Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘red

Rhodora

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A year ago today we stopped along U.S. 1 near Whiting, Maine, so I could photograph the pleasant scene shown here. Margaret Scheid of the National Park Service told me she’s 85% confident the plants are Rhododendron canadense, known as rhodora.

Years before I’d ever seen this kind of plant, I knew the great poem to which Ralph Waldo Emerson gave that title, and which I’ve copied below.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

 

The Rhodora

On Being Asked, Whence Is the Flower?

In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
To please the desert and the sluggish brook.
The purple petals, fallen in the pool
Made the black water with their beauty gay;
Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool,
And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,
Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing,
Then Beauty is its own excuse for being:
Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!
I never thought to ask, I never knew:
But, in my simple ignorance, suppose
The self-same Power that brought me there brought you.

 

If you’d like, you can have more information about the poem.

 

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 8, 2019 at 4:44 AM

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

Red phlox

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In much of the area south of San Antonio that we visited in late March magenta dominated the phlox. On April 2nd, as we came up TX 304 north of Interstate 10, it was red phlox, as fluorescent as the magenta, that grabbed our attention and made me turn around and go back for pictures. (I suppose I should also go back and tell you that phlox in ancient Greek meant ‘flame, blaze.’)

Click to enlarge.

While photographing the vibrant reds, I found a few individuals that were white with pronounced red accents.

Click to enlarge.

A day after I’d prepared this post up to the second picture I happened to look back through my recent archive and was reminded of some phlox I’d photographed on March 21st and then forgotten about, given the large number of wildflower displays we kept seeing. On TX 80 north of Nixon that day the color of the phlox was mostly between ultra-vibrant magenta and super-saturated red.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 13, 2019 at 4:47 AM

Texas toadflax, Indian paintbrush, and Nueces coreopsis lead to some philosophical musings

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Here’s some Texas toadflax (Nuttallanthus texanus) with Indian paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa) and Nueces coreopsis (Coreopsis nuecensis) on the grounds of the Christ Lutheran Church in New Berlin on March 18th.

Not wanting want to slight the two species in the background, I’ve added one portrait apiece of those other wildflowers photographed on the same visit to the churchyard.

This reminds me now of the venerable aphorism—so venerable I just made it up*—that every portrayal is a betrayal. In other words, a portrait is only a person’s representation, necessarily limited, of something else; a portrait isn’t the portrayed thing itself. We needn’t even get that philosophical: these pictures obviously differ from the way I saw the scenes with my eyes and brain when I was there. I’ve processed each photograph with software to make it look pleasing, and that also is mutable: sometimes even by the next day I readjust the settings because my sensibilities have changed. The third image, processed four days later than the first, came out moodier. People in the milieu of “art” photography might exhibit the third photo but not the first: when knocking on those gallery doors, brightness need not apply.

* After the phrase “Every portrayal is a betrayal” popped into my head, I did a Google search for that exact phrase and got a single hit, in Humid, All Too Humid by Dominic Pettman. Some might say there’s nothing new under the sun. Well, sometimes there is, but not this time.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 12, 2019 at 4:45 AM

At what cost Cost?

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All that Cost cost us on April 2nd when we visited the tiny town in Gonzales County some 90 miles south of home was time and gasoline. Behind the First Shot Monument we found a great mix of Indian paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa), Texas dandelions (Pyrrhopappus pauciflorus), and Texas stork’s bills (Erodium texanum), as shown in the first photo.

While walking around I noticed two contiguous Texas dandelions, one the usual color and the other a yellow-white combination. I hope you find this touching pair touching.

Also at no extra cost I got the chance to see a few pincushion daisies, Gaillardia suavis, a species that for whatever reason rarely puts in an appearance in Austin even though it ranges from Mexico to Kansas. Each solitary flower head grows at the tip of a bare stalk as much as two-and-a-half feet long. Add this wildflower to the svelte greenthread and gaura you saw here recently.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 10, 2019 at 4:46 AM

Cañada Verde

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On our three trips south of San Antonio from March 18–27 we stopped at five cemeteries covered with wildflowers. You’ve already seen pictures of the one at Christ Lutheran Church near New Berlin and the Sand Branch Cemetery near Poteet. The third, on March 27th, was the Cañada Verde Cemetery* on the western side of Floresville. There the wildflower that predominated was the white prickly poppy, Argemone albiflora.

In a several places winecups (Callirhoe spp.) punctuated the white:

And here’s a closer look at some of the crinkle-petaled prickly poppies** in their own right:

* In case you’re wondering, Cañada has nothing to do with Canada. The Spanish word caña means ‘cane,’ and a cañada is ‘a gully, a ravine, a low-lying piece of wet land,’ in other words ‘a place that fosters the growth of a canebrake.’

** Try saying “crinkle-petaled prickly poppies” quickly several times in a row.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 2, 2019 at 4:39 AM

Like flames

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Behold the opening bud of a prairie fleabane daisy, Erigeron modestus, in my neighborhood on March 10th. Call it modest if you like; my mind sees flames.

(I didn’t intend to do a burst of daily posts but it’s spring in Texas and so much is happening.)

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 24, 2019 at 4:42 AM

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