Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for February 2018

New Zealand: Matakaea Reserve

with 18 comments

A year and a day ago we continued north from the Orkokonui Ecosanctuary and stopped at the Matakaea Reserve, where we saw gulls and fur seals (Arctocephalus forsteri) sharing coastal rocks surrounded by bull kelp (Durvillaea antarctica or D. poha) darker than the yellow strain we’d seen at Stirling Point three days earlier.

Click for greater size and detail.

Most of the seals, like the one below, drowsed on the rocks. (Thanks to a 280mm focal length and some cropping of the image, you might think I was closer than I actually was.)

A few of the seals shook off their lethargy and mixed it up.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 28, 2018 at 4:49 AM

New Zealand: Orokonui

with 19 comments

A year ago today we spent several hours at the Orokonui Ecosanctuary north of Dunedin. At the entrance we gazed upon the broad and healthily handsome cabbage tree (Cordyline australis) shown below. In the foreground you see a stand of the ubiquitous plant known as flax in New Zealand English, harakeke in Māori, and Phormium tenax in botanese.

Among the kinds of native plants inside the reserve we saw one with clusters of white flowers. It turned out to be Ozothamnus vauvilliersii, known as tauhinu and mountain cottonwood.

Tauhinu belongs to a tribe of the sunflower family that I don’t remember having heard of, Gnaphaleae, though I see now that the tribe includes a genus that’s common in Austin. One clue that mountain cottonwood is in the sunflower family is the way its seed heads turn fluffy as they age:

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 27, 2018 at 4:42 AM

New Zealand: Tunnel Beach

with 15 comments

A year ago today we visited Tunnel Beach a little south of Dunedin. In addition to the man-made tunnel through the rock that allows people to walk to the side of the headland that’s shown above, weather and waves on the other side have created the natural tunnel shown below. Some good wave action was in evidence while we were there.

And look at the colors provided by minerals, mosses, and lichens in one of the shaded areas that was behind me when I took the first photograph:

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 26, 2018 at 4:00 AM

New Zealand: Stirling Point

with 48 comments

A year and a day ago we reached the southern end of the South Island in a town called Bluff. At Stirling Point, which for my purposes should have been called Swirling Point, I watched the bull kelp (Durvillaea antarctica or D. poha) flowing in and out with the waves. Last year I showed one of the more than 270 (!) pictures I took of that. Here are a couple more. Because the kelp moved fairly rapidly in the water, I set my camera’s shutter speed to 1/640 of a second for closer pictures like the one below.

By the way: in addition to this New Zealand retrospective, you might enjoy scrolling back through the New Zealand series that appeared on the Fotohabitate blog in 2016. The text of each post there is in German first, followed by English, so you’ll be able to follow along. The photographs speak their own language.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 25, 2018 at 4:42 AM

New Zealand: more from Lake Wakatipu

with 34 comments

For me as a photographer, Lake Wakatipu was one of the highlights of our trip to New Zealand.

What I’d seen on February 21, 2017, hardly seemed like enough, so two days later we again drove north from Queenstown along the eastern shore of the lake for more looking and more picture-taking. Today’s six photographs were among them. The landscape views show you that the clouds and rain from two days earlier had completely gone away.

The close-ups reveal details in the interesting rocks that lie along the shore in abundance.

And oh, those New Zealand ferns.

And did I mention the rocks?

© Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 24, 2018 at 4:28 AM

New Zealand: remembering Lake Wakatipu

with 16 comments

[Today carries you just past the half-way point in a series of daily posts marking the one-year anniversary of last year’s trip to New Zealand.]

On February 21, 2017, we drove north from Queenstown along the eastern shore of Lake Wakatipu, which I trust you’ll agree is scenic, especially with wind-whipped waves on it.

Weather changes quickly at Lake Wakatipu. Look at the menacing clouds in the next picture, which came less than an hour after the first one.

Early that evening, just north of the end of the lake in Glenorchy, we saw this rainbow:

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 23, 2018 at 4:42 AM

New Zealand: Milford Sound and the road to it

with 29 comments

A year ago today we took a boat tour of the South Island’s famous Milford Sound. In the picture below, taken from the boat, note that in addition to the fur seals basking in a cluster on the top of the prominent boulder, there’s one below and three to the left, though the size of the photograph makes it hard to distinguish two of those three. (An upcoming post will give you a closer look at some seals on the east coast of the South Island.) Also notice the native bush, the layers of rock in the boulder, and the waterfall in the background.

Speaking of waterfalls, lots of them come down the high, steep slopes surrounding Milford Sound. I ended up photographing 11 in good detail, of which the following was the first:

We’d also seen ice-melt cascading down the mountains through which the road to Milford Sound passes via the Homer Tunnel. Because the tunnel has just one lane, people have to wait their turn for oncoming traffic to clear. I took advantage of the wait to get out of the car for some pictures, including this one:

Earlier in the day, our first stop on the way to Milford Sound had been Mirror Lakes, where New Zealand flax plants (Phormium tenax) and their reflections in the colorful water caught my attention. (At least I’m assuming this is flax: if anyone knows otherwise, please speak up.)

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 22, 2018 at 4:45 AM

%d bloggers like this: