Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Doing our respective things

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Variegated Fritillary Butterfly on Rain-Lily 7216

When I was photographing on September 9th at the end of Perry Lane near 45th Street I was fortunate to have a variegated fritillary, Euptoieta claudia, land on one of the nearby rain-lilies, Cooperia drummondii, and stay there long enough (over three minutes!) for both of us to do our respective things. Notice the chunk missing from yonder wing.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 18, 2014 at 5:33 AM

Can you say svelte? (Alternate title: the return of rain-lilies)

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Rain-Lily Flower with Blue Sky 7041

We had some rain in Austin on September 4th and 7th, so by the 9th a fair number of rain-lilies (Cooperia drummondii) had come out. I photographed this one (and many another) where Perry Lane dead-ends on the west side of Mopac near 45th St.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 17, 2014 at 5:43 AM

Carolina mantis

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Carolina Mantis on Leaf 7054

From way back on July 7th at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center here’s a Carolina mantis, known scientifically as Stagmomantis carolina. Aren’t you intrigued by the ringed conical structures at its rear? I’m also intrigued by the thought that a praying mantis is a preying mantis.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 16, 2014 at 5:31 AM

1337

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This morning I got a notification from WordPress saying: “Congratulations on writing 1,337 total posts on Portraits of Wildflowers.” Not 1,000 or 2,000 or 1,500 or even 1,300, but precisely 1,337. I may be in my prime, but 1,337 isn’t even a prime number, because it factors into 7 x 191. Inscrutable are the ways of WP.

Now that you’ve been inveigled by a number, I’d better give you something botanical. Here’s some powerful purple in a mostly soft picture of that anything-but-soft plant you saw last time, eryngo, Eryngium leavenworthii, viewed from the top down. The location was once again the Elisabet Ney Museum on August 28.

Eryngo Viewed from Top 5228A

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 15, 2014 at 1:35 PM

It’s time again for those little purple false thistly pineapply thingies

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Eryngo Flower Head 5242

So there I was at the Elisabet Ney Museum on August 28th, as you’ve heard a bunch of times. Not far from the Maximilian sunflowers, and contrasting nicely with their yellow, were the purple flower heads of an eryngo, Eryngium leavenworthii. Despite appearances, this plant isn’t related to pineapples or thistles but is in the same botanical family as carrots, parsley, and celery. Just because eryngo isn’t a thistle doesn’t mean its spines don’t hurt. They do.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 15, 2014 at 5:46 AM

A yellow world

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Poecilognathus Fly on Maximilian Sunflower 5374 Detail

So there I was at the Elisabet Ney Museum on August 28th photographing Maximilian sunflowers, Helianthus maximiliani, when I caught sight of an old friend of mine, a tan fly in the genus Poecilognathus that’s only about a quarter of an inch (6mm) long. The nectar in the sunflower’s disk flowers* had attracted it, but I outdid the tiny fly by being attracted to it as well as to the flowers*.

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* If you’d like a reminder of why the word flowers is in the plural here, you can have one.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 14, 2014 at 5:33 AM

How do Maximilian sunflowers differ from common sunflowers?

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Maximilian Sunflower Head from Behind 5343

Yesterday’s picture of a Maximilian sunflower, Helianthus maximiliani, at the Elisabet Ney Museum on August 28th might have made you think the plant could just as well have been a common sunflower, Helianthus annuus. One difference, as you see here, is all the long, slender, and oh-so-gradually tapering bracts beneath the head of a Maximilian sunflower. In contrast, the common sunflower has wide, relatively flat bracts that suddenly narrow only near their tips, something you can confirm in a picture posted here last year.

The background in today’s picture looks dark because I set the camera’s aperture to be small enough (f/14, for good depth of field) and the shutter speed to be fast enough (1/400 sec., to stop movement) that even the clear blue sky wasn’t bright enough to register well on the camera’s sensor with those settings. The same would have been true for the sunflower but I illuminated it with a flash, which of course had no effect on the sky.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 13, 2014 at 5:44 AM

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