Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

About Me

with 172 comments

I grew up on Long Island and went to college at Columbia University, where I majored in French. Upon graduation I spent 1968 and 1969 as a Peace Corps math teacher in Honduras. I’d always been good at math but I discovered I was also good at teaching it, which I’d had no reason to suspect. It was also in Honduras that I learned the rudiments of photography and got my first “real” camera, a Pentax Spotmatic. In the late 1970s and early 1980s I did a fair amount of art photography and eventually published three books of 3-D infrared photographs. The combination of 3-D and black-and-white infrared was an unusual one but I was fond of it, at least in part because it was unique. My book Bodies of Light won an award from the Printing Industries of America in 1981.

I moved to Austin on July 6, 1976, two days after my birthday and the 200th anniversary of American independence. In my early years in Texas I did some landscape photography, still primarily in black-and-white infrared. Later I became an early adopter of digital photography: in 1999 I launched into a project to produce a photographic CD documenting the Austin area. In the process, I grew increasingly aware of and captivated by the many species of native plants that grow here; they became and remain my primary photographic subject.

Here are some of the public fruits of that interest:

Texas Highways, April 2002: “Speaking of Lesser-Known Texas Wildflowers”
Texas Highways, October 2003: “Second-Season Splendor”
Texas Highways, October 2007: “The Third Act”
Texas Prairie Journal, Spring 2008: “Dodder” (The cover picture is also mine, even though it doesn’t match the text of my article.)
Texas Highways, April 2010: “Trips to Bountiful” (three photographs in this group article)
Texas Highways, July 2010: “Some Like It Hot”
Wildflower (the magazine of The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center), Summer 2011: “Get Low and Behold
Wildflower, Fall 2011: “Color My World
Texas Highways, October 2011: “The Unexpected Season”
Wildflower, Winter 2011: four photographs, notably one of a cedar waxwing swallowing a possumhaw fruit
NPSOT (Native Plant Society of Texas) News, Winter 2012: front cover
Wildflower, Spring 2012: front and back cover, 10 photographs inside
NPSOT News, Spring 2012: back cover
Texas Highways, April 2012: two photographs
Wildflower, Summer 2012: five full-page photographs, one other
Texas Highways, June 2012: “Window on Texas“; a photograph of a white prickly poppy standing in contrast to the pines destroyed in Bastrop State Park by the Labor Day fire of 2011.
NPSOT News, Summer 2012: front and back cover
NPSOT News, Fall 2012: front cover
NPSOT News, Spring 2013: front and back covers
Wildflower, Spring 2013: front cover; article “Shine Like a Bulb”; article “Picture Perfect”
Texas Highways, April 2013: two-page panoramic spread of a prairie verbena colony
NPSOT News, Summer 2013: front and back cover
Wildflower, Fall 2013: article “Gold Coast”
NPSOT News, Fall 2013: front and back covers; 2 photographs inside
Wildflower, Winter 2013: article “Look, Up in the Skyline”
Texas Highways 2014 calendar: the December photograph, which shows a cedar waxwing in the act of swallowing a possumhaw fruit
Wildflower, Spring 2014: cover photograph and various others in two articles
Texas Wildlife, April 2014: three photographs
Texas Highways, September 2014: article “An Aqueous Asylum: the Fort Worth Water Gardens
Wildflower, Spring 2015: cover photograph and others in the related article
Wildflower, Summer 2015: five photographs in the article “Dry and Mighty”
Native Plant Society of Texas; October 17, 2015; Digital Media Award for this blog
Texas Highways, February 2016: article “Wild About Wild Basin”
Austin Parks and Wildlife photo contest for National Wildlife Week, March 2016: first place
Texas Highways, April 2016: four photographs in the annual wildflower issue
Wildflower, Fall 2016: two-page photo spread in “Just the Thicket”
NPSOT News, Fall 2016: “Fall Foliage in a Region Not Known for It”; front and back covers
Texas Parks and Wildlife, March 2017: a photograph of the angel sculpture at Monument Hill
NPSOT News, Spring 2017: “Diabolical Dodder
NPSOT News, Summer 2017: “The Shape-Shifting Mexican Hat
NPSOT News, Winter 2018: three photographs
Texas Parks and Wildlife, April 2018: two photographs of paloverde
Native Plant Society of Texas photo contest, fall 2018, winner in eight categories
NPSOT News, Winter 2019: article on frostweed, “The Frost Below”; two photos of gulf muhly
NPSOT News, Spring 2021: cover photo and others inside
Texas Parks and Wildlife, July 2021: a photograph of pearl milkweed
Texas Native Plants, Summer 2021: cover photograph and two inside
Texas Native Plants, Fall 2021: cover photograph

In 2007, Parade (the magazine that’s included in many Sunday newspapers) ran a photo contest on the theme “Celebrate America’s Beauty.” There were more than 60,000 entries, and my photograph of a basket-flower ended up being one of a hundred finalists.

In 2008 Popular Photography‘s blog featured three of my photographs and commentaries on them. In 2009 and 2010 Quick Reference Publishing commissioned me to provide all the photographs and text for three laminated wildflower guides: North Texas, Central Texas, and Southeast Texas.

I’ve contributed over 200 photographs to the native plant database of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. In 2010 I won second place in the professional category of that institution’s first-ever Wildflower Photo Contest. In the 2013 contest I won 1st place in the new category “Native Landscape at the Wildflower Center.”

