A different kind of snow on the prairie
If you were visiting these pages late last summer, you heard about a plant with the colloquial name snow-on-the-prairie, so called because it has showy white bracts and grows on the prairie. Now here’s another plant with prairie in its common name, but a much lower and smaller plant that flowers in the spring: prairie bishop’s weed, Bifora americana. See how this dense colony of it adjacent to Graham Elementary School in north Austin was turning a section of the prairie white on April 25. I don’t know whether any of the schoolkids or their teachers were taken by the sight, but I do know that when I drove by and saw the wildflower display I pulled right into the school’s parking lot and happily set to work taking pictures of this “snowy” piece of prairie. The mostly red flowers mixed in with all the white are firewheels; the yellow ones are greenthreads.
For those of you who are interested in photography as a craft, points 6 and 15 in About My Techniques are relevant to this image. I’ll add that I used my trusty 100 mm lens not as a macro but as a telephoto; that in combination with a small aperture, f/22, let me compress a swath of the wildflower colony into the two dimensions of a conventional photograph.
© 2012 Steven Schwartzman