Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Truncated and therefore asymmetric abstraction of a prickly pear cactus bud and flower

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Here’s an abstract portrait of a bud and flower of a Texas prickly pear, Opuntia engelmannii var. lindheimeri, along floral Park Dr. in my neighborhood on April 7th.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 29, 2017 at 4:38 AM

New Zealand: basking in the sun

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It wasn’t I who was basking in the sun on pastel-colored rocks at the Matakaea Reserve on February 27th but a bunch of New Zealand fur seals (Arctocephalus forsteri), including this one. To enlarge the seal, click its image below.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 27, 2017 at 5:00 AM

New Zealand: views from the Interislander

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The first time on the recent trip that we took the Interislander ferry, from the North Island to the South Island on February 18th, the weather was grey. We had better luck going back across the Cook Strait to the North Island on March 3rd, as you can verify in the picture above.

And here’s a look down at the churning water alongside the ferry:

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 25, 2017 at 4:54 AM

New Zealand: two plants to ward off scurvy

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On the grounds surrounding the museum in Russell on February 10th I found various cultivated native plants, along with little signs that identified some of them. The one shown above is Apium prostratum subsp. prostratum var. filiforme (yikes!), known in Māori as tutae koau and in English as shore celery and New Zealand celery. The one shown below is Lepidium oleraceum, called nau in Māori and Cooks [sic] scurvy grass in English. British sailors ate both of them to ward off scurvy, as the last link and another explain in more detail; in fact those plants were the first two ever gathered for food by Europeans in New Zealand.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 23, 2017 at 4:56 AM

New Zealand: Glenorchy

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A few days before we were going to be in Queenstown I looked online for a hotel but the town was so crowded in February that I couldn’t find a single place to stay. None. Zero. I did, however, find an opening at a hotel in Glenorchy, at the northern end of Lake Wakatipu about an hour north of Queenstown. That turned out to be a good thing because I don’t know if we’d otherwise have taken the scenic drive along the eastern side of the lake. The picture above shows the mountains outside Glenorchy late in the afternoon on February 21st. Notice once more that fields of ice had lasted into the warmest part of the year.

After settling in, we went out again during the last hour of daylight and drove a few miles further north, where we found this rainbow:

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 21, 2017 at 4:52 AM

I thought I might have missed them

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We got back from New Zealand on March 9th. In driving around my Austin neighborhood in the days after that, I didn’t see any cedar sage (Salvia roemeriana) flowering in the accustomed place along Morado Circle so I thought I might have missed this year’s flowers while I was away. Toward the end of the month I finally saw one, and on April 1st I photographed a few beneath some “cedar” (Ashe juniper) trees on Floral Park Dr., as you see above. I found even more in another place a week later, and still more in Great Hills Park on April 15th.

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Even after six weeks, the Dauntless Duo has barely recovered from all the running around we did in New Zealand. Nevertheless, as of today we’re traveling again, so there’ll be fewer posts for the “foreseeable” future. (I used quotation marks because in a recent talk about the American Revolution historian David McCullough reminded people that the future isn’t foreseeable.)

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 19, 2017 at 4:48 AM

New Zealand: southern black-backed gull

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Driving S.H. 25 north from Thames on March 6th, I stopped to photograph a gull standing atop a mound of rock at the edge of the Firth of Thames. I think the bird was a southern black-backed gull.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 18, 2017 at 5:02 AM

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