Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Chopping an Onion

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Submerged Rocks in Wind-Swept Onion Creek 2666

The wind, that is, chopping up Onion Creek at McKinney Falls State Park in southeast Austin on January 21. I’d been to the site plenty of times, but never with so strong a breeze, which gave this broadly open part of the creek a surface texture like none I’d seen on it till then. The resulting photographs, with their interlocking patches of color, differ from any I recall taking, whether there or elsewhere, and appeal to me in their abstractness.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 8, 2016 at 5:02 AM

A year ago today (sort of)

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A year ago today (going by the calendar and ignoring the time difference between Texas and New Zealand) I visited the gannet colony at Muriwai, which is on the west coast of the North Island.

People Watching Gannets 3520

The first picture includes only two gannets. Mostly you see lots of flax plants, Phormium tenax, surrounding an observation platform jammed with tourists who seemed to be staring as much at each other as at the birds. I had to wait a while for an open space at the rail, but eventually I was able to get some photographs of the gannets down below:

Gannet Colony at Muriwai 3571

If you’d like a closeup of an Australasian gannet, Morus serrator, you’re welcome to look back at a post from last year.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 7, 2016 at 5:04 AM

A malformed four-nerve daisy bud

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Malformed Tetraneuris Bud 2921

Among the four-nerve daisies (Tetraneuris linearifolia) that I photographed on Bluegrass Dr. on January 29th, I noticed one bud that had folded in on itself in an unnatural way that I’d never seen in this species and that might have been an instance of fasciation. If you’d like, you can compare the way a four-nerve daisy bud normally opens. You can also click the fasciation tag below to scroll down through previous posts showing other afflicted species.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 6, 2016 at 5:01 AM

Four-nerve daisies in January

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Four-Nerve Daisy Flower Head from Below 2894

On January 29th I was driving out of my neighborhood on Bluegrass Dr. when I saw some four-nerve daisies (Tetraneuris linearifolia) flowering on a rocky embankment. They were the first flowers of this familiar species I’d seen in 2016, so I pulled over, walked back, and took a bunch of pictures by leaning against the embankment and lying on the ground to get good vantage points. Marshall Enquist gives the beginning of the bloom period for this species as March, and that’s why I was surprised to see four-nerve daisies already when we hadn’t quite left January yet.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 5, 2016 at 4:53 AM

Newer isn’t always better.

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Walnut Creek in February 1881

On January 7th I went walking in Balcones Regional Park in north Austin and took a few photographs of Walnut Creek. The pictures turned out just so-so, so here From February 4, 2007—nine years ago today—is a view that I do like of that same part of the creek, primarily because of the superimposed layers in the lower half of the image. There’s the water, and what’s reflected in the water, and the way the shadow of the prominent rock cancels the reflection there. The result is that I feel I’m peering into an opening through a dense lattice of trees, yet I can’t shake the impression that things have been turned inside out, as if I were looking at a stereo pair in which the two halves had been accidentally reversed.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 4, 2016 at 4:59 AM

McGrackle’s

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Grackles on McDonald's Golden Arch 1390

Even the familiar golden arches were begrackled at the southwest quadrant of US 183 and Braker Lane near dusk on January 23rd. (That sentence came to S.S. semi-sleeping around 2 A.M. on the 24th.) Also begrackled was the structure at the base of the so-called golden but actually yellow arches.

Grackle on Sign 1344

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 3, 2016 at 5:00 AM

They’re back again too

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Grackles Flying and on Wires 1522

For several years in a row, until about three years ago, in November and December large groups of grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus) would gather at dusk each day on the power lines at the corner of US 183 and Braker Lane, then with the coming of darkness settle into adjacent trees to spend the night alongside the noisy highway. For whatever reason, the birds returned to their former haunt and habits in January of this year. Here’s a view of the spectacle at the southwest quadrant of that intersection on January 23rd. Last night I noticed many fewer grackles there, so perhaps the birds are already moving on.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 2, 2016 at 5:16 AM

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