Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for November 2015

Purple prickly pear

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Purple Prickly Pear 9924

Most species of prickly pear cactus have green pads, but some in Big Bend are purple. Botanists used to lump various purple prickly pears into Opuntia macrocentra, but now they’ve split some of them off into Opuntia azurea, which comes in four varieties; I’m guessing that the cactus shown here on November 22nd is Opuntia azurea var. diplopurpurea, but don’t hold me to it (get it?).

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 30, 2015 at 6:01 AM


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Fleecy Clouds Over Big Bend Desert 9812

Around 8 o’clock in the morning on November 19 we headed west from Austin and by the middle of the afternoon we found ourselves in the part of Texas known as the Trans-Pecos because it’s beyond the Pecos River (with respect to parts of the state farther east, where most of the people live). Places that we visited for the first time since 2005 include Fort Davis and the Davis Mountains, Alpine, Terlingua, and Big Bend National Park. Over the next few weeks you’ll be seeing pictures taken on that five-day trip, beginning with today’s wispy and sandy view from November 22 in the western part of Big Bend National Park.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 29, 2015 at 5:39 AM

Elms turning color

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Dense Elm Leaves Turned Yellow 8786

I’m thinking that the dense fall foliage you see here belonged either to cedar elms (Ulmus crassifolia) or American elms (Ulmus americana). This is another photograph from McKinney Falls State Park on November 24, 2014.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 28, 2015 at 5:05 AM

Poison ivy and fruit

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Colorful Poison Ivy with Fruit 8276

On November 24, 2014, I took many pictures of the largely backlit poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) that had turned bright yellow and orange in the woods at McKinney Falls State Park in southeast Austin. Note the clusters of small fruits; birds eat them with impunity but I wouldn’t recommend you try doing that.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 27, 2015 at 5:05 AM

More and more-subtle fall foliage

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Bare Cedar Elm by More-Colorful Trees 8597

From November 24, 2014, at McKinney Falls State Park, here’s some more-diversified fall foliage—or in the case of the prominent but sinuous tree in the foreground, no foliage at all. I believe the bright red leaves at the lower left are from a young rusty blackhaw (Viburnum rufidulum). In the background you can make out a bald cypress tree (Taxodium distichum), some cedar elms (Ulmus crassifolia) with yellow or yellow-orange leaves, and the temporarily brown water of Onion Creek.

To those of you that celebrate Thanksgiving today, I wish you a happy holiday. To those of you in countries that don’t celebrate Thanksgiving today, I still wish you a happy holiday.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 26, 2015 at 5:21 AM

Bald cypress tree in autumn

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Bald Cypress Tree Turning Orange 8684

From a year and a day ago at McKinney Falls State Park in southeast Austin, here’s a bald cypress tree (Taxodium distichum) turning its customary autumnal orange-brown.

There have been times when I’ve gone to a place in nature and taken plenty of photographs, few or none of which made their way into this blog. It’s not that most of the pictures in those cases weren’t good enough (that can happen, too), but merely that I took so many other photographs at around the same time that there were too many to deal with properly here. The visit to McKinney Falls State Park on November 24, 2014, was one of those jaunts whose fruits, figurative as well as literal, barely appeared in these pages. In today’s post and several ahead I’m mining that previously untouched part of my archive to show you a few of the things you didn’t get to look at last fall.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 25, 2015 at 5:09 AM

Posted in nature photography

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Goldenrod turned grey

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Goldenrod Turned Fluffy with Fleecy Clouds 8877

From a year ago today along Burleson Rd. in southeast Austin, here are the fuzzy remains of some goldenrod (Solidago altissima) seen against a backdrop of similarly fleecy clouds. Quite a contrast to the goldenrod in the previous post, wouldn’t you say?

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 24, 2015 at 8:52 AM

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