Cactus Bokeh


During our trip to Austin, Texas last week, Ted Forbes, a fellow photo and design geek, drove out to Austin to go on a photo safari. After a series of snafus (mostly my fault), we ended up driving out to Hamilton Pool Preserve, an amazingly gorgeous waterfall about an hour outside of Austin. If you live in the Austin area and have never been, plan to go as soon as possible. It’s one of those places that is so perfect, I suspect it was constructed by aliens.

Unfortunately, we arrived at the preserve about an hour before it closed so there was very little time to explore. We headed straight down to the waterfall and spent all of our time there snapping pictures. On the way back up we walked quickly past a Prairie Restoration Area, and I tell you, I truly wish we’d had more time to explore. It was so, so beautiful. Unbeknown to me, Ted caught a plant discovery on video (it’s just past the first part in which we were making fun of overuse of the word “bokeh”). Watching this video was a bit of an eye-opener for me since this is exactly how I freak out whenever I discover a plant I’ve never seen before. I’ve just never had my ridiculousness played back to me.

Here’s the cactus I was going nuts over:

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

In the video none of my friends got what all of the fuss was about. But I suspect that you, my fellow plant geek brethren, will.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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17 thoughts on “Cactus Bokeh

  1. Did you see the native Texas orchids when you were down by the waterfall? They have super tiny beautiful flowers and it always amazes me that we have orchids that grow in our desert environment. So glad that you went to Hamilton Pool – that place is one of the most magical around here. :)

  2. it looks like a cactus cocktail shaker, can you tell where my brain is? working with children will do that to you

  3. It looks as if a cactus grew on top of another cactus. As a child, we called those “choyas”, although I think that the term choya applies to a different cactus. Anyway, those are generally round and not peanut shaped like your picture. I believe that this particular type of cactus is protected from harvest in the wild in states like Arizona. I am not sure if they are protected in Texas.
    My last guess is that this may be a baby Saguaro cactus.

  4. Oh yes, if anyone knows what the cactus is please let me know. I haven’t pulled my giant cactus tome out to attempt to identify it yet.

    Patience: I did not see any orchids! I did see some lovely ferns though. Saw some pencil cacti too.

  5. I’ll have to think on this one a bit. My late grandmother had a rather impressive cacti garden (last I knew it’s still there) in west Texas (I’m in Northeast Texas). She had cacti similar to this one in her garden. I’ve got some prickly pear (great for eating and making dye) that we took cuttings of and some yucca. We still have to property in the family. It’s a 7 hour drive but I bet I know a certain brother willing to make a trip down to Midland with me.

  6. Kelly: At what point? There are two cameras in use. I took the photo above with a crappy point and shoot digital not worth mentioning, and at the end of the video a hasselblad.

  7. Kelly, It’s about time? Alice Waters has been trying to convince someone at the White House that growing food is a priority for years.

  8. The discovery of the catus is beautiful but i want to know more about your incredible tattoo on your arm!!! Close ups? Where do you get your work done?
    Did you draw the intial pic?

  9. beet5: Thanks! Although i am merely the bearer of the pain and not the artist. There’s a post over here about the tattoo.

    Kelly and meg: I had heard! Tweeted about it last night. And now I have to go self-flagellate for using the so-called verb “tweeted”.

  10. Oh my god. This is hilarious. It reminds me of the time I discovered orchid cacti. That was a major plant freak out session.

  11. I have moments like that all the time with my husband standing by patiently humoring me. Someday, with enough exposure, he’ll see why plants are so fascinating!

    I, too, am so excited about what Michelle Obama is doing.

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