Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for August 2017

Standing milk-vetch flowers

with 16 comments

At the top of Scott’s Bluff in western Nebraska on May 29th I saw flowers of what I thought was standing milk-vetch, Astragalus laxmannii. A comment two years later from Ed Lanka makes me think the flowers were actually hoary vetchling, Lathyrus polymorphus.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 30, 2017 at 4:55 AM

The shallow water shimmered as it flowed

with 18 comments

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

with 25 comments

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

with 15 comments

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

with 15 comments

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

with 10 comments

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

with 50 comments

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

Bastrop burned tree remains

with 10 comments

Bastrop State Park. August 11. Remains of the horrendous forest fire of 2011.

If you’re interested in the craft of photography, points 3, 14, 18, and 19 in About My Techniques pertain to this picture.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 21, 2017 at 4:48 AM

Rocky Mountain beeweed

with 20 comments

As if to corroborate the common name Rocky mountain beeweed, I found a native bee on these flowers of Cleome serrulata at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument in northern New Mexico on June 12th. An online article about this species notes that other vernacular names for the plant are stinking-clover, bee spider-flower, skunk weed, Navajo spinach, and guaco. This wildflower is a relative of the clammyweed that grows in Austin.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 20, 2017 at 4:50 AM

And a lizard

with 23 comments

Click to enlarge.

Here’s a lizard I found at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument in northern New Mexico on June 12th. Thanks to Pat Maher and Scott Bulgrin of the New Mexico Herpetological Society for identifying this as an eastern collared lizard, Crotaphytus collaris. You can read more about collared lizards at Wild Herps. You can get a much closer view of this one by clicking to enlarge the thumbnail below.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 19, 2017 at 4:38 AM

%d bloggers like this: