Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for September 2017

Takakkaw Falls

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We had a full day on September 7th. One place we went, along with a zillion other people, was Takakkaw Falls in British Columbia’s Yoho National Park. The picture above shows the waterfall from the far side of the Yoho River. The photograph below gives you a look at the base of the falls from as close as I could get and still keep my camera dry.

Did you know there’s a World Waterfall Database online? There is, and you can check out its entry for Takakkaw Falls.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 29, 2017 at 4:57 AM

Canada has its Badlands, too

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Only in May of this year did I finally make it to the Badlands of South Dakota. Even more recently than that, I learned that Alberta has Badlands as well. Did you know that?

We arrived in Calgary on the evening of August 24th, and on each of the next two days we drove out to see parts of the Badlands. Today’s photograph is from the afternoon of August 26th at the well-known hoodoos east of Drumheller. While the picture looks tranquil enough, the truth is that dozens of tourists were swarming over the area at the time, so I had to be patient and go through some contortions to get unencumbered pictures of this most famous part of the formations. I also had to aim so as to exclude the metal fences, stairs, and railings that have been installed to keep people from climbing on and further eroding the hoodoos.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 27, 2017 at 4:46 AM

Bearing up

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Click for better clarity and contrast.

On August 29th, a week or so before Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta shut down because of a forest fire, we drove along Akamina Parkway headed toward Cameron Lake. It wasn’t long before we came up behind a car that was stopped in the road. I’ve learned that when that happens in a national or state park, it usually means the driver of the stopped car has seen an animal, and that was the case here. I worked my way around the other car, drove further down the road, and waited for the animal to amble along in my direction. It was a black bear, the first I’d ever seen in the wild.

UPDATE: After yesterday’s post appeared, I received quite a bit of information about the mountain shown in it. I’ve updated that post to include the new information.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 26, 2017 at 4:40 AM

But it wasn’t all smoky haze

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Over the three weeks of our trip to the Canadian Rockies and vicinity, we did enjoy a few days free from the otherwise predominant haze. One of those clear days was September 2nd, when we drove north and covered the length of the Bow Valley Parkway in Banff National Park, Alberta. One of my favorite mountains from along that route was this whitish one, which I believe is part of the Sawback Range. Based on what I read on a nearby sign, I think the burned trees and lack of dense ground cover in the foreground resulted from a prescribed burn.

UPDATE. I’ve now heard back from travel specialist Arden A. at Travel Alberta after I’d written to try to find out the name of this peak. Arden replied: “While the peak in your photo does not have an official name, it is known informally as ‘The Finger’. Well-known Canadian mountaineer Lawrence Grassi created the epithet after a climbing incident in 1935. If Grassi was the inventor of the name, poet Earle Birney brought the peak to prominence with his poem ‘David’ – a literary staple in Canadian school curricula.” Along with that explanation came a link with much more information about “The Finger.” If only every organization were as knowledgeable and forthcoming with information as Travel Alberta was in this case.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 25, 2017 at 4:40 AM

Rocks like wood

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Go ahead, tell me that the rocks in the upper center don’t look like wood. Tell me, and I won’t believe you.

We noticed these wood-like rocks by the side of the Trans-Canada Highway in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, after I pulled over on September 7th to photograph the overlapping mountains in smoke that you saw in the previous post.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 24, 2017 at 4:31 AM

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em

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Following the adage in the title, sometimes I was able to make artistic use of the smoky haze from forest fires that was with us for much of our stay in the Canadian Rockies. In today’s picture, from the morning of September 7th along the Trans-Canada Highway in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, the haze abstracted the mountains into overlapping margins whose darkness decreased as the distance increased. The resulting minimalist photograph keeps reminding me of a classical Chinese landscape painting.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 23, 2017 at 4:30 AM

New Zealand gets a run for its money

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As fabulous as New Zealand is for a nature photographer, the Canadian Rockies and nearby areas give it a run for its money. When I posted my first New Zealand picture in March of 2015, I emphasized the aquamarine color of the water I saw in its seas. The Canadian Rockies lack a seacoast, of course, but some of the lakes there provide colors to rival those of the ocean surrounding New Zealand. Shown above is Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, on September 8th. Even the heavy haze of smoke from wildfires could only partially subdue the lake’s color; this corner was its most vivid.

In the posts ahead you’ll be seeing other photographs from this latest trip, along with some things from earlier outings, and of course updates from central Texas.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 21, 2017 at 4:42 AM

Monahans after the rain

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When we drove into the town of Monahans in west Texas on June 14th it was too late in the afternoon for us to continue the short distance to the attraction that had brought us there: Monahans Sandhills State Park. We could see that it had rained in the area that afternoon, and what effect that had had on the dunes became clear only the next morning. How differently textured the sand was then from the way we’d seen it in 2014 when we’d visited on the afternoon of April 12th and the morning of April 13th.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 19, 2017 at 4:40 AM

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New Zealand: panache

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How could I not record the panache of toetoe (pronounced in Māori tó-eh-tó-eh, placed in botany in the genus Austroderia) at the Orokonui Ecosanctuary northeast of Dunedin on February 27th?

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 17, 2017 at 4:46 AM

Like a green snake in the water

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The sinuous algae you see here looked to me on July 25th, and still today, like a green snake in the water of Bull Creek. Notice the tiny aquatic insects. The leaf may be from a cedar elm tree (Ulmus crassifolia).

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 15, 2017 at 4:37 AM

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