Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Tooting your own horn

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A few days ago an e-mail went out announcing the results of the 2018 NPSoT photo contest. Below I’ve copied the parts of that message pertaining to me (toot toot). Some of the pictures (or variants) have appeared in my posts but others have not. You can click an image to enlarge it quite a bit.

 

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Photo contest winners from 2018

By Bill Hopkins
Photo contest winners from all 12 Level III Ecoregions in Texas. Winners were chosen by popular vote and first announced at the 2018 Fall Symposium in San Antonio.

 

Arizona/New Mexico Mountains Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Fallugia paradoxa, Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Central Texas Great Plains Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Castilleja purpurea var. purpurea, US 84 near Coleman

Cross Timbers Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, North of Lampasas, Erythronium albidum

High Plains Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Penstemon buckleyi, Monahans Sandhills State Park

Coast Prairies and Marshes Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Gaillardia pulchella, Coreopsis spp., Galveston

East Central Plains Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Argemone albiflora, Bastrop State Park

Southwestern Tablelands Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Astragalus racemosus, Caprock Canyons State Park

Western Gulf Coastal Plain Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Osmunda cinnamomea, Big Thicket

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 10, 2019 at 4:16 AM

First bluebonnets for 2019

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Earlier this week I heard on a local television news channel that some bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) had already flowered along the Capital of Texas Highway near the Arboretum. Yesterday I followed up that lead and, sure enough, there were the bluebonnets. Despite the overcast sky and the wind I took lots of pictures, picking varied stages of development and of course varying my compositions. I chose to show this picture because of the orange-brown rock in the background, which added a novel touch, at least in my experience. As I see it, color carries much of the weight of the picture, and only the flower parts in the upper center of the photograph are in focus. Below is another use of selective focus, this time on a developing inflorescence.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 8, 2019 at 4:33 AM

Downstream

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Downstream from the places you saw a couple of posts ago, the main creek flows out of Great Hills Park
and wanders through a golf course. Near Rain Creek Parkway, that stretch of the creek is bordered
by switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), which by January 25th had done a pretty job of drying out.

Here’s a closer view of the switchgrass on the other side of the creek.

Across the road some sycamores (Platanus occidentalis)
also wore their winter look. Notice the many hanging seed globes.

When I drove past there yesterday I found that all the switchgrass
on both sides of the creek had just been cut back to the ground.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 7, 2019 at 4:05 AM

Lake Pflugerville

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This morning we walked part of the path around Lake Pflugerville on the Blackland Prairie.
One thing that caught my attention was the reflection of a bare tree.

Another thing was a shaft of light in the clouds.

At the edge of the lake near the main parking lot I noticed seed head remains of bushy bluestem
(Andropogon glomeratus) and cockleburs (Xanthium strumarium) among the cattails (Typha latifolia).

I took these photographs with my iPhone.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 4, 2019 at 5:00 PM

Creek views from Great Hills Park on January 24th

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Southern maidenhair ferns, Adiantum capillus-veneris, greened up a panel of creekside wall.

Mustang grape vines, Vitis mustangensis, hung near the shallow waterfall at what’s called the fish pool.

In the southern part of the park a whale of a gravel bar in the main creek conjured up Moby Dick.

After I walked to the gravel bar and looked back, these reflections waved my way.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 2, 2019 at 4:37 AM

First native spring wildflower

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Click to enlarge.

On January 28th I discovered a colony of flowering anemones, Anemone decapetala, along Talleyran Dr. This is truly a wildflower of the coming season, in contrast to the several holdovers you’ve seen on and off here for the last couple of months. Some anemones are white, others purple, and some a mixture of the two colors, as shown here.

Anemone flowers usually stay close to the ground, so in making my portrait I couldn’t avoid the patchy light beyond this one. At least I managed to keep that patchwork pretty much out of focus.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 30, 2019 at 4:42 AM

More from nature on December 25, 2018

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Here are more things I encountered west of Morado Circle on the morning of December 25, 2018.
It’s not unusual to find a hole in the pad of a prickly pear cactus (Opuntia engelmannii).

Look at the complexity in the dense branches of a dead Ashe juniper tree (Juniperus ashei).
Some seed-capsule-bearing limbs of a Mexican buckeye tree (Ungnadia speciosa) reached in from behind.

Why this patch on the top surface of an otherwise dark rock was so light, I don’t know.

The bright fruits of a yaupon tree (Ilex vomitoria) in front of
an Ashe juniper may strike you as appropriate for the date.

And look at the wireweed that had sprouted in the power lines overhead.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 28, 2019 at 4:57 AM

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