Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for June 4th, 2012

The view from below, with an addendum

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Click for greater clarity.

And here’s a view of a dried-out basket-flower seen from below. The stalk that was a vibrant green when fresh has dulled down now to a reddish-brown that I still find pleasant. If the noontime sky seems preternaturally dark, it’s not from of an eclipse of the sun but from an “eclipse” of the background light due to the small lens aperture I wanted for greater depth of field; in order to compensate for the loss of light, I added some flash to keep my subject bright. (There he goes with that day-for-night technique again.)

When I saw this photograph enlarged on my computer monitor I noticed something I’d overlooked (underlooked?) at the time I took the picture: beneath the basket-flower are two very small white ovals. The tiny objects appear to be insect eggs, and if you click the icon below you can see an enlargement of one of them. That closer view will let you see that the egg is attached by a very slender filament emerging from a foothold in the basket of the basket-flower.

Stay tuned for a more dramatic connection between an insect and a basket-flower next time.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 4, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Shaving brush

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Click for greater clarity.

19th-century Anglo settlers in Texas sometimes referred to Centaurea americana with the name shaving brush. This picture of a dry basket-flower shows you what prompted that: although the shiny outer part of a dried-out seed head gets rather crisp, the inner part remains much softer, like the bristles of a shaving brush.

I took this picture on May 29 in a field on Old Settlers Blvd. near Greenhill Dr. in Round Rock. A part of this property used to be covered with dense bluebonnets and paintbrushes every spring, and parents would come on Easter Sunday to pose their fancily dressed children in the wildflowers and take pictures of them. That’s only a memory now, as first one and then another portion of the property gave way in recent years to an expanding office complex, but the eastern part of the field, with its many other kinds of wildflowers, has held out so far.

And I have held out: today marks one year since I put up the first tentative post in this Portraits of Wildflowers column. Perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, today’s species is the same as the one in that first post, though in a later stage of development, just as I’m in a later stage in the development of this blog.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 4, 2012 at 5:34 AM

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