Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Just when I thought…

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Prairie Flameleaf Sumac Turning Colors 0304

… that I was done photographing flameleaf sumac for 2014, along came the afternoon of November 30th and I found myself at it again. How could I not, when intermittent sunshine lit up two Rhus lanceolata trees along consecutive bends in the switchback path leading down through the park behind the Arboretum? This was the lower of the two trees.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 14, 2014 at 5:32 AM

Uncommon colors in a young sycamore

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Sycamore Sapling Turning Colors by Bushy Bluestem 6636

Near the end of my visit to Lost Maples on November 14th I came across a sycamore, Platanus occidentalis, that in spite of being just a sapling had some of the yellowest leaves I’d ever seen in that species. A few of the other leaves had turned a maroon that also struck me as unusual for a sycamore.

Growing adjacent to the sapling and even partly mixed in with it was some bushy bluestem, Andropogon glomeratus, a native grass that co-starred in the previous post.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 13, 2014 at 5:34 AM

Bushy bluestem and bald cypress

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Bushy Bluestem Snagged on Bald Cypress 7640

Click for better quality.

On November 18th I made my first visit to a natural area called Jacob’s Well in Wimberley, a town about an hour southwest of Austin. One thing that caught my attention was this seed head of bushy bluestem, Andropogon glomeratus, that had gotten caught as well. Its captor was a low branch of a bald cypress tree, Taxodium distichum, whose needle-like leaves were turning the rich orange-brown they take on in the fall.

To compose this picture I lay down and aimed the camera mostly upward. That accounts for what may strike you as a strange perspective, but it’s the view that many animals walking on the ground would get of the same scene. If you want to orient yourself, be aware that the tree’s white trunk, which was actually vertical, intersects the lower border of the picture about a third of the way over from the right. The non-traditional angle at which I took the picture foreshortened the trunk and made it appear to be leaning.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 12, 2014 at 5:37 AM

An oak alive (but not a live oak) and a juniper dead

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Oak Sapling Turning Red by Dead Ashe Junipers 9738

When I was at the Doeskin Ranch nature preserve in Burnet County on November 26th I photographed this young tree, apparently a Texas red oak, Quercus buckleyi. Though still a sapling, its leaves knew to turn red at this time of year. What a contrast with the dead and bare branches of the fallen Ashe juniper, Juniperus ashei, touching it.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 11, 2014 at 6:03 AM

Its bark is as good as its bright [leaves, that is]

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Escarpment Black Cherry Trunk and Yellow Leaves 9509

In a comment yesterday about the escarpment black cherry, Prunus serotina var. eximia, shoreacres quoted the portion of a Wikipedia article that mentions the distinctive bark a black cherry tree has, depending on its age: “A mature black cherry can easily be identified in a forest by its very broken, dark grey to black bark, which has the appearance of very thick, burnt cornflakes. However, for about the first decade or so of its life, the bark is thin, smooth, and striped, resembling that of a birch.”

Today’s photograph illustrates the second part of that quotation. It also shows once again how pretty the leaves of this tree can be when they turn yellow in the fall. Give some credit to the shadows, too.

Like the previous picture, today’s comes from November 26th at Doeskin Ranch, a nature preserve in Burnet County about an hour from my home in northwest Austin.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 10, 2014 at 5:31 AM

Escarpment black cherry

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Escarpment Black cherry Tree Turning Yellow 9511

Before I stopped on November 26th to portray the bright oaks you saw last time, I’d spent a couple of hours at Doeskin Ranch, a nature preserve in Burnet County about an hour from my home in northwest Austin. At the preserve I photographed lots of things, including some colorful escarpment black cherry trees, Prunus serotina var. eximia, a species making its debut here today. The large trunk at the right is a live oak, and the red leaves beyond the dead tree to the left belong to another kind of oak, probably the same as what you saw last time.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 9, 2014 at 5:41 AM

Posted in nature photography

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Oaks are OK: an understatement

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Oak Trees Turning Orange and Red 9838

Along Williamson County Road 279 on November 26th I stopped to photograph some fabulous oaks that were turning orange, red, and brown. I don’t know what species they were, but Quercus buckleyi, known as Texas red oak, is a possibility. I do know that of the many people who drove by during my 25 minutes there, no one else stopped to check out the fall foliage. Their loss, my gain—and now yours too.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 8, 2014 at 5:36 AM

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