Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘animal

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

Posted in nature photography

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Looking and looking back

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When I knelt to photograph a yellow bitterweed flower head (Helenium amarum var. amarum) in Cedar Park on May 6th and looked through my camera’s viewfinder I found a bug staring straight back at me.

If you’re interested in photography as a craft, I used point 11 in About My Techniques to create this image.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 31, 2017 at 4:55 AM

New Zealand: South Island robin

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When we walked along a shaded trail at the Orokonui Ecosanctuary on February 27th we came upon a bird that hopped about and flitted around close to us without seeming afraid. I later learned from head guide Sue Hensley that the bird was a South Island robin, Petroica australis. The behavior we observed is confirmed (and much more information is added) at New Zealand Birds Online: “Where robins are regularly exposed to people, such as along public walking tracks, they become quite confiding, often approaching to within a metre of a person sitting quietly. Juveniles will sometimes stand on a person’s boot.”

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 29, 2017 at 4:56 AM

Posted in nature photography

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The demise of an ant on a snail

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As you heard and saw last time, on the Blackland Prairie in Pflugerville on April 30th I stopped to photograph some dodder (Cuscuta spp.). In one place a small snail had climbed up on a plant that the dodder was attacking. Snails often climb plants here, so that’s not unusual, but when I got close I noticed something I don’t remember ever seeing before: an ant had died on the snail, perhaps caught up and immobilized in the snail’s slime.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 26, 2017 at 4:50 AM

Tumbling flower beetle on American basket-flower

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My first photo stop on May 1st was at the old Merrilltown Cemetery on Burnet Rd., at whose edges in past years I’d photographed plenty of American basket-flowers, Centaurea americana. Though it was still early in the season, a few basket-flowers had opened, and on one of them I found this tumbling flower beetle.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 22, 2017 at 5:00 AM

New Zealand: variable oystercatchers

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Driving north from Thames on March 6th along the eastern shore of the Firth of Thames, I stopped to photograph a colony of birds whose bills were conspicuously long and orange. I later learned that the birds were variable oystercatchers, Haematopus unicolor, and that the species is endemic to New Zealand. If many of the oystercatchers look as if they were turning away from me, they were, because even with a long lens I’d approached the limit of their comfort. Nevertheless, I did manage to get closer to a few more-tolerant birds, like this one:

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 20, 2017 at 3:55 AM

Euphoria on a Texas thistle

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In a comment yesterday on the recent post showing plants flowering on the Blackland Prairie, Lisa asked whether I had a closeup of a Texas thistle. I answered that I might show a current picture of one in the days ahead. Now let me be more decisive, take the thistle by the thorns*, and post a photograph I took on May 6th of a Cirsium texanum in Cedar Park. Burrowing euphorically into the flower head was a Euphoria kernii beetle.

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* Technically speaking, a thistle has spines or prickles rather than thorns, but you wouldn’t want me to pass up a good alliterative alternative to “take the bull by the horns,” would you?

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 11, 2017 at 4:46 AM

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