Going Solo July 28, 2020 ~ shoreacres During a visit to the Big Thicket’s Solo Tract, I found a single stem of coastal plain yellow-eyed grass (Xyris ambigua) glowing with unexpected beauty. Comments always are welcome. Share this:ShareEmailFacebookLike this:Like Loading...
63 thoughts on “Going Solo”
It seems you weren’t at all ambigua about stopping to make these portraits. Any ambiguity lies with the people who called this non-grass species a grass.
That’s why I tagged it as both ‘flower’ and ‘grass’. Like blue-eyed grass (a member of the Iris family), this one’s common name seems to have resulted from its leaves rather than its flower; the leaves can be as much as 16″ long. I smiled at the common name used on several Florida sites: ‘morning yellow-eyed grass.’
As in morning-after-a-rough-night grass?
Laughing… That’s hadn’t occurred to me. I was thinking more along the lines of “Well, at least finding this made getting up before dawn worthwhile grass.”
Gorgeous. Thank you.
It’s one of my favorite discoveries. It’s attractive and interesting in each of its stages, so I’ll be showing a few more photos of it.
Definitely lovely. I like the bokeh in the background of the 2nd image as well as the flower head.
In the second photo, the sun just was beginning to rise above the pine trees in the background. I wasn’t sure it would work, but it worked well enough to make me happy. One of the ‘rules’ I read about when I first started using my camera was to never, ever shoot into the sun. Like all rules, there are exceptions.
I’ve got some great shots shooting into the sun. Makes for some great visual effects, whereas shooting with the sun behind you tends to show accurate details.
You’re exactly right. That’s one reason I enjoy your blog so much. I learn a lot I didn’t know, and who doesn’t like confirmation for things we’ve come to believe are right?
Beauty can be found in a field of bluebonnets, or on a single stem, if you just stop to look. My eyes were held captive by its simplicity. Very nice.
I’m glad it appealed. You comment reminded me of a Robert Francis poem I quoted in another post. I enjoy a mixed bouquet or a field of flowers as much as anyone, but…
“One flower at a time, please,
however small the face.
Two flowers are one flower
too many, a distraction.
Three flowers in a vase begin
to be a little noisy,
Like cocktail conversation,
A crowd of flowers is a crowd
of flatterers (forgive me).
One flower at a time. I want
to hear what it is saying.”
Love the poem (and the flower)–haven’t seen either one before.
It’s one of my favorite poems, and the flower’s sheer delight. They don’t grow in colonies like sunflowers, but where they do grow, there often are lots of them, somewhat spaced out. It makes getting a portrait of a single plant easier, for sure!
Thanks so much. It was lovely to be out early to see such sights, although I confess I’ll be happy when sunrise begins to come just a bit later.
Thanks, Laurie. It’s one of the most interesting ‘new’ flowers I’ve found.
Splendid use of light
Morning (or evening) light certainly can be a photographer’s friend. It worked well here; I’m glad the result pleased you.
It’s amazing how beautiful an easily overlooked single stalk of not-really-a-grass can be. A great find and really striking photos.
Since I’d never encountered this until I visited east Texas, I thought it wasn’t local. Then I looked at the USDA map again, and saw that it’s listed for Chambers County, across Galveston Bay. I rarely visit the Anahuac Wildlife Refuge there, but it would be worth making the trip to see if I can find this gem. It’s a lovely plant, and well worth seeking out.
stunning second photo!
Thanks, Misti. Have you visited the Solo Tract? It’s an area that’s unmarked, with no trails, but it’s a great place to wander. Directions are at the bottom of this page, in the section about the Headquarters area. The edge of the service road is a good place to find sundews. On this visit, Liatris, colicroot, partridge pea, and pinewoods gentian were plentiful.
a solo artist for sure.
You’ve gotten really good with that camera ( and being able to see what so most never see) Just gorgeous image
Well, you remember that old joke about the guy who asked how to get to Carnegie Hall and what he was told: practice, practice, practice. The ratio of acceptable to trash is still about 1/50, but that’s better than 1/100. Every now and then, I got back into the archives and look at photos from 2015, and smile. I’m glad you enjoyed these — I certainly enjoyed making them.
A beautiful specimen captured with an artist’s eye!
I’ve found that training my eye’s as important as learning the technical aspects of the camera. It takes time to learn to see!
What a dramatic shot, Linda! Very striking!
Both photos turned out to be great rewards for some patience — and a willingness to plop down into the sand to be at flower-level. Beyond that, they’re reminders of the pleasures of simplicity and ‘unclutteredness’ in a photo. Finding ways to create an impression of simplicity is part of the fun.
