Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for June 2019

Far West

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Near the far west end of Far West Blvd. in west Austin on June 1st I found a twistleaf yucca (Yucca rupicola) leaning out and flowering beyond the leaves of an evergreen sumac (Rhus virens).

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 30, 2019 at 4:48 AM

Away from Bull Creek

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Away from Bull Creek but still in St. Edward’s Park on June 11th I found a bunch
of horsemints, Monarda citriodora, in a clearing. I aimed straight down at one.

It was morning, and the corona of dewdrops atop the horsemint hadn’t evaporated yet,
as you can see more clearly by clicking below for an enlargement of the center.

If you’d like a reminder (or never knew) what a horsemint looks like,
here’s a more-conventional view of one from the side:

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 28, 2019 at 4:39 PM

Phoebulous St. Edward’s Park

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You saw last time in two horizontal photographs that on June 11th I documented parts of the cliffs along Bull Creek in St. Edward’s Park. Today’s first picture is a vertical version of the previous post’s first picture. Perhaps you’re wondering how the large black willow mysteriously vanished; the answer is that I waded far enough into the creek to get out from under the tree and have a clear shot at the cliff.

At one point, as I zoomed in to the max (400mm) on the top of the cliff and began to compose an image, a little bird flew into the frame and landed. Later Shannon Westveer identified the visitor as an Eastern phoebe, Sayornis phoebe, which you can see a lot better in the crop below.

Click to enlarge.

After I’d prepared this post I came across a mention in David McCullough’s The Wright Brothers of the comic poem “Darius Green and His Flying Machine,” written by J.T. Trowbridge before 1870. It contains these lines:

“Birds can fly,
An’ why can’t I?
Must we give in,”
Says he with a grin,
” ‘T the bluebird an’ phoebe
Are smarter ‘n we be?”

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 27, 2019 at 4:44 AM

St. Edward’s Park

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On June 11th I spent some time at St. Edward’s Park in our northwest part of Austin. While it’s not quite true that a river runs through it, Bull Creek does, and has flowed there for so long that over eons it carved out the cliff you see above, and even higher ones. The large tree across the upper part of the first photograph is a black willow (Salix nigra), common along watercourses in this part of the world. The band of darker green at and close to the creek’s surface is southern maidenhair ferns, Adiantum capillus-veneris (the Latin species name translates as Venus-hair), likewise familiar here in wet places. Enough rain had fallen a week earlier that water was trickling over the edge of the cliff; for some of my pictures I zoomed in on the splashing water.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 25, 2019 at 4:46 PM

But I wasn’t finished with basket-flowers for 2019

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I did much of my basket-flower (Plectocephalus americanus) photography for this year on May 26th, which provided the pictures you saw of a colony and an individual flower head. On the morning of June 9th, as part of a mostly cultural jaunt to Dallas and Forth Worth, we sauntered up Flower Mound’s flower mound, where basket-flowers were still putting on quite a show. (Presumably the season was the reason, with spring coming a little later to the area 200 miles north of Austin than it does to central Texas). Some of the basket-flowers I saw there seemed different from what I’m used to in central Texas. Among the differences were baskets that seemed somewhat metallic, almost as if made with copper or brass.

Several of the basket-flowers struck me as more bundle-like than usual as they opened.

Some had florets of a richer purple than I recall seeing in Austin. Naturally I welcomed the novelties.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 24, 2019 at 4:32 AM

Some last pictures from Bastrop

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On June 6th we’d gone to Bastrop by traveling south and then east, so we spiced up the return to Austin by heading north from Bastrop and then turning west. The show-stopper (and me-stopper) along TX 95 was a colony of beebalm, Monarda punctata, interspersed with brown-eyed (also called black-eyed) susans, Rudbeckia hirta. Below is a view of some susans in their own right that I’d hung out with while still in Bastrop State Park. As you can confirm, the excellent wildflower spring of 2019 hadn’t yet quit by early June.

Oh, and do you see that bare dead tree in the upper left of the second landscape? I walked up to it, wanting to isolate it against the sky, but I couldn’t find a position from which it appeared completely by itself. Below is the best I could do; at least I got a puff of a cloud as an accompaniment.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 22, 2019 at 4:38 PM

Transitory

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But truth be told of glory:
It’s always transitory.

This is what had become of a soft golden-aster flower head
when I photographed it in Bastrop State Park on June 6th.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 21, 2019 at 4:40 AM

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