My other interests include natural foods and the already-mentioned mathematics and language; with regard to that last subject I write a blog called Spanish-English Word Connections, where I managed to sneak in one of my nature photographs from time to time before I had this regular outlet.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 5, 2011 at 3:21 PM

172 Responses

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  1. Your images are a feast. I’m especially delighted that you focus on natives. I live in Delaware where I volunteer as a backyard steward for our local nature society. I help homeowners reassess their garden design and plantings, always stressing use of native plants. Also, I work with schools to create gardens (vegetable, wildflower, butterfly, etc.) as a beautification project, but, more importantly, they serve as an educational tool.


    June 24, 2011 at 10:35 PM

    • Welcome to the feast, Sally, and bon appétit. Thanks for all your work in promoting native plants, which are the only type I depict here (and which at 7:25 in the morning I’m off to photograph again).

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 25, 2011 at 7:24 AM

  2. Merci de partager votre talent avec le monde. Il est agréable de se souvenir de la beauté et la paix que la nature fournit.


    June 26, 2011 at 2:18 PM

  3. Your photos are simply amazing. I bought a camera this year and am documenting some of my finds on my walks. I hope to develop a tenth of your eye and at least half of your passion. If so, I’d be more than content. Documenting natives is close to my heart. I look forward to seeing more.


    July 2, 2011 at 11:16 PM

    • Thank you. This former math teacher is happy to see your reference to a tenth and to a half. Arithmetic aside, your blog show that you already have quite a passion for nature, and in that respect we’re kindred spirits. I find my “wilderness wherever” I can, even if that means a temporarily undeveloped piece of land that’s next to stores but where wildflowers have nevertheless sprung up. Let’s hear it for natives!

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 2, 2011 at 11:53 PM

  4. Your photos are beautiful, I’m so glad that you found me so I could find you.


    July 5, 2011 at 9:39 AM

  5. Steve, your wildflower photographs are gorgeous. Good to hear you’re promoting natives in the Austin area. I lived there when I was in graduate school, loved to ride out into the hill country when the wildflowers were blooming. The wildflowers I planted in the garden are all natives, a luscious array of colors as they all begin their bloom. Thanks for visiting my blog.

    Here’s to wildflowers!


    July 5, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    • I’m glad you’re enjoying the pictures. I’m enjoying the coincidence that your last name is Austin and you used to live in Austin, and that we can both say a hearty “Here’s to wildflowers!” And here’s another coincidence: your July 3 blog entry was entitled “Prairie Smoke,” and just this afternoon another blogger explained to me that her avatar photograph shows that wildflower, Geum triflorum, which I wasn’t familiar with and had taken to be some sort of Clematis, based on its appearance.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 5, 2011 at 8:20 PM

  6. All I can say is, “Wow.” And, “Thank you.” My parents moved to Austin from Michigan in 1980, and I was born in September of that year. I grew up in Austin, I attended U.T. because I couldn’t bear leaving the city, and then, about six years ago, I left for jobs elsewhere in Texas. I’ve returned as often as can, and I would love nothing more than to return for good. Austin’s explosive growth doesn’t bother me at all because every time I visit I find the same city with the same soul. New skyscrapers, pristine events centers (I’m thinking Palmer), and a relatively shrinking capitol building haven’t changed anything for me. Some changes startle me, but no matter what, I always feel like I’m returning home and that home remembers me.

    I’ll frequent your site. I feel like it was custom-made for me, though I realize I’m not that special!

    Thank you for stopping by!



    July 13, 2011 at 5:30 PM

    • This site welcomes you to your home away from home until the time when Austin is your home again. I didn’t grow up here, but have now lived in Austin much longer than the place where I did grow up, which still remains special. And your take on things is special too, so you’re entitled to consider this site custom-made for you.

      One downside that Austin’s continuing growth presents to native plant lovers and photographers is that the natural habitat here keeps shrinking. Place after place where I’ve photographed over the past decade has been “shot out from under me” by development. I’ve toyed with the idea of posting occasional before/after pairs of pictures in this column to show readers some of what has been lost.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 13, 2011 at 7:06 PM

  7. Yes, that’s a good point. Habitat destruction is always sad. It saddens me too. I think I grew used to it since it happened all around me. I grew up in South Austin (within miles of the Lady Bird Wildflower Center), and the fields of flowers I used to run through with my sister disappeared while we were still kids. So I guess the destruction is a continuation of what I always knew, even though it is sad. I am happy to see that Austin is growing (or appears to be growing) more densely than it was during most of my childhood. On the other hand, it’s growing SO fast that maybe it doesn’t matter. The sprawl continues apace. My parents did their part to add to it when they moved there. I’m glad the city embraces an ethos of conservation.

    Do you have any pictures available online from your 1999 project in which you documented Austin? That would have been the year I graduated high school and started at U.T.


    July 13, 2011 at 7:15 PM

    • I can certainly relate to your comment that “the fields of flowers I used to run through with my sister disappeared while we were still kids.” I’m just a bigger and older kid. And as I’ve complained several times in this column already, the mowers won’t leave some of what’s left alone.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 13, 2011 at 8:40 PM

  8. Oh thank you for the wonderful shots of flowers. I have loved wildflowers since I was small and growing up in California. My first book I ever bought for myself was a book on California Wildflowers and the love has remained strong and true. Texas wildflowers are so magical and diverse and your shots show the dignity and outstanding beauty of them. Thank you so much for sharing your love of them.

    Nancy Wederstrandt

    July 22, 2011 at 9:47 AM

    • And thanks so much for your complimentary comments. I’m glad you find Texas wildflowers as magical as I do. California is no slouch when it comes to wildflowers, either; I hope you get to go back and visit from time to time.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 22, 2011 at 9:53 AM

  9. Steve,
    Thanks so much for your comment on my blog! It’s a pleasure to wander through your images as you have a great eye for taking native plants that are routinely overlooked in our landscape and making them subjects of great composition! I especially like how you can work a species from multiple angles to being out so much of its “character”. It’s my honor to “meet” you here in the blogosphere! Cheers from DFW.

