Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘animal

Bug nymph on four-nerve daisy

with 36 comments

In contrast to the willful four-nerve daisy flower head (Tetraneuris linearifolia) you saw last time, the flatness of this one that I found on the same April 1st outing had me aiming straight down at it.

You’ll remember that each “petal” of a daisy is actually an independent flower known as a ray flower. The rays (14 in this case) ray-diate out from the flower head’s center, which is made up of many smaller individual flowers of a different type, known as disk flowers. It’s common in daisies for the disk flowers to form overlapping spirals, some of which go out from the center in a clockwise sense, and others in a counter-clockwise sense. If you count the number of disk-flower spirals in each direction, you typically get consecutive Fibonacci numbers. There’s a confirmation of that in the following enlargements of this four-nerve daisy’s disk. Go ahead, count the number of spirals going each way and you’ll see:

In the unlikely event that anyone ever asks you if daisies know how to count, you can confidently and Fibonaccily say yes.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Advertisements

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 13, 2018 at 4:35 AM

A different metamorphosis

with 37 comments

This morning I received a message from Judy Baumann saying she’d finished a quilt based on a monarch butterfly photograph that appeared here last fall and that you see repeated above. My reaction to Judy’s quilt was: Geometry meets lepidoptery. To see that happy geometric metamorphosis, click here and then on the picture of the quilt to enlarge it. Nice going, Judy.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 8, 2018 at 10:15 AM

Now you don’t see it, now you do

with 38 comments

This sawtooth-edged plant is sotol (Dasylirion wheeleri). If you don’t see what else caught people’s attention at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on March 14th, you’re welcome to take more time looking. If you still don’t see it, or if you want more information about it, click to enlarge the explanation on the blackboard below.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 27, 2018 at 4:37 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , , ,

Olive or juniper, take your pick

with 19 comments

Callophrys gryneus is known as an olive hairstreak or juniper hairstreak butterfly. I photographed this one at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on March 14th. The plant is baby blue-eyes (Nemophila phacelioides). Notice the spiral at the tip of the opening bud near the right edge of the picture. If you’d like a much closer look at the butterfly and the flower it’s on, click the excerpt below to zoom in.

UPDATE on the previous post, which dealt with the strange events involving Josiah Wilbarger: On the website of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission I confirmed the surprising identity of the person who did the illustrations for Indian Depredations, including the woodcut of Wilbarger getting scalped. The artist was “T.J. Owen, better known as the author William Sydney Porter (O. Henry).”

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 23, 2018 at 4:46 AM

Yellow in a photograph and yellow implied in words

with 42 comments

Above is a view from below of an Engelmann daisy (Engelmannia peristenia) flower head along Great Northern Blvd. on March 13th. Note the tiny insect, which I don’t remember seeing at the time I took the picture. Maybe we should stop saying “as blind as a bat” and start saying “as blind as a photographer.”

Below is a view from above of some adjacent Engelmann daisies. In both pictures, notice the notch at the tip of each ray flower.

The unrelated “yellow implied in words” that this post’s title alludes to comes from a multiply alliterative sentence in Tom Standage’s 2009 book An Edible History of Humanity, which I’m reading now: “A cultivated field of maize, or any other crop, is as man-made as a microchip, a magazine, or a missile.”

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 18, 2018 at 4:44 AM

New Zealand: the gull below and the gull above

with 30 comments

Here are two portraits of gulls from Cathedral Cove on March 7, 2017. The first gull was down at the level of the cove drinking from a shallow pool formed by water falling from the top of the cliff high above (the second picture in yesterday’s post gives you a sense of how high up that was). The bird was near the edge of the pool, away from the heaviest falling of water. Notice the ripples spreading from a drop’s point of impact, along with a few droplets that had splashed up.

I took the second picture after we’d made the arduous hike back up to the carpark, where I couldn’t help noticing that several gulls were walking or standing on the roofs of cars parked there (no, not ours). This gull was on top of a white car, whose roof largely blended with the clouds when I hunched down a bit and aimed slightly upward to avoid details in the background.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 9, 2018 at 4:50 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , ,

New Zealand: Matapouri

with 36 comments

I took so many pictures on our 2017 trip to New Zealand that I never got the chance to show a lot of them here, especially because we bounded off on a couple of other big scenic trips last year. Over the next four weeks I’ll make amends and fill in some of the gaps with more than two dozen posts. While most of the photographs will show things for the first time, in a few cases you’ll see a different take on a place or thing that appeared here last year.

On the way from the Auckland Airport to Paihia a year ago today (going by the calendar and ignoring the time difference between Texas and New Zealand), we detoured over to Matapouri on the east coast of the North Island so we could get our first good look at the ocean on this new adventure.

At one point I noticed a young gull hunched down on the sand. As I slowly approached, the bird flopped around a little but didn’t fly away. It was injured, as you can see here. Fortunately for it, I wasn’t a dog, cat, ferret, weasel, or stoat. Ah, the benignity of the nature photographer.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 7, 2018 at 4:49 AM

%d bloggers like this: