Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for June 2017

Yucca flowering in the Texas Panhandle

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Probably the most numerous and certainly the most prominent flowers we saw in the Texas Panhandle on May 27th were those of Yucca glauca, known as soapweed yucca, plains yucca, and narrowleaf yucca. This species grows natively from Texas through Alberta, so it followed us on our trip through the Oklahoma Panhandle, Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado again, New Mexico, and back into west Texas.

Today’s photograph is yet another one from the Alibates Flint Quarries. The orange earth in the background was within sight of the place shown in yesterday’s second picture.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 23, 2017 at 4:56 AM

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Alibates flint

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I’d be remiss if I mentioned the Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument, as I did last time, without showing you a piece of that flint.

And below is a different take on orange and brown at that same site in the northern reaches of the Texas Panhandle.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 22, 2017 at 4:43 AM

Plains zinnia

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On May 27th, the third day of the trip and the first on which I took any pictures, we hit our first national monument: the Alibates Flint Quarries in the Texas Panhandle north of Amarillo. There I encountered some flowering Zinnia grandiflora, known as plains zinnia, yellow zinnia, Rocky Mountain zinnia, prairie zinnia, and little golden zinnia. By whatever name, these flowers provide a welcome dose of bright yellow.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 21, 2017 at 4:45 AM


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4745* is what the car’s trip odometer read when we reached home on June 15th, the 22nd day of traveling generally NNW from Austin and then back again by a different route. In the weeks ahead you’ll see photographs from this latest trip.

We begin today with a dramatic image from Rocky Mountain National Park. You can see that on June 5th the mountains still had a fair amount of snow on them. I underexposed the photograph by 3 f/stops to keep the sun under control.

And here’s a second picture that gives you a better look at one of the snow-covered mountains in that area:

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* Coincidentally, that’s about the same mileage we racked up on the four-week February–March New Zealand trip, pictures from which you were still seeing as recently as the last post.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 20, 2017 at 4:55 AM

New Zealand: Lake Kaniere

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All right, if I’m going to mention Lake Kaniere, as I did last time, I guess I should show you what it looks like. The view of it above is from February 19th.

But I really prefer Lake Wakatipu, which I photographed two days later under similarly overcast skies but with ultramarine and more animated and therefore more photogenic water. And oh, the patterned rocks along parts of Lake Wakatipu’s shore:

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 18, 2017 at 4:41 AM

New Zealand: koru

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What kind of nature photographer would I be if I returned from New Zealand without showing you at least one koru? Koru is the Māori word for what English sometimes calls a fiddlehead, the spirally curled tip of a new fern leaf. I photographed this one on February 19th along the path leading from Dorothy Falls to Lake Kaniere.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 16, 2017 at 4:58 AM

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New Zealand: shooting two birds

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Shooting* not with one stone or several, but with a camera, of course. The other bird that I managed to get a picture of at the Orokonui Ecosanctuary northeast of Dunedin on February 27th proved to be a juvenile bellbird, Anthornis melanura. It was head guide Sue Hensley who once again provided the identification, adding: “The bellbird looks to be a young one with a dark rather than a red eye. I love the feet and the position you have photographed it in.”

If you’d like to see an adult bellbird, you can check out a picture of one I took on our previous trip to New Zealand.

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* Speaking of shooting, this was a difficult picture to get because I had to shoot up toward an area that was much brighter than many of the bird’s parts that faced me.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 14, 2017 at 5:00 AM

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