    John S. Mead

    July 26, 2011 at 8:19 AM

    • Thank you, John. Your comments are especially gratifying because you “get” the things I’ve set out to do: promote overlooked plants; show plants from different angles and in different stages; make everything into a pleasing composition. By the way, the majority of plants in DFW are the same as the ones here, so you should be able to see in person most of the species I show here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 26, 2011 at 12:08 PM

  10. Lovely website! I look forward to revisiting often! Bless

  11. Hi Steve, thanks for visiting our blog! your photographs are absolutely stunning, and I appreciate the tips you give on your “my techniques” page…
    looking forward to your upcoming posts!


    September 17, 2011 at 4:55 AM

    • Danke schön. I’m pleased that you found those tips useful, and I hope you’ll enjoy the pictures yet to appear (as I look forward to those yet to be taken).

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 17, 2011 at 5:13 AM

  12. September 29th is the one year anniversary of my blog. To celebrate I would like to honor the folks I look to, for inspiration and guidance; with a series featuring guest authors. Please consider writing a guest post. Your words, your way, would be best, although I did considering asking for interviews, I’m not that good a journalist! Certainly photos are, also, welcome. I ask only that the subject matter be related to foraging or nature; in some way.
    Hope to see you here, soon!
    Many Blessings,
    Linda “Inky” Redbird


    September 23, 2011 at 1:18 PM

  13. Hi Steve, I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award!!


    October 3, 2011 at 10:29 AM

    • Why, thank you. I hadn’t heard of that award, but I’m glad to put my versatility on the line, i.e. on line.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 3, 2011 at 1:27 PM

  14. While the landscape is my photographic muse, I occasionally dabble in macro photography–mostly flowers and flowering plants. You’ve got some very nice images on your blog (I was particularly struck by the Mexican Hat and heath aster shots among the recent entries. I very much look forward to seeing more.

    (Thanks for visiting my blog earlier today, BTW.)


    November 22, 2011 at 10:34 PM

    • Thanks you, and you’re welcome. I’ll encourage readers who see this comment to take a look at the lovely landscapes on Kerry’s site.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 23, 2011 at 5:37 AM

  15. Steve, thanks for sharing such beautiful wildflower portraits. And what an interesting background you have! I’ve developed a deep interest in the Fibonacci number sequence since I’ve been gardening, can’t miss the ever present spirals in plants every time I’m in the garden.


    November 23, 2011 at 9:27 AM

    • I’m pleased that you’ve enjoyed these wildflower portraits. I’m also glad also that your gardening has led you to an appreciation of the Fibonacci numbers. When I taught math, I presented the Fibonacci numbers whenever I could.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 23, 2011 at 1:58 PM

  16. It has been a great pleasure finding your blog, and enjoying your beautiful photography of the wonders of nature. Thank you for sharing. I live at the other end of the world, but have visited Texas many years ago, and found it very beautiful.


    December 6, 2011 at 12:21 AM

  17. Your photographs are amazing! Very happy that I found your site.

    Anne Camille

    December 16, 2011 at 9:31 AM

    • Thanks for your kind words, Anne Camille. I’m pleased to see you promoting Thoreau, whom I first read in high school. Now, decades later, I’ve come to appreciate his communing with nature, something that didn’t resonate with me back then.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 16, 2011 at 9:44 AM

  18. What a beautiful, peaceful site. And what a great gift for you to share your gorgeous images and advanced technical proficiency with us. This makes me so happy: I’m glad you’re here and that I can follow this site!

    Catherine O'Meara

    December 24, 2011 at 7:39 AM

    • I appreciate your comments, Catherine, and I’m especially pleased that you find these pages beautiful and peaceful. I’ll do my best to keep them that way, although a few pictures have shown (and others likely will again) the struggle for existence that goes on out there all the time in nature, and that I and my camera are sometimes witness to.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 24, 2011 at 8:37 AM

  19. You commented on my own blog and I followed you back. I’m glad I did. I enjoyed the artistic composition of your images as well as your obvious skill with a lens. Actually, my six year old son nestled on the arm of my chair as I scrolled through and was saying “wow” at pretty much every image. I liked your literary references too. Congratulations. As an artist, I can learn a lot from your compositions and colours.


    December 24, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    • Thank you. And I enjoyed looking at your art, too.

      Do you think child labor laws would prevent me from hiring your son as my public relations director?

      As for literary references, I delved into words and literature long before I ever did into pictures, so it’s not unusual for literary lines to pop into my head in relation to a photograph.

      Again, thanks so much for strolling through this gallery.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 24, 2011 at 11:26 AM

      • Cheers
        I’ve just posted a painting of lapwings in flight in response to your comments on the flock of grackles (which are I now realise completely unrelated to our blackbird in the UK but are apparently of a New World family called icterids). I hope you don’t mind but I pasted the link to your blog there. Its on http://kestrelart.wordpress.com/2011/12/24/lapwings-in-flight/. I’ll continue to follow your pictures as they come through. Best wishes.


        December 24, 2011 at 2:46 PM

      • I checked out your latest entry and commented on your pretty watercolor there. Thanks for posting it.

        I’m glad you found out more information about the group that grackles belong to. Thanks, too, for posting the link to my photograph of grackles. Isn’t it great how the Internet brings people of similar interests together across great distances?

        Steve Schwartzman

        December 24, 2011 at 9:02 PM

  20. Thank you for introducing me to your blog by visiting mine. What a great eye you have; that along with your technique have created some gorgeous images. I will definitely return.


    December 29, 2011 at 4:40 PM

  21. Your flower and nature photography has great originality and charisma, very enjoyable. Started with a Spotmatic eh., what do you use now? Nice to meet you.


    January 26, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    • Thank you, Lesley: charisma is a new one for the comments on this blog. Nice to meet you too.

      Since the fall of 2009 I’ve been using a Canon EOS 7D, which was new at the time and was the successor to various other Canon EOS models I had before that. The fact that that model has been out for more than two years makes me wonder what successor Canon has planned for it, and when.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 26, 2012 at 11:29 AM

  22. Hi Steve,
    Your photography on wild flowers is really beautiful. Your recent blogs like ‘The winter without a winter’, ‘… and blue’, ‘Bright red fruits attract more than photographers’, ‘Like a fist’ etc are really beautiful. Looking forward to check your photography, I subscribed you. Glad to meet you!



    January 30, 2012 at 5:11 AM

    • Glad to meet you too, Rajkishore. For a long time I’ve wanted to visit your part of the globe, and I hope someday I will. You have a whole different world of intriguing flora and fauna to play with there, but I’m glad that these pictures of nature in central Texas still appeal to you. Welcome.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 30, 2012 at 7:59 AM

  23. Wow! Your photos are absolutely stunning – great blog!! And thanks for visiting mine. I appreciate it. 🙂


    February 7, 2012 at 11:31 AM

  24. +1 Versatile Blogger Award (in case you weren’t sick and tired of it already)
    has more details including the list of nominations.


    abu zar

    February 22, 2012 at 9:31 PM

    • Thank you, Abu. I’m happy for you to have been chosen. As for me, for various reasons, I decided to decline all named awards and to let my posts be their own reward. Thank you again.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 22, 2012 at 9:49 PM

  25. Congrats!! You have been nominated for the Genuine Blogger Award you can find details here: http://n0ts0creative.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/genuine-blogger-award/


    March 24, 2012 at 12:08 AM

    • Congratulations on being chosen for the Genuine Blogger Award, which means that people appreciate what you’re doing. And I appreciate your thinking of me, but after this first came up half a year ago, I decided that my posts and people’s comments about them would be reward enough for me. Thanks again for your kind thoughts.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 24, 2012 at 6:36 AM

  26. Dear Steve, stunning is an inadequate word to describe how I feel seeing your photo “The Old Man’s Beard” in the Wildflower Magazine. Yours humbly, Sharon


    March 29, 2012 at 3:59 AM

  27. great images. I love to photograph flowers!!!! Looking foward to more amazing images and inspiration!


    April 10, 2012 at 10:22 AM

  28. Steve, because I enjoy and admire your blog so much, I have nominated you for the ABC Award.
http://avian101.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/abc-award/ ‎. In order to accept this award, you must comply with the two rules. Then you may place the Award logo on your site. Please do not feel any pressure to accept this award, I understand if you do not wish to participate. But know your site is appreciated, and your blogging is interesting, your photos are beautiful! I enjoy reading your posts! Have a great day! H.J.


    April 15, 2012 at 7:08 AM

    • I’m glad that Donna Wadsley appreciated your blog enough to nominate you for the ABC Award, H.J. I also appreciate your thinking of me, but I decided last year that my posts and people’s comments about them would be reward enough. Thanks again for thinking of me and for favoring the world of nature.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 15, 2012 at 7:42 AM

  29. I’ve been following your blog for awhile now, but I just read your “About” for the first time. I guess I was distracted by all the great photos. I was a Peace Corps volunteer also, and my overseas adventure prompted my first ‘real’ camera purchase- the Nikon F2, and a macro lens.

    After my return to the states I moved to Wyoming where I very quickly became enamored of our native plants. I studied them as forage for livestock and big game, but now I am more interested in their potential for landscaping. I’ve recently re-entered the world of amateur photography, and I seriously appreciate the photos on your blog. I finally got a digital SLR (gift from hubby) and now I am planning on a macro lens (my devious plan all along).

    I have nominated you for the Reader Appreciation Award. This award helps spread the word about bloggers we appreciate. The basic gist is to post the award on your blog, then pass along your recommendations for six other blogs worth reading.

    You can see my nominations at wyominglife dot wordpress dot com/2012/04/24/ive-been-nominated-for-the-reader-appreciation-award/

    Thanks again!


    April 24, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    • Congratulations on being nominated for your award, which means that your readers admire what you’ve been doing on your blog. Last year, when I began to receive nominations as well, I made a decision, for several reasons, to let my blog be its own reward and to thank the people for nominating me, but not to accept or enter into the cycle. I thank you for thinking of me, and I hope you’ll understand.

      I certainly second your appreciation of the plants that are native in your area. I spent a few days in Wyoming in the latter 1990s, so I know how pretty the scenery is there. After I returned to Austin from that trip I wrote a feature about Thermopolis for my local newspaper.

      And what a coincidence that we were both in the Peace Corps and both got our first ‘real’ camera as a result of it. Here were are years later taking pictures, though now digitally rather than on film.

      Thanks again.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 24, 2012 at 7:32 PM

      • I completely understand about the awards.

        I was just out yesterday photographing plants and remembering what it was like to have to worry about how much film I was using, and how much money it was costing- before digital.

        I think there is a quality to real film that digital cannot reproduce, but it sure is nice to snap away as much as I want!

        I’ve also been thinking about all those negatives from my Peace Corp experience. It’s time to get them into a digital format before they degrade into nothingness.

        Keep up the good work, this really is one of my favorite photo based blogs.


        April 27, 2012 at 9:55 AM

  30. Love the Old Man’s Beard photo that won you 2nd place! Beautiful! Love flower photos, have recently taken up as hobby. Can’t wait to look around more on your blog! Thanks for sharing such beauty!


    April 28, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    • You’re welcome, and welcome to the world of native plants in central Texas. Please do look around.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 28, 2012 at 10:45 PM

  31. Like it or not, Steve, I think your blog is absolutely lovely. So I’ve added you to my list of Lovely Blog Awards, posted today. Thanks for what you do for the Texas wildflower world — not to mention the occasional spotlights to our varied wildlife and insects! Keep it up. I’ll keep coming back.


    May 27, 2012 at 9:51 PM

    • I’m pleased to see you getting recognition for your blog, Shannon. Thanks so much for thinking of mine. As you know, I’ve decided that my posts and people’s comments on them would be reward enough for me, but I appreciate the thought. Let’s hear it for nature in Texas!

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 27, 2012 at 9:59 PM

  32. Hey Steve, I have awarded you the Awesome Blog Content Award because I think your blog is fantastic. Check it out at http://photosfromtheloonybin.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/i-am-humbled/. Congrats!!

    • Congratulations on being chosen for the ABC Award, which means that people appreciate what you’re doing on your blog. And I appreciate your thinking of Portraits of Wildflowers, but after the matter of awards first came up for me more than half a year ago, I decided that my posts and people’s comments about them would be reward enough. (I’ll add that the inveterate math teacher in me also thought about how quickly duplications would have to begin, something that you alluded to in your post.) So I’ll just say thanks again for your kind thoughts.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 3, 2012 at 11:23 AM

      • No problem Steve, I totally understand. And now I know another reason why I like you – you’re a math teacher!! I was a bit of a math geek during my school years :). Have a great day!

  33. I stumbled upon your site and enjoyed your photography and writings very much. Perhaps you would like to view my blog, Nature as Art and Inspiration, at http://marymageau.wordpress.com

    mary mageau

    October 14, 2012 at 1:35 AM

  34. Thank you for commenting on my post. Your images are very beautiful. I look forward to following your blog.


    November 2, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    • And thank you. I’m always glad to meet someone who is passionate for conservation, especially of our prairies.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 2, 2012 at 8:13 PM

  35. Absolutely beautiful images and blog!

    Tom Culver

    November 3, 2012 at 10:32 AM

  36. I was wondering how I may get in touch with you. I am interested in using one of your images from the cochineal post in a video I am working on at the Los Angeles County museum of Art on native dyes… What a wonderful blog you have!


    January 10, 2013 at 7:30 PM

    • I’m pleased that you find my blog compelling.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 10, 2013 at 7:46 PM

      • Thank you for responding to my comment and for hiding my email address. Is there any way I can reach you?


        January 11, 2013 at 6:41 PM

  37. You are a man of many talents. Hablo poquito espanol, y francais tambien. Sorry for the lack of correct symbols. I don’t know how to do that in a response. Your photos are unique and quite beautiful, and you’ve done a lot with it. I need to read more to find out what you taught. 🙂


    January 28, 2013 at 8:46 AM

    • Mostly I was a math teacher, though as a graduate student in Romance linguistics I taught some elementary French. (If you have a Macintosh, I can tell you how to type accents and special characters.)

      I’m glad you find my nature photographs appealing. I try to see things differently from most.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 28, 2013 at 9:42 AM

      • I do have a Mac. In spite of taking 4 years of French in high school and 1 in college, I would rate myself as about a 1 out of 5, Spanish I took less, but use more, so that’s maybe a 2 out of 5. I worked for Migrant Education in CA, and taught a bilingual class, so I have had a chance to learn Spanish, but haven’t practiced much in the last 12 years as a history consultant. 🙂 I’d be happy to learn how to use symbols in comment boxes. Thanks 🙂 ML


        January 28, 2013 at 10:14 AM

  38. I found you via Pat Bean, and I’m glad I did. Your photography is brilliant, and I’m going to enjoy learning about the plants around me.

    Alex Autin

    January 30, 2013 at 6:39 AM

  39. Your photography is stunning! I have done a bit of marquetry in my past and after viewing your images of wildflowers I would like to make some patterns using some of your photos. Would that be a possibility? I most certainly credit the use of your images in any piece that I would produce.

    George Ward
    San Antonio

    George Ward

    March 11, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    • Let me go ahead and give preliminary permission to do two. I’d like to see the results, and then we can discuss doing more. Thanks.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 11, 2013 at 12:09 PM

      • Thanks, I would definitely like to do one or two of the Mexican hats. I could use colored/dyed veneer but am leaning towards natural veneer with contrasting light/dark values. Will produce a pattern, start bevel cutting and upon completion send you some images of the finished piece/s.

        George Ward

        George Ward

        March 11, 2013 at 5:28 PM

  40. Your photographs are stunning. I also enjoy photographing nature whether it be flowers or animals. I’m a nature lover by heart.


    March 26, 2013 at 7:25 AM

  41. Lovely photos 🙂


    April 5, 2013 at 4:22 AM

  42. From viewing photos on your blog, it is no surprise that you have so many publications. Keep up the great work.

  43. I have a question re: a shrub ID and hope you may know the answer. I’m stumped, as was the blogger who posted about it here: http://www.skybaxheadquarters.blogspot.com.au/2013/06/what-shrub-is-that.html
    Thanks in advance, Steve!


    July 5, 2013 at 7:24 AM

    • I took a look, but I’m sorry to say that I don’t know either.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 5, 2013 at 7:38 AM

      • Everyone I’ve asked has had the same reply, and I’ve only asked very knowledgeable people! Whatever it is, it sure isn’t well known!


