Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Euphorbia corollata

with 32 comments

Melissa Pierson: "When a little further along the little white flowers form a crown above the stem. Abundant at Illinois Beach, I don't find it anywhere else."

At Illinois Beach State Park on June 9th I found a flowering spurge plant, Euphorbia corollata. The species name is Latin for ‘having a small crown,’ and Melissa Pierson, who identified the species for me, noted that “when a little further along the little white flowers form a crown above the stem. Abundant at Illinois Beach, I don’t find it anywhere else.” Today’s photograph is a downward-looking view at one of those small white crowns, which was about a quarter of an inch across (6mm).

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 16, 2016 at 4:59 AM

Sparse and not sparse

with 21 comments

_MG_7880

On that last visit to Illinois Beach State Park on June 14th I found this flowering spike of Lobelia spicata. Compared to the pale-spiked lobelia in the photograph at the Illinois Wildflowers site, this one seems sparse, but that’s the way it was. Not at all sparse there that day (or any other) were the pebbles on the shore of Lake Michigan.

Pebbles at Illinois Beach State Park 8075

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 15, 2016 at 4:44 AM

Last visit to Illinois Beach State Park

with 25 comments

Wave Crashing Against Lake Michigan Shore 7988

Two months ago today, when we made our last visit to Illinois Beach State Park, we explored an area farther north than where we’d stayed at the Illinois Beach Resort. The highlight this time was a small stretch where the waves coming westward on Lake Michigan crashed against the shore and shot straight up. The water surged so quickly that as a photographer I adopted a strategy of setting the camera to a high shutter speed (in this case 1/2000 of a second) and taking lots of pictures in the hope that at least a few would capture the action. This one gives you a pretty good feel for what was happening.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 14, 2016 at 3:57 AM

Retention

with 8 comments

Ludwigia Flowering by Pond 0983

While most of the prairie site in far northeast Austin that I mentioned yesterday has become a construction zone, I’m still hopeful that the northern end of the strip, which includes a retention pond, will remain undeveloped because it’s so wet. The photograph above shows a few water-primrose plants (Ludwigia octovalvis) flowering along the eastern edge of the pond on July 16.

If you’d like a close look at this kind of flower, you can have one from a few years ago.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 13, 2016 at 5:03 AM

More loss

with 59 comments

Pennant Dragonfly 5109

The previous post’s white bluebells were growing behind a subdivision on a strip of land that I knew tended to collect water in several places and that I therefore took to be immune from development. I was wrong. When I visited on June 16th I was saddened to find that most of that strip of land had become a construction site for more houses. 2016 was barely half over, and already I’d lost more properties to development than in any previous year since 1999, when I began paying attention to such things.

As a retrospective tribute to that piece of prairie, here are two upward-looking pictures I took there on June 24, 2011. The one above shows a pennant dragonfly and the one below a sunflower, both with cumulus clouds.

Sunflower Flower Head and Cumulus Cloud 5263

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 12, 2016 at 4:54 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , ,

Sometimes the blue that’s violet or purple is white

with 9 comments

White Bluebell Flowers 0892

Speaking of bluebells (Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum), which my eyes and brain see as violet or purple, I’ll add that occasionally the flowers are mostly white. That’s obviously the case in this view from July 16 on the Blackland Prairie in far northeast Austin. Note the faint traces of the normal color rising into the petals’ whiteness.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 11, 2016 at 5:19 AM

First bluebells for 2016

with 47 comments

Bluebell Bud and Flower from Side 9853

On June 28th I came across my first bluebells (Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum) of the year when I went walking along the Northern Walnut Creek Trail. As I took pictures, a Korean man and his wife who were also walking the trail stopped nearby. The man told me that he knows these native American wildflowers from Korea, where they’ve apparently been cultivated for some time, as they have in Japan as well.

On the aesthetic side, don’t you like the way the bud and its stalk arc across the flower below them? I do. And if you’re interested in the craft of photography, point 20 in About My Techniques is relevant to today’s image. So are points 1 and 2. So is 18.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 10, 2016 at 4:29 AM

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,664 other followers

%d bloggers like this: