Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for December 2017

An antidote to winter

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As 2017 traipses to its end, those of you in frigid places might crave a dose of sunshiny warmth ‘long about now. Here from October 21st in my neighborhood is a dreamy look at some flowers on a goldeneye bush (Viguiera dentata). A flowerful 2018 to you all.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 31, 2017 at 4:58 AM

Claspleaf twistedstalk

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Now there’s a mouthful for you, whether you use the scientific name Streptopus amplexifolius or the vernacular name claspleaf twistedstalk. Because very little foliage had turned colors in Waterton Lakes National Park when we were there on August 29th, the yellowing leaves of this species that we saw in several places were a welcome sight. So were the little red fruits, about a centimeter long, one of which the second photograph gives you a closer look at on a different claspleaf twistedstalk plant. Here’s a site with more information about the species. Here’s another. And here’s still another that includes ethnobotanical uses.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 29, 2017 at 4:55 AM

A hoodoo begets a head

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Click for greater size.

This heady panorama is from the morning of September 3rd at Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta, where strange cloud shadows in the sky had greeted us a couple of hours earlier.

If you’re interested in the craft of photography, point 6 in About My Techniques is relevant to today’s picture.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 28, 2017 at 4:51 AM

Red and green redux

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Continuing with yesterday’s red-and-green theme, here’s an abstract picture showing the fruit and out-of-focus leaves of thimbleberry, Rubus parviflorus, in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, on August 29th.

The Rubus species that’s widespread in Austin is R. trivialis.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 26, 2017 at 5:00 AM

Appropriate for the occasion

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Because red and green and snow and holly will speak to many of you today, here’s another picture of a yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) in Great Hills Park the morning after the rare snow that fell on December 7th.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 25, 2017 at 12:22 AM

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Marble Canyon

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On September 8th we followed Tokkum Creek through Marble Canyon* in British Columbia’s Kootenay National Park. The photograph above captures the way we first saw the canyon.

The middle picture shows how high above the creek the trail takes visitors in several places. Notice that some leaves were already changing color.

The last photograph, taken at 1/800 of a second, gives you a view of the waterfall at the upstream end of the canyon. In the upper right you see some of the smoky haze that stayed with us for most of our trip (and that was thicker along the highway we took to get to Marble Canyon).

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* Coincidentally, Marble Canyon is the name given to a stretch of the Colorado River in Arizona. A couple of pictures from that area appeared here a year ago.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 24, 2017 at 5:01 AM

Viny competition

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The previous post featured a flower of Cynanchum racemosum var. unifarium, known as talayote. The plant is a milkweed vine, and its viny nature is clear in the picture above, which shows some talayote twined around the stalk of a Mexican hat, Ratibida columnifera. Also in evidence in the photograph, and likewise looking for a foothold on other plants, is some Clematis drummondii, known as old man’s beard based on its appearance in a later phase.

They say you can’t tell the players without a scorecard, so here it is.

Twining vine: talayote
Linear vine: old man’s beard
Heart-shaped leaves: talayote
Tripartite leaves: old man’s beard
Whitish-green buds: talayote
Darker buds: old man’s beard

Below, also from May 25, 2011, in my northwest Austin neighborhood, is a closer look at talayote grabbing a Mexican hat seed head.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 22, 2017 at 4:47 AM

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Talayote

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An exchange of comments last month with Linda at The Task at Hand brought up a milkweed vine classified as Cynanchum racemosum. The vernacular name is the four-syllable talayote, the form in which Spanish borrowed an indigenous word for the plant. Talayote rang a bell, so I searched my archive and discovered that the one time I ever found the species was May 25th, 2011, and right in my neighborhood. That was a couple of weeks before this blog started up, and with a world of native plants to highlight in the ensuing posts, I lost sight of talayote. Here then, six-and-a-half years late, is a photograph of a talayote flower. Notice once again that milkweeds do things in fives.

While I never showed talayote here till now, I did feature a different Cynanchum species in 2013.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 21, 2017 at 4:42 AM

Just tens of meters away

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Just tens of meters away from the famous hoodoos located a few miles east of Drumheller, Alberta, are these that get less attention but are highly photo-worthy. On September 12th I obliged them with my attention and they repaid me with multiple pictures. In this one, notice the dark strata in the foreground, in the farther hills, and even across the middle of the lighter formations.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 19, 2017 at 4:59 PM

Speaking of poison ivy

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The previous post, which showed a lush Virginia creeper vine (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) with richly red leaves, engendered a few comments about poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans). That’s understandable because some or perhaps many people confuse the two vines, even though Virginia creeper normally has five leaflets and poison ivy three (but check out a post from 2015 showing a rare exception).

So far in 2017 I’ve come across several instances of poison ivy turning colors and have taken a few pictures, none of which rival my best ones because the plants themselves this season haven’t been as attractive as in certain other years. For that reason I’ve chosen to show you a photograph from November 27, 2006, when I went to north-central Austin’s Allen Park and found stands of poison ivy that remain the most colorful I’ve ever seen.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 18, 2017 at 4:45 AM

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