        July 5, 2013 at 7:59 AM

  44. You have an impressive list of photographic accomplishments. Good for you. I have always enjoyed it, too. I have a long list of 1 award. In 1985, I got 2nd place in the Chicago Tribune contest and won $250. My claim to fame for a little while. 🙂

    Jim in IA

    July 29, 2013 at 8:42 AM

    • I like your tongue-in-cheek statement that you “have a long list of 1 award.” Awards aside, I find photography to be its own reward.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 29, 2013 at 9:37 AM

  45. Hi

    I was nominated as the recipient of two nice blogger awards recently. You can go The JAR Blog to read about them. The nomination entitles me to nominate others for the awards. I have chosen you as one of them. Your efforts as a blogger have impressed me. The work and energy you invest are appreciated by many, especially me.

    What you do about the nominations is entirely up to you. You may accept them and pass along the nomination(s) to others by way of the rules posted at my blog. Copy and save the award images to your collection.

    Or, you may decide to not participate and do nothing more. Do whatever you want. I have no expectations. It is entirely up to you.

    Sincerely and thanks for being a good blogger.

    Jim in IA

    September 2, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    • Hi, Jim, and thanks. Naturally I’m pleased to see that readers appreciate what you’re doing on your blog, and of course I appreciate your appreciating my pictures of nature in central Texas. When the question of awards first came up for me a couple of years ago, I thought about it and ultimately decided that this blog and people’s comments on it would be reward enough for me without any overt awards. Thanks again for thinking of me, and I know, from the way you closed your comment, that you understand my decision.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 2, 2013 at 9:53 AM

  46. Don’t know if awards are your thing, but thought I’d pass one on — in recognition of how much I enjoy your images. http://wp.me/pKuUa-1kJ


    December 22, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    • I’ll confess that awards aren’t my thing, but I appreciate your thinking of me, and I’m pleased that you keep enjoying the images I put up. Thanks again.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 22, 2013 at 9:32 PM

  47. It’s really an amazing work you’ve been doing. I’ve shared it on facebook. I hope you remember me from Brazil. My best regards to you all in Austin. See you!

    Cleber Reis

    March 4, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    • Hi, Cleber, of course I remember you from your stay in Austin and from the day we spent in San Antonio (where you were excited at the San Antonio Museum of Art when you found some items from Brazil). I was impressed with how well you speak English and the good work you’re doing in passing it along to your fellow Brazilians. We hope you’ll come back for another visit.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 4, 2014 at 6:04 PM

  48. Thanks for your visit to my site so I could find yours. Your photos are great!


    April 10, 2014 at 8:42 AM

    • I’m pleased that you enjoy these looks into the native flora of Texas. There’s so much to see in nature here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 10, 2014 at 10:56 AM

      • Very true. I have not come across nature yet which did not provide any beauty, even the desert has its glory.


        April 10, 2014 at 11:15 AM

  49. Many compliments to your photos, I appreciated that your favorite subjects are wildflowers, since I believe that there’s so much beauty in nature all around us. I like very much that you write also the names of plants, this is important for knowing better our landscape. I teach botany to students in my country and I go out weekly for finding wildflowers or weeds that will be identified during practical lessons. So, I appreciate in your photography both the details of the flower but also the beauty of blooming prairies.


    April 16, 2014 at 3:16 PM

    • Thanks so much, Elisa. Having been a teacher myself, I feel it’s important to provide identifying information about the subjects of my photographs, at least insofar as I’m able to.

      Please come and browse these pages as often as you’d like.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 16, 2014 at 11:36 PM

  50. Taking the time after graduation to head off to an unknown place is such a great start on a young life…new worlds and ideas open up. Great story and great photos.

    Dalo 2013

    June 20, 2014 at 7:44 PM

    • A year and a half before going to Honduras I’d spent the summer in Lisbon (with a brief jaunt to the south of France), my first real foreign adventure. Judging from your recent posts, you’ve had your quota of new worlds and new ideas too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 20, 2014 at 10:36 PM

      • Nothing quite like peering behind the curtain and seeing a whole new way to look at the world; opportunities that are just waiting to be experienced.

        Dalo 2013

        June 20, 2014 at 10:51 PM

  51. I was sent here by dear Gallivanta. Exquisite photography!


    August 3, 2014 at 6:37 AM

  52. You have amazing shots on this blog !! I’m glad to have stumbled upon it !


    September 11, 2014 at 7:12 AM

  53. I have been wondering since few weeks that how well you know about the flowers,so i assumed you might be a botanist…I am amazed to know how you have followed your passion … Congratulations on your achievements 🙂


    October 29, 2014 at 5:55 AM

    • Thanks. Unfortunately I’ve never had even an introductory botany course, but I’ve learned some things in following my photographic passion.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 29, 2014 at 8:10 AM

  54. Hi Steve, I have a question about your blog. What is the best way to contact you? Thanks! Lauren

    Lauren Smith

    December 16, 2014 at 8:02 PM

    • You can ask your question right here, Lauren.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 16, 2014 at 9:54 PM

      • Thank you, Steve :-). I would like to edit if possible or delete my recent blog comment, as I incorrectly stated the book title. It should be “Reclaiming the Wild Soul” and not “Embrace Your Inner Wild: 52 Reflections for an Eco-Centric World.” I do not see an option to do that? I appreciate your assistance.

        Lauren Smith

        December 17, 2014 at 1:26 AM

        • I’ve made the change for you, Lauren. I think the reason WordPress doesn’t allow commenters to edit their comments after they’re posted is because then someone with less than honorable intentions could go back in and make changes that the blog owner wouldn’t even be aware of.

