Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for August 2019

Smartweed and blue sky

with 34 comments

On August 29th I found plenty of smartweed plants (Polygonum sp.)
flowering on the wet ground at the edge of the Riata Trace Pond in northwest Austin.
I was careless enough to get part of one shoe wet while hunching down to make my portraits.
Still, you needn’t worry about your monitor: I made sure today’s photo was thoroughly dry before posting it.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 31, 2019 at 4:25 AM

Two pointy things of different size

with 31 comments

A mound in the forest at John Bryan State Park near Yellow Springs, Ohio, on July 21 made me think I was looking once again at the ruins of a Mayan pyramid that the Central American jungle had reclaimed.

The green on this drying leaf I found when we were about to leave the park seemed unaccountably vivid.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 30, 2019 at 4:37 AM

Cavern Cascade

with 36 comments

One of the waterfalls at Watkins Glen State Park in New York’s Finger Lakes region is Cavern Cascade. Below is a chiaroscuro portrait of it from July 30th that plays the falling water off against the rock strata in the gorge.

What makes Cavern Cascade so popular is that the trail leading to it passes behind the cascade. Naturally that’s where I wanted to stand to take a less-conventional photograph, but so many tourists kept coming along the path in both directions and stopping to have someone take their picture or to do a selfie that I despaired of ever getting half a minute completely free from people. Eventually there was a brief letup in the human caravans and I rushed in to make my abstract portrait looking out at 1/800 of a second through the waterfall toward the light beyond it.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 29, 2019 at 6:24 AM

Not just Lucifer Falls

with 44 comments

At Robert H. Treman State Park in New York’s Finger Lakes region on August 1st I didn’t only photograph Lucifer Falls and other waterfalls. Here are some non-watery scenes from the western (upper) end of the park.

I can’t not see a bell.

A hornet nest.

Living, dead, and inanimate together.

Oh, the lichens….

This reminded me of those old ruined homesteads out in the country where the only thing that’s left standing is a chimney.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 28, 2019 at 4:39 AM

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

with 34 comments

Okay, so I don’t live on a ranch but I do live in Texas, and now that we’ve been back for two weeks I should begin interpolating an occasional current picture into the continuing travelogue. Today’s photograph from August 24th on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin shows an opening flower of Clematis drummondii, the vine colloquially known as old man’s beard.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 27, 2019 at 4:51 AM

Lucifer Falls

with 45 comments

I can’t remember if I’d ever heard of Robert H. Treman State Park in the southern part of New York State’s Finger Lakes region before I did research for our summer trip. When we visited on the morning of August 1st I concentrated on the upper (western) end of the park and skipped the lower part, given that we were expected down near New York City later in the day. At Treman we encountered other hikers, but nothing like the crowds we’d run into at Letchworth State Park and Watkins Glen State Park.

The main attraction in the upper section of Treman State Park is the 115-feet-tall Lucifer Falls, shown above as I photographed it at 1/2500 of a second and a focal length of 85mm. Then I switched to my telephoto and zoomed to the maximum 400mm to record details in the falling and splashing water, again at 1/2500 of a second. Notice how sunlight refracting through the spray created pleasing pastel colors. You can use the slightly curved light-colored “bar” in the lower right corner of the second picture to match up to the same feature about a fifth of the way up from the center of the bottom in the first picture.

I also used the maximum 400mm reach of my telephoto to portray a closed lily (perhaps a Canada lily, Lilium canadense) that I noticed leaning out into the gorge. I chose a position that let me line up the lily with the waterfall; apparently the flower reflected a lot more light than the farther-away falls, given the way that the water turned into what looks like a faint cloud floating in darkness.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 26, 2019 at 4:41 AM

More from Huffman Prairie

with 36 comments

At Dayton’s Huffman Prairie on July 21st I found colonies of wild bergamot, Monarda fistulosa.
The USDA map shows it growing in all of the lower 48 states except California and Florida.
(When Steve Gingold mentioned this species in June I’d never knowingly seen any. A month later I had.)

I also saw two kinds of yellow composites that I wasn’t familiar with. Daniel Boone at the
Cincinnati Wildflower Preservation Society identified them for me as wingstem, Verbesina alternifolia,

and prairie dock, Silphium terebinthinaceum. Notice the echinacea in the background.

The kind of dark beetle that I saw on another prairie dock might have been the nibbler of the ray flowers.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 25, 2019 at 4:47 AM

%d bloggers like this: