Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for August 2017

Standing milk-vetch flowers

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At the top of Scott’s Bluff in western Nebraska on May 29th I saw flowers of standing milk-vetch, Astragalus laxmannii.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 30, 2017 at 4:55 AM

The shallow water shimmered as it flowed

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Bull Creek; July 25th. The darkened leaf is from a sycamore tree, Platanus occidentalis.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 28, 2017 at 5:01 AM

A buttonbush flower globe

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It’s been a long time since I showed you a buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) flower globe, so here’s one from the edge of Bull Creek on 7/25. Throw in the 24 hours that made up that day, and you’ve got a 7-24-25 right triangle: 7 x 7 + 24 x 24 = 25 x 25. The arithmetic smells as fragrant as these flowers (and Google once again thinks that’s a unique statement).

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 26, 2017 at 4:55 AM

More of the world below

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More visual notes from the underground in New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns National Park on June 14th.

It took aeons for an inorganic process, dripping water, to deposit the minerals that built up these intricate formations. Nevertheless, don’t their tops remind you of the branching growth patterns seen in a living organism like broccoli?

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 24, 2017 at 4:40 AM

The world below

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750 feet underground in Carlsbad Caverns National Park lie the caverns. When we visited a couple of decades ago we didn’t think that much of them. On June 14th of this year we took the 1.25-mile self-guided walk through what’s called the Big Room and found its formations quite impressive. The caverns haven’t changed in 20 years. It seems we have.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 23, 2017 at 4:51 AM

Carlsbad canyons

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No, the title isn’t a typo or thinko: I meant Carlsbad canyons. While almost everyone goes to Carlsbad Caverns National Park to see the caverns, the road in from the highway passes through some scenic canyons whose grand scale makes them worth stopping for in their own right, as we found out on June 14th. It’s a harsh land of little rain, where many plants have a hard time making a go of it.

One plant that thrives there is Dasylirion wheeleri, known even in English by the name that the Spaniards took from the Aztecs: sotol. Below you see a sotol flower stalk (which people joke is so tall).

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 22, 2017 at 5:08 AM

Eclipse eclipsed

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My tentative plans to see the full solar eclipse today were eclipsed by the exorbitant prices hotels were charging for rooms in and near the band of totality. Last night my friend H.J. told me that a colander would act as a multiple pinhole camera and cast little images of crescent suns rather than circular ones on the ground during Austin’s limited eclipse. Colander in hand, I walked into Great Hills Park a little before the 1:10 time of our maximum partial eclipse so I could do some experiments. Sure enough, at 12:58 I got the crescent suns you see here.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 21, 2017 at 3:53 PM

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