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 17, 2014 at 5:47 AM

  55. Pretty awesome to open my naturescapes email and see an article by my favorite flower photographer!

    Michael Glover

    January 6, 2015 at 11:57 PM

    • Thanks for your enthusiasm and continuing support, Michael, both for my photographs and for our native wildflowers that are the subjects of so many of those photographs. A happy 2015 to you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 7, 2015 at 5:11 AM

  56. Wow, your photos are a treat for the eyes! Looking forward to following your blog and seeing more of your work. ~Rita


    March 31, 2015 at 1:27 PM

  57. I have been documenting new wildflowers and plants that I find along roadsides with photographs and noting location…so I read your comments with much interest with the highway/county info. I have notes similar and make many stops in my travels in Central and South Texas. I will have to research now to get copies of your articles. I always feel people miss so much as they speed along the roads, seeing only a splash of color. I stopped between Hebronville and Zapata in March after seeing tall, large pink flowers among white prickly poppies only to discover so many shades of pinks in the rose prickly poppy that I was simply amazed. Never saw them before. And, in viewing them, found other flowers I have never seen before and would not have if not for pulling off the road.
    I just, finally, identified a plant (only stem and seed pods) I found 8 years ago….just located again, complete with leaves and flowers this time, on hwy 90 about 8 miles outside of Seguin toward Gonzales. My mystery plant… arabis petiolaris! So fun enjoying the beauty close up.

    Jean Wilson

    May 4, 2015 at 8:54 PM

    • I sympathize, because even within an hour or two of Austin I still come across plenty of plants that I can’t identify or have doubts about. Of course the farther out I travel, the more unfamiliar plants I find, as you know so well. And you’re right, too, that to really see things you have to stop and go on foot (if only we didn’t have chiggers here!).

      I don’t know if you saw my recent post about Arabis petiolaris, but if not, here it is:


      Steve Schwartzman

      May 4, 2015 at 9:03 PM

  58. I think you need to include a snapshot of you “outstanding in the field.” It would be a nice touch.
    By the way, your organizational skills must be remarkable since you are facile with retrieving photos from the past with such regularity.


    September 9, 2015 at 5:59 AM

    • I like your wordplay in the phrase “outstanding in the field.” Thanks for suggesting it.

      Keeping track of all the photographs I’ve taken is daunting, and I often use the search function that’s built into my computer’s operating system. I managed to squeeze a good chunk of my archives onto a 6 TB (terabytes) hard drive, but my recent cameras produce larger files that fill additional hard drives more quickly.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 9, 2015 at 6:59 AM

    • It just occurred to me that I once posted an old photograph in which I wasn’t outstanding in the field but standing up in the snow (with some help):


      Steve Schwartzman

      September 9, 2015 at 7:03 AM

  59. Good to meet you. You really capture the magnificence around you. I write poetry at mine and you are welcome to visit. 🙂

    Nomzi Kumalo

    October 16, 2015 at 3:58 PM

  60. Glad to have come across your site. Hoping to come by often. Good luck with your work. It’s fantastic.


    May 6, 2016 at 1:16 AM

  61. Oh my, I just stumbled on to your blog, and I’m overwhelmed with the amount of great reading and viewing material that I’m going to get to search through. I’ve only dabbled in photography on my blog, but am ready to learn more skills and techniques, and my favorite subject is nature, wildflowers especially. I am really going to enjoy reading back through your posts!

    DJones BranchingOut

    June 11, 2017 at 12:46 PM

  62. Steve – I love your blog and your photographs. I am a quilter, and have been inspired to make an abstract quilt that is in the colors and general pattern of your monarch on a Maximillian Sunflower. (from 11/11/17.) I’d like to use your image on the quilt’s label – sized about 2×3″. How would I go about obtaining copyright permission?
    (an example of my quilt art is shown in my 5/2/17 blog post)

    Judy Baumann

    January 18, 2018 at 8:50 PM

    • Hi, Judy. It’s okay to use that monarch picture on your 2×3″ label. I’m eager to see how your quilt turns out.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 18, 2018 at 10:56 PM

  63. D’you know I’m not sure I’ve ever read your About Me page before, even though I followed you years ago when I had a different blog (probably’ Absurd Old Bird’ or ‘Arty Old Bird’). I had wondered if you were originally from somewhere other than Texas. That must have been quite a change when you first moved there.


    March 16, 2018 at 8:05 AM

    • It’s hard for me to believe I’ve now lived in Texas almost twice as long as I did in New York. Yes, it was a big change, but not nearly as big as the one that took me from New York to Honduras at age 22.

      I often look at people’s About page but I don’t know what fraction of people regularly do that. I find the extra information useful, as I did with your Info page.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 16, 2018 at 9:43 AM

      • It’s usually my second stop (the About page) when I find a new blog. I go through a few posts on the home page then hit the About page.


        March 16, 2018 at 12:01 PM

  64. I have recently found your blog and love it. I take photos of flowers and plants for a friend living in Louisiana and always try to give the names. Reading your posts I finally discovered the name of my most like flower vervain which I’d always called as a child “purples” I have asked many people and have skimed throw books looking for this little gem. Thinking that if I found this flower then this would be the wild flowers book I would own.

    I like how when you take pictures of common things. You can notice how truly beautiful things are when you pay attention. I know that I might not take my pictures as fine as you do. But it’s nice to see someone else who isn’t just walking through life thinking that Texas is boring. But actually looking and seeing how beautiful the wild things are.

    I remember a documentary series where a man would visit different parts of the world from the woods to the artic desert and show you how even the most Barron looking of places is teeming with life you just got to learn how to look.


