know nothing about us!”

“The eternal silence of those infinite spaces frightens me.”

 

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 25, 2019 at 4:40 AM

Two takes on Texas thistles

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Cirsium texanum; Waters Park Rd. on May 5th.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 20, 2019 at 4:50 PM

Scarlet leatherflower

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While at Bull Creek on April 8th I mostly photographed waterfalls but was also happy to see a Clematis texensis vine with a trio of flowers on it. Anyone watching me at work that morning could have said: “He stoppeth one of three.” It could also be said that Austin is home to three native Clematis species, with texensis being endemic to the state’s Edwards Plateau.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 19, 2019 at 4:39 AM

Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day in 2017 found us taking a long round trip from Paihia to two places even farther north in New Zealand. The first was the Te Paki dunes, where among the many pictures I took was one of cloud shadows moving across the sand.

Then we continued to the northernmost easily accessible point in the country, Cape Reinga. Below is a coastal view looking back south from there. The long leaves of the flax plants, Phormium tenax, point out (literally) which way the wind was blowing.

New Zealanders will have finished Valentine’s Day by now, so retroactive good wishes to you.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 14, 2019 at 11:31 AM

Mexican plum blossoms

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On February 6th along the northern stretch of Spicewood Springs Rd. I photographed a few early blossoms on a Mexican plum tree (Prunus mexicana), which is also native in central Texas. This was the first flowering tree I saw in 2019; in fact it’s still the only one because overcast skies, cold, and drizzle have combined to keep me from going out much in nature this past week.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 12, 2019 at 4:30 AM

Strobilus, strobili

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On October 29th I photographed some of the horsetails (Equisetum spp.)
around the pond adjacent to the Central Market on N. Lamar Blvd.
The plant shown above was forming its strobilus.
The one below had gotten farther along in the process.

The second photograph exemplifies point 24 in About My Techniques.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 18, 2018 at 4:44 AM

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