Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for January 21st, 2012

The not-dried-out on the dried-out

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The last two posts showed the predilection of the mustang grape vine to twist, whether it’s young or old. Even when the vine’s tightly curled tendrils dry out, they often last for a long time; with only faint vestiges of red* from the time when this tendril was young, its later and longer-lasting color scheme made for harmonious camouflage.

For more information about Vitis mustangensis, and to see a state-clickable map of the places where it grows, you can visit the USDA website. To find spiders in nature, look almost anywhere.

UPDATE: In a comment on February 27, 2012, Spider Joe Lapp added this information: “That’s a Pirate Spider (Mimetidae), genus Mimetus. They eat whatever they find in other spiders’ webs, including caught bugs, egg sacs, and the host spider.”

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* I’m reminded of the stele (upright monuments) at the great Maya city of Copán. The ancient Maya carved them from stone, but then they painted them, and to this day traces of the original painted colors remain on some of the stele after more than a thousand years.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 21, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Born to curl

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Click for greater sharpness.

The last post showed the long and winding path of a venerable mustang grape vine. But the child is father of the man, and the promise of old age is already present in the young tendrils of the species, which twist and turn—and don’t yet have a woody reason not to be red—much more tightly than the tree-like trunk-to-be ever could. I photographed these mustang grape tendrils on the prairie in northeast Austin on June 3, 2011.

For those of you interested in photography as a craft, points 1, 2, 5, 9, 14, 16, 18 and 19 (whew!) in About My Techniques are relevant to this photograph. For more information about Vitis mustangensis, and to see a state-clickable map of the places where it grows, you can visit the USDA website.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 21, 2012 at 5:09 AM

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