    April 28, 2018 at 1:32 PM

    • Thanks for your appreciation of what I’ve done here and of the native plants themselves. Once we start paying attention, we discover how much there is in nature around us. All that is anything but boring.

      Happy looking.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 28, 2018 at 2:12 PM

  65. Teacher, husband, photographer, mathematic lover, nature observer, blogger, speaking French and Spanish fluently, traveler, global citizen… You wear many hat Steve. Cette diversité d’intérêt et ouverture sur le monde se reflètent dans tes photos. lesquelles soit dit en passant sont tout simplement magnifiques. Stunning, simply stunning. Can’t wait to get to know you better.

    3C Style

    August 11, 2018 at 11:38 PM

    • Thanks for your enthusiasm, Dominique, and for appreciating the photographs that appear here. Ce qui me plaît, c’est ta manière de te décrire: “Journaliste scientifique depuis 18 ans du Québec, j’ai tendance à me questionner sur tout et à rechercher l’information pour mieux comprendre le monde qui m’entoure.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 12, 2018 at 10:07 AM

  66. Steve,
    I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be in Austin on Tuesday, July 23. I’ll be returning from South Bend/IN very late the day before, and after staying for the night at the La Quinta near the airport, I need to wait for my wife and her cousin to arrive Tuesday afternoon. Would you be interested in meeting, say for lunch?


    July 16, 2019 at 7:46 PM

    • Hi, Pit. Thanks for reaching out. Under normal circumstances July 23 would have been a good opportunity to meet in Austin, but tomorrow morning we’re off for our first real trip in 13 months. We plan to visit Cincinnati, Dayton, Detroit, Toronto, and various places in New York State.

      We’ll have to arrange a get-together after we get back. Hold down Texas for us while we’re away.

      ~ Steve

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 17, 2019 at 4:32 AM

      • Some other time then. Austin is not that far away, and as we say in German, “aufgeschoben ist nicht aufgehoben”. [postponed is not cancelled].
        Enjoy your trip,
        P.S.: we were in Cincinnati last year


        July 17, 2019 at 5:45 AM

        • That’s a good German saying. I wonder if English has a rhyming equivalent.

          So we’ll walk some of the same ground you did last year.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 17, 2019 at 6:17 AM

          • I’ve haven’t heard of any rhyming equivalent.
            Yes, you’ll be covering some of the same ground, and much more of the ground that is still on our bucket list.


            July 17, 2019 at 7:21 AM

  67. Hi Steven, just to let you know that I nominated you on my blog. I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate the work you do… Keep it up! https://afrolegends.com/2020/05/26/vincent-ehindero-blogger-award-thank-you-dear-kitty/

    Dr. Y.

    May 26, 2020 at 5:33 PM

  68. From a report on the Texas Academy of Science in the journal Science of 1931:

    The lecture of the evening consisted of a talk by
    Dr. J. M. Kuehne on colored photography, which was
    illustrated by some two hundred slides. The colored
    photographs told the story of the wild flowers of
    Texas through a single season, beginning with winter
    and spring flowers and ending with the composites
    of the autumn. Of special interest were the photo-
    graphs of species that are common in Texas in early
    spring, which were blooming along the edge of the
    snow-cap of Mt. Rainier in August

    I wonder if this collection still exists.

    Your images are a delight, but my main motive here is to ask, are you the same Steven Schwartzman who authored The Words of Mathematics that acknowledges help from Helen-Jo Hewitt of fond memory?


    December 28, 2020 at 9:44 PM

    • What a surprise comment. Yes, I’m the person who wrote The Words of Mathematics and who was a decades-long friend of Helen-Jo (H.J.) Hewitt. Hard to believe she’s already been gone three years. She took pride in her editing skills, and I was happy to have her review my draft for that book before submitting it to the publisher. She was also fond of wildflowers and was a long-time member of the New England Wildflower Society, recently renamed the Native Plant Trust. In the summer of 2018, as she had wished, I scattered her ashes in the organization’s Garden in the Woods a little west of Boston.

      How did you know H.J., and how did you come across the reference to J.M. Kuehne?

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 29, 2020 at 6:01 AM

      • I recently got Words (very impressive and interesting to browse, by the way) and remembered HJ’s name from the 70s. She and I could have crossed paths in several ways – computational linguistics, library science – but what I remember are my visits to the Linguistics Research Center, housed in the HRC where I worked, and being introduced to campus mainframes by her and Bob Amsler. I found her obituary in the paper and I’m further amazed to learn about her interest in wildflowers from you.

        As for Kuehne, one of my projects in the history of mathematics is the life of George Bruce Halsted, a founder of the Texas Academy of Science. Hence my rooting around in their early reports and happening upon this wildflower connection at the same time I was contemplating how to contact you.

        My own, primitive website is http://www.neomon.us.


        December 30, 2020 at 5:43 PM

        • When I saw you identifying yourself as Neomon I did a little searching and found http://www.neomon.us, which I assumed was yours because of the mathematical contents. I’d not heard of J.M. Kuehne, who I also went ahead and read quite a bit about on the Internet. In Kuehne’s time bluebonnets bloomed on the UT campus; that may no longer have been true by the time H.J arrived in the 1970s, but she told me she remembered wildflowers on the land that became Highland Mall (and is now Austin Community College).

          I’m glad you enjoyed The Words of Mathematics. It was a labor of love, a way to combine two of my interests. When I taught math I made a point of explaining where technical terms like asymptote (‘not falling together’) and secant (‘cutting’) came from because the etymologies cause the words to make sense.

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 30, 2020 at 8:07 PM

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