Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for February 2013

Bush sunflower opening

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Bush Sunflower Head Opening 8467

Another thing I photographed along Great Northern Blvd. in north-central Austin on February 19 was this Simsia calva, known as the (awnless) bush sunflower, beginning to open.

Good-bye February; tomorrow March marches in.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 28, 2013 at 6:15 AM

Sundrops

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Square-Bud Primrose Flowering 8380

Click for greater clarity.

Sundrops: a brighter and more compact name for Calylophus berlandieri than square-bud primrose, which is also in common use. I photographed this plant flowering along Great Northern Blvd. in north-central Austin on February 19. You saw a few of these flowers late last April as part of an expansive, mostly two-tone-yellow wildflower display, but this is the first closeup to appear here.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 27, 2013 at 6:19 AM

And a look at an even denser and more vibrant blossoming redbud tree

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Click for greater clarity.

Click for greater clarity.

The title of the post says it all. Well, not quite: I made this photograph of Cercis canadensis yesterday morning, February 25, along Rain Creek Parkway in my northwest Austin neighborhood.

Sky blue will be back tomorrow, but with a bright yellow shining at its center.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 26, 2013 at 1:16 PM

A closer look at a blossoming redbud tree

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Click for greater clarity.

Click for greater clarity.

You recently got a look at a redbud tree, Cercis canadensis, that was doing a good job of blossoming on February 13. Two days later, across the street from the flowering huisache tree that you also recently saw, I found a graceful redbud doing its thing on the prairie. This pastel view, closer than the last one, gives you a better look at the way blossoms and branches typically work together in this species.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 26, 2013 at 6:19 AM

A forgotten picture reclaimed

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Squirrel Eating Yaupon Fruit 0636A

I’ve been using a Canon EOS 5D Mark III for the last few months, but after I briefly switched back to the 7D one day about a week ago to increase my telephoto range, I discovered that there was a never-downloaded picture from December 28th on the card in the older camera. It’s fun to find things that I’ve left for myself to discover, and now you get to discover it, too.

In taking this picture I had to shoot through window glass and foliage, and the light was poor, but I managed to get off a single shot with a clear view of this squirrel’s mouth as it bit off one drupe of a yaupon tree, Ilex vomitoria (the same species you saw laden with fruit in yesterday’s photo). Then the squirrel scampered off before I could take any more pictures; you know how quickly squirrels can move.

I generally prefer photographing possumhaws, Ilex decidua, which by shedding their leaves in the winter make a great display of their densely clustered drupes, but this yaupon, which for some reason has never produced a lot of fruit, had two advantages: [1] it was (and still is) right outside the window next to my computer  [2] squirrels were visiting it (and they still do).

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 25, 2013 at 6:16 AM

A guest picture

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Click for greater clarity.

Click for greater clarity.

In addition to the Texas mountain laurel that we saw at the Mueller prairie restoration on February 17th, there was a particularly picturesque yaupon, Ilex vomitoria, that bore lots of fruit. It was The Lady Eve* who took this photograph of it, in which she contrasted the tiny red drupes of the tree with the similarly colored but much larger metallic sculpture beyond it. Chris Levack‘s sphere, which has a diameter of 14 ft. (4.3 m) and represents a grain of cactus pollen, is appropriately named Pollen Grain; the work was erected in 2008.

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The Lady Eve also happens to be the name of an excellent 1941 comedy directed by Preston Sturges and starring Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 24, 2013 at 6:18 AM

Texas mountain laurel blossoms return

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Texas Mountain Laurel Flowering 8309

On February 17th we wandered over to the prairie restoration at Austin’s former Mueller Airport and found that the Texas mountain laurels, Sophora secundiflora, had begun not a second flowering but their first one of the spring. Note the prominent pods left over from last year.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 23, 2013 at 6:20 AM

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