Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

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Wildflowers in January

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Central Texas has a warm enough climate that even in the winter you can see several native plant species flowering. I’ve noted six of them this week, and yesterday for the first time since returning from the Philippines on December 25th I went out to take some nature photographs. Today’s picture from Morado Circle in my northwest Austin neighborhood shows you a flower head of Viguiera dentata, known as plateau goldeneye or just goldeneye. All that yellow should cheer up any of you who are suffering the rigors of a cold northern winter.

As for the tropical Philippines, more posts from there are still forthcoming. I just thought it’s time to start interspersing a few current views from Texas.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 19, 2020 at 4:48 AM

The cemetery in Sibonga

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Sibonga*, on the east coast of Cebu, is Eve’s home town. On none of my previous trips had I gone to the town’s cemetery, but on the morning of December 15th we walked over there for a visit. From my time in Honduras I’d learned that cemeteries in poor countries are likely to be very different from those in the United States and other wealthy countries, so what I found in Sibonga didn’t surprise me. It may, however, surprise you or even disturb you. With that caveat, here’s a photo essay showing parts of Sibonga’s cemetery.

The boy shown below cutting off coconuts in a tree at the edge of the cemetery seemed an early candidate for membership as he stood barefoot on the tops of two metal poles to which electric wires were attached.

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* Most languages have at least the five vowels [a], [e], [i], [o], and [u]. Cebuano is unusual in that it reduces that basic set to three vowels: a native speaker doesn’t distinguish between [e] and [i], nor between [o] and [u]. As a result, in spite of the spelling Sibonga, people pronounce the name as if it were Sibunga.

Also notice the strange fact that although the inhabitants of the Philippines speak their various native languages almost all the time, when it comes to signs, posters, billboards, and even to tombstones, the large majority of those are written in English. Some of today’s pictures provide examples of that.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 17, 2020 at 4:51 AM

Sunset at the Temple of Leah

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As daylight dwindled on December 14th we found ourselves driving up into the hills on the north side of Cebu City to visit the Temple of Leah. We arrived just in time for me to catch a last bit of sunset color at the top of high cumulus clouds.

By looking in a different direction a minute later I managed to record some pastel blue and pink in the sky.

One minute after that, with sunset colors almost gone, I photographed an outdoor lamp sculpture.

I’m reminded now of another globe lamp I photographed near sundown five months earlier.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 15, 2020 at 4:00 AM

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I’ve looked at clouds

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On the flight from Coron back to Cebu City on December 14th
I sat next to a window and took pictures of clouds that interested me.

At one point I saw a rainbow by looking down, as I had on land earlier in the year.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 13, 2020 at 3:20 AM

Rhapsody in Blue at the Palladium Hotel

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At Coron in the Philippine province of Palawan we stayed at the Palladium Hotel,
whose design harkens back to buildings on the Greek island of Santorini.

On December 14th, before we left for the airport to fly back to Cebu City,
I tried out compositions that played off the morning’s wispy clouds against the hotel.
Sometimes elements of the hotel became my primary subjects.

Even bubbling water in the swimming pool made for a blue abstraction.

Just thought I’d give you something different for a change.
Actually I’ve been making pictures like these since decades before my emphasis on nature and native plants.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 11, 2020 at 4:24 AM

Still more from Coron’s island-hopping tour on December 13

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© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 9, 2020 at 4:39 AM

More from our Coron island-hopping tour

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As you’ve heard, on December 13 we went on what’s known as a Coron island-hopping tour.

It showed off the area’s rock formations, cliffs, trees, and colorful tropical water.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 7, 2020 at 4:49 AM

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