Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

So did I get any colorful sunset pictures?

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The last post showed two uncolorful clouds-plus-vulture pictures that
I took along Lost Horizon Dr. on January 6th while waiting for the sun to set.
Soon some colors tinged the clouds, first subtle ones and then some more vivid.
In the second photo, the white clouds were closer and moved faster than the others.

Eventually the sun set.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 19, 2019 at 4:44 AM

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Clouds and more

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Near dusk on January 6th I stationed myself at a high place along Lost Horizon Dr. with a good view of the sky, hoping the sunset might be pleasant. As I took the cloud picture above, I noticed that a bird had flown into the frame at the lower right. With no time to change to better settings on the camera, all I could do was pan to follow the bird, which fortunately got closer. Three seconds after the first photograph (thanks, metadata) I took the second, whose dark subject seems to my non-avian-attuned eyes to be a vulture.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 17, 2019 at 4:49 AM

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“Fall” foliage in winter

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From my neighborhood on January 4th comes this emblematic leaf of an oak (Quercus spp.).
You could say the composition is minimalist; you’d have trouble making that claim about the color gamut.

Notice how far into the season we were still seeing isolated instances of colorful foliage.
The same outing brought another example, this time from a cedar elm (Ulmus crassifolia).

While yellow is the most common fall color for cedar elms, I also found two leaves that had turned orange.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 15, 2019 at 4:48 AM

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More from Doeskin Ranch

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The seed heads of little bluestem grass (Schizachyrium scoparium) that played a supporting role in the prior post’s second photograph from the Doeskin Ranch on November 24th last fall were so densely yummy that I feel I owe you a picture of them in their own right:

Near an isolated little bluestem I found a milkweed pod (Asclepias spp.) releasing its silk-attached seeds. Notice the bright red-orange nymph, presumably of a milkweed bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus).

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 13, 2019 at 4:30 AM

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Not from now and less not from now

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I didn’t see much blazing-star (Liatris mucronata) flowering in the fall of 2018. Maybe it wasn’t a great year for the species or maybe I wasn’t in the right places at the right times. On September 26th at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center I did get to make this bright portrait of a blazing-star flower spike contrasting with some prairie goldenrod (Solidago nemoralis) happily out of focus behind it.

Several times in the months that followed I managed to photograph the late stage of this Liatris species, which often makes me imagine a fuzzy burned-out candle. Below from November 24th at the Doeskin Ranch is a picture of one with seed heads of little bluestem grass (Schizachyrium scoparium) surrounding it.

And speaking of figurative candles, how could we not recall the opening “fig”
from Edna St. Vincent Millay‘s A Few Figs from Thistles?

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 11, 2019 at 4:42 AM

Varieties of foggy experience

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Last December 17th I did a post called “Subtleties of fall.” The following day was still fall, and after getting up and seeing some fog, which isn’t common here, I decided to go out and take photographic advantage of its subtleties. My first stop came just half a mile from home along the dip on Floral Park Dr. from which I could look into the southern part of Great Hills Park with a telephoto lens.

Then I went on to Riata Trace Pond.

One of my favorite foggy finds there was a greenbrier vine (Smilax bona-nox) that had climbed high on a black willow tree (Salix nigra) whose now-fallen leaves revealed what they had so recently concealed.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 9, 2019 at 4:38 AM

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Not snow

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A first glance may make you think you’re seeing a dusting of snow, but no: it was fluff from cattails (Typha spp.) and goldenrod (Solidago altissima) that had settled indiscriminately over all the nearby plants at the Arbor Walk Pond on December 3rd. This is another good example of point 15 in About My Techniques.

Below is a closer and darker take on a clump of cattail seed fluff that had fallen onto a dry goldenrod plant.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 7, 2019 at 4:44 AM

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