Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘animal

A tiny fly on narrowleaf penstemon flowers

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It was late in the afternoon on May 28th and the wind had picked up at the top of Scott’s Bluff National Monument in western Nebraska. Concentrating on the tiny fly that became my subject once I noticed it, I had to let most of the flowers fade out of focus in order for the fly to stay sharp. The flowers are Penstemon angustifolius, called narrowleaf penstemon or narrowleaf beardtongue. Call the photographer Nimbletongue Beardface and you might not be far wrong.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 2, 2017 at 5:00 AM

A wasp dragging a spider

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Along the Muir Lake Trail in Cedar Park on July 3rd I noticed a colorful and energetic wasp dragging a spider that it had immobilized. When I stepped closer to try to take a photograph the wasp went away, but I took a stance at a medium distance from the spider and waited for the wasp to return. It came and went several times, continuing with its task each time, and I managed to get some sharply focused pictures in spite of the frequent movement.

UPDATE: Thanks to John S. Ascher at BugGuide.net, I can now say this predator appears to be Tachypompilus ferrugineus, known as the rusty spider wasp, red-tailed spider hunter, or red-tailed spider wasp.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 23, 2017 at 4:45 AM

More than petroglyphs

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I photographed more than petroglyphs at Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque on June 13th. Presumably to avoid the heat of the sun, this squirrel kept scrunching itself down into some of the narrow shadows cast by a picnic shelter.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 19, 2017 at 4:46 AM

A striking snake, or one that might become so

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At the Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in Nebraska on May 29th Eve heard a sound and then saw, menacingly close, a rattlesnake at the edge of the path we were walking on. After taking pictures of it, including this one that clearly shows the upraised rattle, I phoned the visitor center and had the staff warn people who were headed out along the same path.

From what I can tell after reading Venomous Snakes and Snakebite in Nebraska, this appears to have been a prairie rattlesnake, Crotalus viridis.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 14, 2017 at 5:02 AM

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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