Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Yellow in a photograph and yellow implied in words

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Above is a view from below of an Engelmann daisy (Engelmannia peristenia) flower head along Great Northern Blvd. on March 13th. Note the tiny insect, which I don’t remember seeing at the time I took the picture. Maybe we should stop saying “as blind as a bat” and start saying “as blind as a photographer.”

Below is a view from above of some adjacent Engelmann daisies. In both pictures, notice the notch at the tip of each ray flower.

The unrelated “yellow implied in words” that this post’s title alludes to comes from a multiply alliterative sentence in Tom Standage’s 2009 book An Edible History of Humanity, which I’m reading now: “A cultivated field of maize, or any other crop, is as man-made as a microchip, a magazine, or a missile.”

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 18, 2018 at 4:44 AM

Texas mountain laurel

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The Texas mountain laurels (Sophora secundiflora) have been fragrantly—and some would say flagrantly—flowering all around Austin.

I took pictures of this Texas mountain laurel on March 13th along Shoal Creek Blvd. in north-central Austin. One of the tree’s branches rose well above the others:

The next day I visited the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, where I got close and photographed a Texas mountain laurel flower opening:

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 16, 2018 at 4:55 AM

It’s spring

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Redbud tree (Cercis canadensis) in north-central Austin yesterday.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 14, 2018 at 4:40 AM

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Possumhaw fruits brightening a misty morning

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Several times the bright red fruits on a bare possumhaw tree (Ilex decidua) had caught my eye along the route that lets traffic heading southeast on the access road of US 183 merge onto the southbound access road of Mopac. On this year’s cool and misty Valentine’s Day morning I finally celebrated the red by parking as close as I could to the possumhaw, walking across several lanes of intermittently coming cars, and then stepping onto the ground beyond, there to wield my camera. Today’s picture gives no hint of the noisy traffic zooming by less than a hundred feet away on Mopac. Mixed in with the possumhaw are some bare branches of flameleaf sumac (Rhus lanceolata). The greenery in the lower right is from a related bush with the apt name evergreen sumac (Rhus virens).

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 12, 2018 at 4:58 AM

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New Zealand: the retrospective from a year ago concludes

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Well, folks, it’s been fun reviewing some of the sights and sites that made our 2017 visit to New Zealand so memorable. I’ll admit it’s not hard to do that in such a scenic country.

Like the past several posts, here’s a last one from Cathedral Cove on March 7th. It’s something that Georgia O’Keeffe might have felt right at home with if you allow dried-out driftwood to take the place of a sun-bleached animal skull.

I’d planned to take pictures for one more day on this trip, and in particular I wanted to go back to Whangaparaoa, where I’d seen some colorfully appealing patterns on Little Manly Beach in 2015. Alas, even as we drove back to Whitianga from Cathedral Cove, drops began to fall (look at the dark sky in the upper left of the photograph), and the rain continued heavily all through the night. When we went to check out of our apartment the next morning to head for Auckland, the manager told us that so much rain had come down that both roads off the Coromandel Peninsula were washed out. We ended up spending an extra day in Whitianga with little to do, given the yucky weather. By the morning of March 9th, one of the two roads off the peninsula had reopened and we made it to Auckland with a few hours to spare before we had to check in at the airport for our flight home. Adiós, New Zealand.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 10, 2018 at 4:44 AM

New Zealand: the gull below and the gull above

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Here are two portraits of gulls from Cathedral Cove on March 7, 2017. The first gull was down at the level of the cove drinking from a shallow pool formed by water falling from the top of the cliff high above (the second picture in yesterday’s post gives you a sense of how high up that was). The bird was near the edge of the pool, away from the heaviest falling of water. Notice the ripples spreading from a drop’s point of impact, along with a few droplets that had splashed up.

I took the second picture after we’d made the arduous hike back up to the carpark, where I couldn’t help noticing that several gulls were walking or standing on the roofs of cars parked there (no, not ours). This gull was on top of a white car, whose roof largely blended with the clouds when I hunched down a bit and aimed slightly upward to avoid details in the background.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 9, 2018 at 4:50 AM

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New Zealand: more from Cathedral Cove

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A year and a day ago today we visited Cathedral Cove on New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula. I’d be remiss if I didn’t show you how some massive pōhutukawa trees, Metrosideros excelsa, clung to the cliffs there. The picture above reminds me of a Chinese landscape painting. The photograph below shows how some new pōhutukawa trees were (and no doubt still are) making a go of it on an adjacent cliff.

And here’s an additional look at the interesting textures on a part of the cliff adjacent to another pōhutukawa:

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 8, 2018 at 4:55 AM

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