Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Bright autumn yellow

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What would fall in Austin be without the bright yellow flower spikes of Helianthus maximiliani, the Maximilian sunflower? This October 19th view is from the walk in Pease Park I mentioned last time.

On November 11th at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center I got in closer for a more-abstract portrait:

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 23, 2019 at 4:41 AM

Rain-lilies in autumn

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On October 19th I drove to Pease Park for an ecologically oriented walking tour. As soon as I parked I noticed some rain-lilies, Cooperia drummondii, by the edge of the road, and because I was a bit early for the walk I had the chance to get down and make some portraits. Here’s one that shows a colorful flower:

While wandering west of Morado Circle three days later I found fresh rain-lilies still coming up.
The one shown below lacked the magenta that increases as the flower ages.
Click each photograph for greater detail.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 21, 2019 at 4:42 AM

Front- and backlit Lindheimer’s senna pods

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The first photo highlights the outside of a pod; the second, like an x-ray, reveals what’s inside.
These views of Senna lindheimeriana come from October 22 west of Morado Circle.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 19, 2019 at 4:40 AM

Backlit Lindheimer’s senna flower

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Senna lindheimeriana; October 22 west of Morado Circle.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 17, 2019 at 4:28 AM

Pelicans

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Most of the birds that followed the Galveston-Bolivar ferry on October 7th were either gulls—two of which you saw a few posts back—or brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis), which you’re seeing now.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 15, 2019 at 4:28 PM

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The change from Tuesday morning to Wednesday morning

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From Monday’s weather forecast I learned that the overnight temperature into Tuesday morning would drop a few degrees below freezing. Sure enough, when I checked the thermometer early Tuesday morning it read 29°. Equally sure enough, that meant I had to dress warmly and go out into the cold for the season’s first possible pictures of frostweed ice. I drove the half-mile to my usual stand of plants (Verbesina virginica) in Great Hills Park and found—nada. Despite the freeze, not a single frostweed plant had produced ice.

On Wednesday morning the thermometer read 32° and I gave the project a second try. This time a couple of dozen frostweed plants had woken up and remembered what they’re supposed to do when the temperature drops to freezing, and they did it, as these two photographs confirm. The second image is more abstract, which I consider a good thing in my quest for different ways to photograph a familiar subject.

If the frostweed ice phenomenon is new to you, you’re welcome to look back at previous posts to learn more.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 14, 2019 at 4:41 AM

Flowering goldenrod colony

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Cumulus clouds enhanced this get-on-the-ground-and-aim-upward view of a flowering goldenrod colony (probably Solidago altissima) at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge near the Gulf of Mexico on October 7th:

A higher vantage point from farther back shows how densely expansive the flowering goldenrod colony was:

Despite the overnight freeze in Austin this morning, the few isolated goldenrods in my neighborhood whose flowers I’ve been observing look as good and fresh as before the freeze. Hardy plants, these goldenrods.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 12, 2019 at 4:25 PM

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