Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘violet

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

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 12, 2019 at 4:45 AM

Another mixed-species find

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Firewheel with Western Horsenettle Flowers 2532

One other thing that Eve found and called my attention to on April 30 along the Copperfield Nature Trail in northeast Austin was this firewheel (Gaillardia pulchella) growing among the flowers of a western horsenettle (Solanum dimidiatum). Notice how the tips of the firewheel’s rays harmonize in color and shape with the horsenettle’s banana-like stamens.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 24, 2016 at 4:44 AM

Missouri violet

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Missouri Violet Flower by Dry Sycamore Leaf 6812

After taking the previous post’s March 2nd picture from a high point along the northern end of Spicewood Springs Rd., I went down into the woods and worked my way over to where the large sycamore trees were. Because the view from up above has been increasingly obscured in recent years by higher and higher vegetation in the foreground, I hoped for better pictures of the sycamores from down below. The ones I got were so-so, not as good as what you saw last time, but while tromping about in the lowlands I found something I hadn’t seen in Austin since 2007: some Missouri violet flowers, Viola missouriensis. Here you see one that had sprung up close to a fallen sycamore leaf. Notice how the shadows on the leaf loosely mimic the markings on the flower.

In spite of being called Missouri violet, this wildflower is native in plenty of other states, as you can confirm from the USDA map.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 15, 2016 at 4:53 AM

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