Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for October 2016

A closer look at one of the small yellow flower heads

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Again from September 28 in Pflugerville, here’s a closer look at one of the small broomweed (Amphiachyris dracunculoides) flower heads you saw scattered across the prairie in yesterday’s post. Note the budding flower head at the lower left.

The indistinct purple column in the background is Liatris mucronata, called blazing-star and gayfeather.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 15, 2016 at 5:01 AM

A typical fall combination of wildflowers

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From September 28 on the prairie in Pflugerville, here’s a typical fall scene in central Texas. The purple is known as gayfeather or blazing-star (Liatris mucronata). The yellow flowers at the top are goldenrod (Solidago spp.), while the scattered smaller yellow flowers are broomweed (Amphiachyris dracunculoides).

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 14, 2016 at 4:52 AM

Poverty weed tufts and leaves

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The previous post showed a landscape view of the supple-branched little tree called poverty weed, Baccharis neglecta. This closeup from the greenbelt off Taylor Draper Lane on October 7th reveals the linear leaves of this species and the brushy tufts that its fertilized flowers produce.

If you’re interested in the craft of photography, you’ll find that points 1, 8, 9 and 15 in About My Techniques apply to this image.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 13, 2016 at 4:43 AM

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Two ways of being wispy

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Alongside a convenience store at the intersection of FM 306 and Star Grass Dr. in Comal County on September 29th I photographed some flowering poverty weed, Baccharis neglecta, against that morning’s layers of wispy clouds. Throughout the day, as I drove through the Texas Hill Country on what turned out to be a 230-mile journey, I saw lots of these delicate trees looking similarly fluffy in their flowering and often swarmed by insects.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 12, 2016 at 11:19 PM

New life, old life

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The new life is a sycamore tree, Platanus occidentalis. Presumably the fallen trunk, which gleamed bright in the sunlight, is also from a sycamore, but I don’t know that for sure. What I do know is that the scene is from Guadalupe River State Park on September 29.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 11, 2016 at 4:49 AM

Cowpen daisy

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At Guadalupe River State Park on September 29th I found a cowpen daisy plant (Verbesina encelioides) that was flowering. Dig those dark shadows.

Only once before has Verbesina encelioides appeared in these pages. Does the genus name sound familiar? Perhaps it’s because frostweed is also in that genus.

As attractive as the flower heads of the cowpen daisy are, the plant has an unpleasant odor.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 10, 2016 at 4:58 AM

Maximilian sunflowers and feathery clouds

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Along State Park Road P31 south of Guadalupe River State Park on September 29th I stopped to photograph some Maximilian sunflowers (Helianthus maximiliani). The only way I could line up any of the tall plants against the array of feathery clouds overhead was to face toward the sun. Even with a lens hood on my wide-angle lens I had to hold one hand out in front of and above that lens to block the sun that was just above the frame in order to eliminate flare and polygons inside the frame. It was hit and miss, what with my left hand involuntarily moving as I held the camera in my right hand while the plant swayed back and forth in the breeze, so I took a bunch of pictures in the hope that at least a few would work well. The one shown here seems pretty good.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 9, 2016 at 5:00 AM

Down the road a little bit

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About two miles south of the waterfall you saw last time, Edge Falls Rd. crosses the Guadalupe River. Because the horizontal picture above doesn’t show you the tops of the nearest bald cypress trees, I’ve added a vertical picture that does. Even though the photographs were taken from different positions and at different angles, you can still match up some of the stones in the river.


© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 8, 2016 at 5:03 AM

Kendall County

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I hadn’t done much photographing in Kendall County until I made a 230-mile circuit through the Texas Hill Country on September 29. My goal was a waterfall that another Austin photographer had made me aware of. I found it a few miles south of Kendalia, where Edge Falls Road crosses Curry Creek. The actual Edge Falls, which I’ve read is larger, lies upstream but isn’t open to the public. Neither is what you see here; all I could do was look (and photograph, of course) from the little bridge that carries the road over the creek.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 7, 2016 at 4:59 AM

Stop and smell the nerve-ray

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On September 12 along a trail following the upper reaches of Bull Creek I found a few late-in-the-season flower heads of Tetragonotheca* texana, known as nerve-ray or square-bud daisy (did you notice the green square?). While most species of yellow daisies—and there’s a slew of them in central Texas—don’t have much of a scent, this one is fragrant, so I always make myself stop and smell the nerve-ray.

In the United States the aptly named T. texana grows only in Texas. Travis County, where Austin is, marks the northeastern corner of the species’ range. Lucky us.

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* A tetragon is a four-angled figure: Greek tetra = 4 and gon = angle (and theca = a place to put something, a receptacle, a case). Notice that the more common Latin-derived word quadrilateral names the figure for its four sides rather than its four angles.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 6, 2016 at 4:58 AM

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