You must have caught the sun just right, Linda — beautiful shot!
That’s exactly what I tried to do, Debbie. I’m glad the result pleased you!
A wonderful mastery of understatement!
There are times when less is less, but sometimes less really is more, and I think that turned out to be true with these photos. Thanks for the kind words.
This called to mind “God hides in the details.”
Indeed. I’ve always enjoyed Heraclitus filtered through Annie Dillard, and your comment reminded me of this, from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek: “If, as Heraclitus suggests, god, like an oracle, neither declares nor hides, but sets forth by signs, then clearly I had better be scrying the signs.”
Always. Or at the very least be enjoying all that beauty.
Those are both stunning photos and yes, an excellent use of the light.
Thanks, Tina. If only I could manage to get myself out and about really early more often!
These are shown on the maps as being present in almost all of Florida, except for the inland counties. If it is present, it’s tall enough and the flower’s a bright enough yellow to be noticeable. I’ve found it in dry, sandy conditions, and in damp, even wet places — so pretty!
That it is!
You can imagine how happy my eye for simplicity is right now. Hint: it’s very happy.
At one point, I thought of you and grinned. Just for fun, I’d rotated the first photo ninety degrees, and almost posted it that way with the title “Landfall.” Dark sky, dark water, and illuminated land between — but no ICM. Then, I thought “Rothko,” but it took turning vertical into horizontal to bring him to mind.
Now I am breaking into more than a grin — a huge smile. Had you posted it rotated 90° to the horizontal I think I might’ve stared at it for hours. As it is, it’s still very stare worthy.
How astonishing nature is, oh, I just LOVED this.xxx
Then we’re even — you loved this, and I loved your photos of Peanut. She certainly has been another astonishing example of what nature can offer.
These are both superb captures of the beauty of nature’s complex simplicity and grace, Linda. Just lovely.
Thanks, Steve. In their way, both photos were answers to the question, “I wonder what would happen if…” When I got the answers, I was as surprised as I was pleased.
These are the simple of joys of getting out and wandering around. You know that each walk will be filled with delights of every kind, but every so often you find a special treasure, and I think you have done it with this combination of simplicity and consummate beauty.
It’s true. I’ve never gone into nature without finding something of interest — or being found, as in the case of the grasshopper on the windshield. But there are special days, and special treasures, and I agree that this flower would qualify. Of course, sometimes it’s our attention that helps to create the beauty. There were hundreds of these flowers spread across several sites, but spending time with this one allowed it to shine.
Love the flower, Linda. I would describe it as sensuous. Hope you are weathering well. We’ve been thinking about you over the past few days as the storm hit your area. –Curt
Actually, we had few effects from the hurricane. All of the action was far south of us. We had some rain bands and some breeze, but there was far less wind than with a good frontal passage, and very little rain. The most obvious effect was coastal flooding because of wind-driven tides. I did hate to see areas that were so badly torn apart by Harvey hit again. It looks like the next one might be heading to Florida, but it’s too soon to say.
So glad it skipped you for the most part, Linda. It sounds like we may be in for a long hurricane season. –Curt
these are lovely in their simplicity
Thanks, sherri. Thoreau was right, about the importance of simplifying.
Backlit works beautifully. I can see why they called it a grass, being in the Iris family, these are the smallish ones which have those long stalks and leaves. Well, some colloquial names have their reason.
Actually, while the blue-eyed grass is in the Iris family, this one is in its own family: the Xyridaceae. The yellow-eyed grasses have their own genus – Xyris – and they’re more closely aligned with grasses than they are other flowering plants. They’re so interesting I’m going to do another post about them, with more detailed images of the flowers themselves, and a little more about their favored environment and taxon.
Yes, I looked it up now and it is fascinating to know the family. I read the classifying system (The APG IV system of flowering plant classification) begun placing it under that genus and that it’s tropical and subtropical. Now I’m interested in finding it here but I get the feeling they’re smallish and I might have a hard time finding them. However, they have a form of their own, as I can appreciate from your images.
As they mature, they get rather tall, and the cottony appearance becomes more pronounced. When I saw them last year, it was late in the season — around October, as I recall — and they were easily two feet tall.
For some reason, my comment didn’t “take.” It had to do with fields of this stuff stretching out as far as the eye could see, green one day, butter yellow the next.
Well, I’m glad this comment ‘took,’ because now I have a vision of a field of these beauties. Because they’re so small, it would take a lot of them to fill up a field, but it’s still worth imagining.