Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Bayside Park

with 41 comments

The bay that Bayside Park sits on the western shore of is Mobile Bay.
In that Alabama park on August 10th I photographed a vine covered-pine tree.
The vine could have been trumpet creeper, Campsis radicans, which also grows in Austin.

After turning the other way, toward Mobile Bay,
I found a dark plant beneath a dark cloud.

I photographed a few other things, and then, as I was about finished, some birds flew into view. My telephoto lens was in the camera bag. The 24–105mm lens that was on the camera was set to only 56mm and the shutter speed to only 1/320 of a second (as I learned afterwards from the metadata). Those are poor settings for photographs of birds in motion but there was no time to change anything: all I could do was pan to follow the birds while I got off four shots in as many seconds. To my surprise, there was no blurring of my subjects. Shannon Westveer later identified them for me as American white pelicans, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 22, 2019 at 7:00 AM

41 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. As you know I’ve become quite a fan of white pelicans. They look glorious in flight but so far I haven’t captured them flying.


    August 22, 2019 at 7:34 AM

  2. In New Brunswick trees are sometimes colonized by Virginia creeper and look like they are wearing new clothing.

    jane tims

    August 22, 2019 at 8:08 AM

  3. Birds in flight! These are truly lucky moments when the picture turns out well and focused in spite of the wrong setting. Magnificent shot of the white pelicans, Steve!

    Peter Klopp

    August 22, 2019 at 8:23 AM

    • Because I haven’t taken many decent pictures of birds in flight even when I have been prepared, this was an unexpected and welcome success. That said, the 56mm focal length the lens was set at meant that the photograph included unnecessary space; what I’ve shown represents about one-third of the total area in the picture. Fortunately each frame includes 50 megapixels, so I can afford to crop and still have plenty left.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 22, 2019 at 8:45 AM

  4. Still takes skill to get such a good shot against the odds, some luck too perhaps.


    August 22, 2019 at 2:26 PM

  5. We have a creeper locally that clothes trees in autumn hues like what you think may be in your first picture. For us, it’s Virginia Creeper-Parthenocissus quinquefolia.

    Steve Gingold

    August 23, 2019 at 3:31 AM

  6. All of these lovely scenes show ‘risingscapes’. The creeper, the pelicans and the dark plant are rising higher and higher to I know what where.


    August 23, 2019 at 7:05 AM

    • That’s a good coinage: risingscape. It made me think that if I’d been there to take a picture when the pelicans came down I could have had a landingscape and a landscape in one.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 23, 2019 at 7:15 AM

  7. Beautiful images, Steve. The one in the middle I like best with the dark cloud looking almost like a crown for the plant.


    August 23, 2019 at 1:07 PM

  8. Pine-vines always appeal, partly because the combination seems so unlikely to me. Of course it isn’t; there are plenty of trees covered with vines. Still, the first pine forests I knew, in Minnesota, were generally free of this kind of viny growth, and they’re still my mental template for what a pine forest is “supposed” to look like.

    My favorite of this set is the stark, dark plant along the shore. It’s easy to imagine the clouds caught and tangled in its branches, rather like a skyborne analog to milkweed fluff.


    August 24, 2019 at 7:00 AM

    • The spirit of rhyme is yours at this time: pine/vine, stark/dark.
      And of course your accustomed imagination is on display, too, with the cloud as captured milkweed fluff.
      By the time I reached the Alabama coast I was beginning to see some familiar wildflowers from home like partridge pea and Indian blanket.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 24, 2019 at 7:19 AM

  9. More and more, I’m wishing to visit the whole U.S., in its entirety, although I think I would skip the cities. Your blog is a reminder of how much beauty there is here. Thanks for that!


    August 24, 2019 at 2:10 PM

    • You’re most welcome. If you haven’t much made it out of Florida, a world of nature awaits you elsewhere in the country. Each region has features to recommend it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 24, 2019 at 6:32 PM

      • Thanks. I’m always keeping an eye on your blog!


        August 24, 2019 at 6:45 PM

        • I’ve gradually shown more and more regions.

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 24, 2019 at 9:32 PM

          • The State of Florida is basically a plateau. There are no mountains. Its shape is that of a peninsula, so all summer long there are many thunderstorms because of humidity levels and lowlands. Have you been there?


            August 24, 2019 at 9:44 PM

            • In the ’80s I had a short visit to Orlando. In the late ’60s I flew in and out of Miami a couple of times. Our recent trip took us briefly to Navarre Beach and Pensacola Beach in the Panhandle. All in all, though, I barely know Florida.

              Steve Schwartzman

              August 24, 2019 at 9:48 PM

  10. I don’t know it as well either. I’m more familiar with the Everglades territory which is in South Florida. However, I’ve missed seeing the northern and some of the central areas. The western Gulf coast is very different from the eastern Atlantic.


    August 24, 2019 at 9:57 PM

  11. Wonderful images Steve … great snap of the pelicans 👏


    August 28, 2019 at 9:00 PM

    • I also managed to photograph a brown pelican that was sitting on a post, so motion wasn’t a problem.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 29, 2019 at 5:22 AM

  12. Serendipity with pelicans! 😉


    August 30, 2019 at 7:15 PM

  13. […] stopping at Bayside Park on August 10 we’d visited the Estuarium on Dauphin Island. The cleverly named Estuarium, on […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: