Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for October 2018

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument

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Two years ago today we stopped at Arizona’s Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, which we’d never heard of it till we were in the area.

The oozing, highly textured trunk of an aspen tree (Populus tremuloides) caught my attention there.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 21, 2018 at 10:29 AM

Spotted orbweaver

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On October 4th, while walking along a path through some woods on the far side of my neighborhood, I came across this spotted orbweaver spider, Neoscona crucifera, hanging from a strand of silk. (Thanks to Joe Lapp for identifying the species.) Because the area was shaded, there was no way I could avoid using flash. After I took several pictures, the spider scooted up onto the branch from which the silk was hanging, and that gave me a chance to photograph its ventral side.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 20, 2018 at 1:05 PM

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Two views of the Grand Canyon

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Here are two pictures of the Grand Canyon, one for each of the years since our visit on this date in 2016.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 19, 2018 at 5:15 PM

Fall sneezeweed

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Helenium autumnale, known as fall sneezeweed, is a wildflower I seldom come across. In fact it has appeared in these posts only once, way back in 2011. I found this happily blooming clump in Bull Creek on September 7th. You may recognize the species as a genus-mate of the yellow bitterweed you saw here last week.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 18, 2018 at 5:33 PM

Ant on pavonia mallow

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We have several pavonia mallow plants (Pavonia lasiopetala) in our yard, but I’ve never managed to get as good a portrait of one from behind as when I went walking through the Taylor Draper entrance to Great Hills Park on October 10th. The backlighting brought out patterns not apparent in a conventional view, as you can confirm by comparing a picture from 2012.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 17, 2018 at 4:44 AM

An unusually open Turk’s cap

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We have Turk’s cap (Malvaviscus arboreus var. arboreus) growing in several places in our yard. On September 30th Eve looked out a back window and saw a flower that she first thought wasn’t a Turk’s cap but that turned out to be one when she went out to investigate. Turk’s cap flowers normally stay closed like a pinwheel, so why this one had come apart so much remains a mystery.

To make this picture I used my ring flash so I could stop down to f/18 and get all the nearer parts of the flower in focus. Another consequence of flash with such a small aperture is that the background went black.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 15, 2018 at 4:48 AM

Fasciation comes to a black-eyed susan

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Near the end of my visit to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on September 26th I photographed some seed head remains of black-eyed susans, Rudbeckia hirta. Here’s one of them, in which you can confirm the usual thimble shape:

Then I spotted an obviously fasciated specimen, with a flattened stem and a bunch of seed heads glommed together into an irregular bundle:

Click the “fasciation” tag below if you’d like to learn more about the phenomenon and see other examples I’ve shown over the years.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 13, 2018 at 4:50 AM

Yellow bitterweed

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At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on September 26th I photographed this flower head of a wildflower called yellow sneezeweed and yellow bitterweed, Helenium amarum var. amarum. (If that wasn’t enough amarums for you, I’ll add that amarum is the Latin word for ‘bitter.’) Because I was there early in the morning and the light was low, I went for a soft portrait in which relatively little would be in focus.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 11, 2018 at 5:45 PM

Playoffs

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Even if you’ve been coming to this website for only a while you’ve probably noticed that I’m fond of playing off a subject of one color against a background of another. (In fact it’s #5 in About My Techniques.) With that in mind, here from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on September 26th are two takes on a combination of wildflowers you’ve seen separately in the last two posts: showy palafoxia, Palafoxia hookeriana, and prairie goldenrod, Solidago nemoralis.

And in a different sort of playoff that’s minus the goldenrod, below you’ll find a pair of showy palafoxia seed heads in front of some fresh flower heads. The spider’s white lair is a bonus.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 10, 2018 at 4:44 AM

First goldenrod for 2018

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At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on September 26th I found my first flowering goldenrod for 2018. It was prairie goldenrod, Solidago nemoralis.

Then on September 4th on the far side of my neighborhood I photographed a tall goldenrod, Solidago altissima, that wasn’t as tall as it should have been because something had caused the inflorescence to take a 90° bend. I believe it’s the only right-angled goldenrod inflorescence I’ve ever seen.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 8, 2018 at 5:44 PM

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