Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

New Zealand: koru

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What kind of nature photographer would I be if I returned from New Zealand without showing you at least one koru? Koru is the Māori word for what English sometimes calls a fiddlehead, the spirally curled tip of a new fern leaf. I photographed this one on February 19th along the path leading from Dorothy Falls to Lake Kaniere.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 16, 2017 at 4:58 AM

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New Zealand: shooting two birds

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Shooting* not with one stone or several, but with a camera, of course. The other bird that I managed to get a picture of at the Orokonui Ecosanctuary northeast of Dunedin on February 27th proved to be a juvenile bellbird, Anthornis melanura. It was head guide Sue Hensley who once again provided the identification, adding: “The bellbird looks to be a young one with a dark rather than a red eye. I love the feet and the position you have photographed it in.”

If you’d like to see an adult bellbird, you can check out a picture of one I took on our previous trip to New Zealand.

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* Speaking of shooting, this was a difficult picture to get because I had to shoot up toward an area that was much brighter than many of the bird’s parts that faced me.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 14, 2017 at 5:00 AM

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Finally

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My first pictures at the “vacant” lot in Cedar Park on May 6th were of the coreopsis colony that had brought me there on that sunny morning. Then I looked around to see what else was growing on the property. One find was a species I’d seen for years in Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country but had never encountered in person: cut-leaf germander, Teucrium laciniatum. In the second photograph, the yellow-orange daubs in the background came from coreopsis flowers.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 12, 2017 at 4:58 AM

Coreopsis flowering

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On May 5th Eve and I drove up to the town of Cedar Park, which borders the northern reaches of Austin, to check out the new Whole Foods 365 that opened there a couple of weeks earlier. Lots of construction had gone on (and is still going on) in the area recently, and on a piece of disturbed ground we noticed a good stand of coreopsis flowering. The next morning I went back with my camera equipment to photograph the colony of Coreopsis tinctoria.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 10, 2017 at 4:51 AM

New Zealand: Maruia Falls

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I’d never even heard of Maruia Falls till we got close on March 2nd and saw signs for it. This was the widest waterfall we encountered on the trip.

In preparing today’s post I did a little research and learned, to my surprise, that Maruia Falls goes back only to 1929, when it was just 1 meter high. To find out more, you can read the page at The Encyclopedia of New Zealand and then the one that comes up after you click the Next arrow on that page.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 8, 2017 at 4:40 AM

New Zealand: Kahikatea

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The little reserve in central Christchurch known as Riccarton Bush is home to some trees known botanically as Dacrycarpus dacrydioides, in Māori as kahikatea, and in English as white pine. Unlike the many imported species of pine covering so much of New Zealand, this tree is native. In fact, as you can see from the plaque at the end of this post, the kahikatea is the tallest native tree in the country.

The roots of some of the venerable kahikatea trees I saw on March 1st were impressive. Judging from what I’ve found on the Internet, I haven’t been alone in photographing these very ones:

Here’s an informational plaque that stands in Riccarton Bush:

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 6, 2017 at 4:59 AM

Six years

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Six years ago today I uploaded the first post of now almost 2300 in Portraits of Wildflowers. You might say that tentative entry was like the little fern shown above getting a foothold in the vertical strata along the trail we trekked to New Zealand’s Franz Josef Glacier on February 20th this year.

Those strata, which hadn’t always gotten turned 90°, proved so visually appealing that I took many photographs of them. Below is another one. The pink in both cases is from small lichens. Call these formations waterfalls in stone and you’ll have come up with an apt metaphor.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 4, 2017 at 4:53 AM

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