Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Closer and closer looks at poverty weed

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Again from November 4th and the same part of the greenbelt adjacent to Great Hills Park as yesterday’s view of a densely fluffy poverty weed bush, here’s a closer look at the tufts on a female Baccharis neglecta. In the lower left portion of the image the little seed bundles still hold their fibers mostly parallel, while elsewhere those fibers are losing their alignment and loosening up, soon to be breeze-blown, wind-wafted, later land-linked and root-ready.

Poverty Weed Tufts 8796

And here’s an even closer look, this time at two back-to-back tufts. In the one on the right, the fibers were seemingly still sodden from recent rain.

Two Poverty Weed Tufts 8809

They say that seeing is believing, but most people who see one of these bushes or small trees wouldn’t believe it’s in the same botanical family as sunflowers. It is.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 17, 2015 at 6:10 AM

An autumn delight that’s not brightly colored

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Poverty Weed Turned Fluffy 8801

In central Texas we don’t have brightly colored fall foliage on a grand scale, and what little there is hasn’t appeared yet this year. One fall display we have had, though, is the soft one put on by poverty weed, Baccharis neglecta. You caught a glimpse of that in a recent post in which the tufts of an “old man’s beard” vine partly masked the not-yet-fully-fluffy ones of poverty weed, so here’s an unobstructed view of the latter fully developed on November 4th in the greenbelt adjacent to Great Hills Park.

If you’re interested in photography as a craft, points 18 and 19 in About My Techniques apply to this photograph.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 16, 2015 at 5:27 AM

Posted in nature photography

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A close view of a wood sorrel flower

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Purple Wood Sorrel Flower with Petals Ribboned Back 8837

In the previous post you didn’t see much of the wood sorrel flower, Oxalis drummondii, that caught my attention on the floor of the woods in Great Hills Park on November 4th, although it did coincidentally lend its color to all the foliage in the negative version of yesterday’s image.

A few paces from that scene I found the wood sorrel flower shown here. It had its five petals appealingly ribboned back to form a would-be pentagon, even as an adjacent bud on the same plant was beginning to open. If you’d like to compare a close view of a wood sorrel flower when its petals aren’t curled down, you can check out a post from this blog’s first fall.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 15, 2015 at 4:57 AM

The color and the curve that caught my eye

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Wood Sorrel Flower in Oak Leaves by Contorted Ashe Juniper Remains 8892

In Great Hills Park on November 4th I was walking back up the trail toward where I’d parked my car when a bit of bright color caught my eye. It was a wood sorrel flower (Oxalis drummondii) in a bed of new oak leaves (Quercus spp.) adjacent to the remains of an Ashe juniper (Juniperus ashei) that was contorted in a way that’s not uncommon for these trees. The roundedly V-shaped leaflets are those of wood sorrel plants, and there are also some leaves of a greenbrier vine (Smilax bona-nox) mixed in with the young oak leaves at the left.

I’m not much for wholesale manipulation of photographs, but while processing this picture I accidentally hit a key that produced a negative of the image. I liked it enough as an abstraction in its own right that I decided to let you have a look at it via the thumbnail below.

So now it’s fee fie faux color,
Click and see what you’ll discover.

Wood Sorrel Flower in Oak Leaves by Contorted Ashe Juniper Remains 8892

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 14, 2015 at 5:04 AM

More effects of rain

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Maidenhair Ferns by Boulder and Tree 8889

Here’s an intimate landscape* from my visit to Great Hills Park on November 4th. The recent rains had made the maidenhair ferns (Adiantum capillus-veneris) turn a vivid green at the base of a boulder along the main trail in that area.


* Some nature photographers use the term intimate landscape for a scene that doesn’t include the sky or horizon but that provides a broader view than a closeup. You can read more about intimate landscapes in the fourth paragraph of an article about Eliot Porter’s work.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 13, 2015 at 5:15 AM

Lindheimer’s senna in three stages

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Lindheimer's Senna Flowers and Pods 8851

A late-summer- and autumn-blooming plant that I still found flowering around Austin in early November is Lindheimer’s senna, Senna lindheimeriana. This one in Great Hills Park on an overcast November 4th exhibited buds, a flower, and several pods simultaneously.

You can read more about this species in an article by a member of the Boerne chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas. Among other things, I learned that an alternate name for Lindheimer’s senna is puppy dog’s ears, a reference to the softness of this plant’s leaflets.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 12, 2015 at 4:59 AM

Confluence of two Bull Creek tributaries

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Confluence of Bull Creek Tributaries 8662

Let me boost my L.Q. (landscape quotient) with this scene from the Bull Creek watershed on October 31. You’re seeing the confluence of two tributaries of Bull Creek as they looked after heavy rain the previous day and again in the overnight. Notice the hardy sycamore sapling (Platanus occidentalis) seemingly growing out of the limestone where the two creeks meet. If your eyes could glance upstream along the creek on the left (which they can), and then follow the water around the bend for a while (which they can’t), you’d have a view of the waterfall I showed you last week.

Between my previous visit to this spot and the current one, somebody (or somebodies) had defaced the upper part of the rocks at the V between the creeks, so I used a bit of digital magic to return those marred rocks to a natural state.

For more information about Bull Creek, including a look at a scenic postcard from 1916, you can check out the relevant Wikipedia article.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 11, 2015 at 5:00 AM


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