Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘pastel

Groundplum flowers

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While at the Doeskin Ranch in Burnet County on March 24th I found a happily flowering colony of Astragalus crassicarpus. var. berlandieri, a Texas endemic known as Berlandier’s groundplum, groundplum milkvetch, or just groundplum. The species has appeared here only twice before, the first time as a limited-focus view of the plant’s leaves. A straightforward portrait of the flowers, as in today’s view, has a naturally pastel look to it.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 6, 2021 at 4:47 AM

Two abstract cattail leaf portraits

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Many long-time artists try new things. In the first of two recent experiments, I played off a yellowing cattail leaf (Typha domingensis) against differently colored cattail leaves behind it that were parallel to one another but not to it. I held the foreground leaf in focus to convey its texture, while making the background leaves as free of details as possible. In the image below of a shallow cattail leaf arc, I channeled my inner Michael Scandling: barely anything is in focus, and the overall effect is of pastel colors.

Here’s a vaguely related quotation for today:

“L’homme n’est qu’un roseau, le plus faible de la nature; mais c’est un roseau pensant. Il ne faut pas que l’univers entier s’arme pour l’écraser : une vapeur, une goutte d’eau suffit pour le tuer. Mais quand l’univers l’écraserait, l’homme serait encore plus noble que ce qui le tue, parce qu’il sait qu’il meurt, et l’avantage que l’univers a sur lui, l’univers n’en sait rien.” — Blaise Pascal, Pensées (Thoughts).

“Man is but a reed, the weakest in nature; but he’s a thinking reed. It doesn’t take the whole universe up in arms to crush him; a vapor, a drop of water is enough to kill him. But even if the universe did crush him, man would still be nobler than the thing that kills him, because he’d know that he’s dying, whereas the advantage that the universe has over him, the universe would know nothing about.” — Blaise Pascal, Pensées (Thoughts).

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 24, 2020 at 4:34 AM

Two takes on bumps

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Some Mexican hats (Ratibida columnifera) have a bump on the tip of their column. Here are two quite different takes on that theme: the first pastel, on a mostly straight stalk, and with the column still developing; the second darker, on a stalk that took a right-angle turn, and with its column already going to seed. The background color in the picture above came from another Mexican hat, and below from a horsemint (Monarda citriodora). I made these contrasting portraits in Great Hills Park on June 2nd.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 28, 2020 at 4:23 AM

New Zealand: toetoe and clouds

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Look at the graceful toetoe seed heads (Austroderia spp.) we saw at the south end of Lake Taupo on February 17th.

(If you’re interested in the craft of photography, point 24 in About My Techniques applies to this photograph.)

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 7, 2017 at 5:03 AM

Desert views north of Barstow

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Click to enlarge.

In addition to making portraits of a few Joshua trees a bit north of Barstow, California, on October 25 of last year, I took pictures there of the pastel desert landscape itself.


© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 7, 2017 at 4:59 AM

New Zealand: Last late afternoon in the country, part 2

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Colorful Shore Rocks 8271

Here are two more colorful images from Little Manly Beach late in the afternoon on February 26th. If you compare the pale blue-grey structures along the bottom of the first photograph with those at the top of the second, you’ll see that they are the same stratum of rock. I looked back at my archive just now and found that I took a few broader views that include both colorful areas in the same frame, but artistically I prefer these closer, separate abstractions. I don’t know what the chartreuse in the second picture is—perhaps moss—but it and the rock patterns around it certainly caught my attention.

Colorful Shore Patterns 8261

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 14, 2015 at 5:23 AM

New Zealand: Last late afternoon in the country

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February 26th was our last full day in New Zealand, and late afternoon found us back at Eve’s niece’s place on the Whangaparaoa* Peninsula north of Auckland. More specifically, the house was just a few blocks from Little Manly Beach, where I spent time racing the declining sunlight to photograph intriguing patterns and shapes and colors along the shoreline. Here’s one structure whose pastel shades particularly appealed to me.

Colorful Shore Patterns 8296


* It’s been a long time since I reminded you that wh in Māori words represents an f sound.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 13, 2015 at 5:17 AM

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