Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

What is it?

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Texas Spiny Lizard on Pecan Tree 1281

On April 15th I walked past a pecan tree at McKinney Falls State Park in southeast Austin and noticed a broken branch. Then I saw more.

Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Guess; then click to make your visit.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 6, 2016 at 5:03 AM

Also at the Lower Falls

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Great Blue Heron 1237

Also at the Lower Falls in McKinney Falls State Park on April 15th I saw a great blue heron, Ardea herodias. According to John Tveten, this is the largest of our herons, standing some 4 ft. (1.2m) tall. Of the various pictures that I took of it, I’ve chosen to show this one because of the curious way the line of the bird’s bill, with its orange-brown lower part, seemed to me from a distance to follow around into the similarly colored and presumably iron-rich stain on the rock behind it that was roughly a mirror image of the heron’s neck. Notice how the dark patch on the bird’s shoulder also finds echoes in the dark depressions in the rock.

For a closer look at the heron and the stain and the dark depressions, click the excerpt below.

Great Blue Heron 1237A

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 5, 2016 at 5:13 AM

McKinney Falls State Park: the Lower Falls

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McKinney Falls Lower Falls 1220

So yeah, I was at McKinney Falls State Park on April 15th and in addition to false faces in false dayflowers I photographed the real Lower Falls in the real Onion Creek. Do you see the promontory of rock jutting out at the lower left? From there I got a closer view of the main waterfall. Here it is at 1/1600 of a second:

McKinney Falls Lower Falls 1260

And here it is smoothed out at 1/15 of a second:

McKinney Falls Lower Falls 1268

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 4, 2016 at 5:09 AM

False dayflower, false face

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False Dayflower Flower 1321

Pareidolia, as I learned from a comment last month about the photograph of a rock formation that looked to me like an animal, is a phenomenon in which the mind creates an image of a certain thing from unrelated features of something else. When I was in McKinney Falls State Park on April 15th I struck up a conversation with a man who I saw taking nature pictures and who turned out to be visiting from Alabama. He asked me about a little flower he’d photographed that looked to him like a face. From the image he showed me on the back of his camera I saw that it was Tinantia anomala, known as false dayflower to distinguish it from a related genus whose members are known as dayflowers. The title of today’s post aside, you can decide for yourselves how false or true a face this flower has (and did you notice that those last nine words were in iambic pentameter?).

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 3, 2016 at 5:07 AM

Milkweed flower globe

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Antelope Horns Flower Globe 0643

The last thing I’ll show in this series from my visit to the Doeskin Ranch in Burnet County on April 8 is a flower globe of antelope-horns milkweed, Asclepias asperula, the most common milkweed species in central Texas.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 2, 2016 at 5:14 AM

A particularly graceful rain-lily

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Rain-Lily Flower 0523

During my visit to the Doeskin Ranch on April 8th I found the forms and colors of this rain-lily (Cooperia pedunculata) particularly graceful.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 1, 2016 at 5:08 AM

Compare and contrast

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Rock Flax Flower 0634

Compare and contrast, as English teachers are fond of saying, the two little yellows that you see here from the Doeskin Ranch on April 8. The first is rock flax, Linum rupestre, whose flowers are intrinsically small, from about a quarter to a half of an inch across (6–13mm). The second is an opening bud of Navajo tea, Thelesperma simplicifolium, which was in the process of opening out to a larger size. A few days ago you saw a developed flower head of this species serving as a platform for a big-eyed fly.

Just remember to keep your compare-and-contrast essays under a thousand words.

Navajo Tea Flower Head Beginning to Open 0672

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 30, 2016 at 5:06 AM

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