Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for August 2019

Huffman Prairie Pink

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Huffman Prairie looms large in the history of aviation because it’s the place in Dayton, Ohio, where the Wright Brothers improved their early flying machines to the point of being reliably controllable in the air. According to a source that I read during our trip, Huffman Prairie also happens to be the largest native prairie remnant in the state of Ohio today. When we visited on July 21st we found plenty of wildflowers managing to flourish in the glaring summer light and heat. Prominent among them was a colony of echinacea (Echinacea purpurea.)

Here’s what an individual flower head looks like:

And here’s a somewhat bedraggled fasciated double flower head I noticed there:

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 19, 2019 at 4:46 AM

(WF) cubed + G cubed

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Today’s title is a coded description of the land that is upstate New York: WonderFully Well-Formed WaterFalls and Gorgeous Gorges Galore. In fact the pictures from those kinds of places make up the majority of all the ones I took on the trip. Rather than going in chronological order, which would mean that for a time you’d see post after post with the same types of photographs, I’ll maintain variety by interspersing* gorge and waterfall pictures from New York State with those of other subjects in other places.

Although I grew up on Long Island and visited various sites upstate during my childhood and later on, somehow until July 27th of this year I’d never made it to Letchworth State Park, which bills its Genesee River gorges as the Grand Canyon of the East. Having been to the Grand Canyon of the West, I find the claim a bit of a stretch. Still, there’s no denying that Letchworth is a worthy place to visit. It’s home to three large and impressive waterfalls that truthfully go by the names Lower, Middle, and Upper, along with dozens of smaller falls. Today’s pictures come from the vicinity of the Lower Falls, which we saw first.


How about the strata in the walls of those rocky gorges?

The angularity of some structures made me think I was looking at the ruins of ancient buildings.
And as always, some plants find rootholds in seemingly unlikely places.

Look how wide the Lower Falls are. I wanted to shoot from further left but I haven’t learned how to fly.

* In current English we can intersperse and disperse and even asperse but we can’t just sperse; in early modern English sperse was a synonym of disperse.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 17, 2019 at 4:43 AM

5100

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Over the 26 days from July 17 through August 11 we drove 5100 miles on a journey that took us as far afield as Toronto and New York. This was a combination trip:

  • People, including some I hadn’t seen since 1973.
  • Culture, primarily in the form of museums, most of which we got into for free thanks to reciprocal privileges from our membership in Austin’s Blanton Museum.
  • Scenic places (had to do at least some nature photography, right?).

On July 17 we made the fatiguing 650-mile push to Memphis. The next morning I photographed a pond along the Austin Peay Highway northeast of Memphis.

Here’s a second view of that pond:

Not long afterwards I stopped at another pond a little further east:

In the shallows of that second pond grew a plant that, because of reflections, seemed to be floating in clouds:

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 15, 2019 at 4:47 AM

Rock squirrels

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In June and July we became aware of not one, not two, not three, but four rock squirrels (Otospermophilus variegatus) frequenting our back yard. The place they most like to sit is on the railing of our deck, as shown here in a picture from July 11th.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 14, 2019 at 4:45 AM

Engelmann daisy in two stages

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The Engelmann daisy, Engelmannia peristenia, could as well be called a ribbon daisy, given the strong propensity of its ray flowers to curl under like ribbons. Notice also the way the little crown of ray flowers typically looks pinched as a bud opens. The curling and pinching took place on the flower mound in Flower Mound on June 9th.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 12, 2019 at 4:44 AM

Effects of rain

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On June 24th, after we’d had rain, I went down to Great Hills Park. Here are some effects of that rain.

Texas lantana flowers, Lantana urticoides

Wet rattan vine, Berchemia scandens

Petal of a white prickly poppy, Argemone albiflora, on horsemint, Monarda citriodora

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 10, 2019 at 4:44 AM

A new waterfall

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Way back on April 20th I found a waterfall in the Upper Bull Creek Greenbelt that was new to me. I took pictures in rather harsh light and also went back the next day to take more photographs in slightly softer light. Somehow I never showed any of those pictures here, so partly to make up for that and partly as a scene-setter, I’ve begun this post with a ferns-on-boulder view of the falls from back then.

On June 28th I returned to the waterfall, where I experimented with fast shutter speeds (above, 1/1600 of a second, shades of Hokusai’s “Great Wave”) and slow shutter speeds (below, 1/25 of a second). Each approach has advantages and drawbacks.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 7, 2019 at 4:48 AM

Like a lion

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This rock formation reminds me of an animal’s head, most often a lion’s.
I photographed it along a tributary of Bull Creek in Great Hills Park on June 24th.
Hail, hail, not Freedonia but pareidolia.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 4, 2019 at 4:45 AM

Pink before yellow

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Growing out of the caliche along Capital of Texas Highway on June 18th was this square-bud primrose (Oenothera berlandieri). The complementary color beyond it came from mountain pinks (Zeltnera beyrichii). And now that I’ve mentioned those, I guess I owe you a picture of them in their own right.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 1, 2019 at 4:43 AM

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