Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Nebraska like Antarctica

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Okay, there are times when Nebraska gets really cold, but not that cold. No, it’s not temperature I have in mind: don’t you think that the outline of these lichens is like that of Antarctica? Following in the footsteps of Amundsen, I strode to the top of Scott’s Bluff National Monument on May 28th and metaphorically planted my photographic flag there.

If you’d like a much closer look at a portion of these lichens, click to expand this excerpt:

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 21, 2017 at 5:00 AM

More than petroglyphs and a shade-seeking squirrel

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At Petroglyphs National Monument in Albuquerque on June 13th I saw plenty of flowering broom dalea plants (Dalea scoparia). Unlike the squirrel that tried to stay in the shade, these plants thrive in heat and bright sunlight. Here’s a closer look:

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 20, 2017 at 5:02 AM

More than petroglyphs

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I photographed more than petroglyphs at Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque on June 13th. Presumably to avoid the heat of the sun, this squirrel kept scrunching itself down into some of the narrow shadows cast by a picnic shelter.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 19, 2017 at 4:46 AM

Petroglyph National Monument again

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On June 13th we visited Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque for the second time, our previous visit having been in the fall of 2014. This time we walked a trail we hadn’t on that first visit, the Cliff Base Trail in Boca Negra Canyon.

The third picture gives you a feel for the desert landscape around there.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 18, 2017 at 4:59 AM

Spearfish Formation

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On June 1st I was taken with this colorful bluff of the Belle Fourche [Beautiful Fork] River in Hulett, Wyoming. As far as I can tell, these rock layers are part of what geologists call the Spearfish Formation.

Half an hour later we saw more of it at Devil’s Tower.

Finally, on the way back to the Black Hills, we saw even more along Interstate 90:

I can’t remember if this last place was still in Wyoming or if we’d already crossed back into South Dakota.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 17, 2017 at 4:40 AM

A closer look at a Rocky Mountain iris

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In the last post you saw a large colony of Rocky Mountain irises (Iris missouriensis) in northern New Mexico. The first time I encountered the species was on June 30th, when I found a smaller and less dense group of these irises in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The one shown here was in the process of opening.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 16, 2017 at 5:01 AM

Rocky Mountain iris colony

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Click to enlarge.

On June 9th, after we’d driven clockwise more than half-way around the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway north of Taos, New Mexico, I came across this happily flowering colony of Rocky Mountain irises. Given the wildflower’s popular name, which I learned on the trip, I was later surprised to find out the scientific name is Iris missouriensis. As far as I know, the Rocky Mountains don’t make it into that state; sorry, Missouri.

Today’s picture confirms what the website of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center says of this species: “it often forms dense, large patches in low spots in pastures, where the tough leaves are avoided by cattle.”

After the reactions to the rattlesnake in the previous post, I’ll bet many of you are relieved to see wildflowers again.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 15, 2017 at 4:49 AM

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