Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘Austin

Like a green snake in the water

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The sinuous algae you see here looked to me on July 25th, and still today, like a green snake in the water of Bull Creek. Notice the tiny aquatic insects. The leaf may be from a cedar elm tree (Ulmus crassifolia).

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 15, 2017 at 4:37 AM

Strange white stuff

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Finding sycamore trees (Platanus occidentalis) along creeks in Austin is commonplace. When I looked at this sycamore leaf along Bull Creek on July 25th I saw something I’d noticed once before, years earlier, but had never tracked down. Val Bugh came to the rescue this time: “the white stuff is a secretion that a female dobsonfly uses to cover her egg masses. Makes them look like bird droppings. The leaf should be over water so the hatchling hellgrammites will drop in.”

Me, I can’t help thinking the Hellgrammites were once a religious sect of the fire-and-brimstone type. In fact the American Heritage Dictionary says that the first part of the word probably is indeed hell, based on the insect’s painful bite. And we remember the old adage that hell hath no fury like a female dobsonfly scorned.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 3, 2017 at 4:40 AM

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Cardinal flowers

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I hadn’t seen any cardinal flowers (Lobelia cardinalis) for several years when I discovered one plant flowering right at the edge of Bull Creek on August 14th. (I found one more when I went to Great Hills Park on August 21 to photograph my colanderized eclipse.)

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 1, 2017 at 5:04 AM

The shallow water shimmered as it flowed

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Bull Creek; July 25th. The darkened leaf is from a sycamore tree, Platanus occidentalis.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 28, 2017 at 5:01 AM

A buttonbush flower globe

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It’s been a long time since I showed you a buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) flower globe, so here’s one from the edge of Bull Creek on 7/25. Throw in the 24 hours that made up that day, and you’ve got a 7-24-25 right triangle: 7 x 7 + 24 x 24 = 25 x 25. The arithmetic smells as fragrant as these flowers (and Google once again thinks that’s a unique statement).

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 26, 2017 at 4:55 AM

Eclipse eclipsed

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My tentative plans to see the full solar eclipse today were eclipsed by the exorbitant prices hotels were charging for rooms in and near the band of totality. Last night my friend H.J. told me that a colander would act as a multiple pinhole camera and cast little images of crescent suns rather than circular ones on the ground during Austin’s limited eclipse. Colander in hand, I walked into Great Hills Park a little before the 1:10 time of our maximum partial eclipse so I could do some experiments. Sure enough, at 12:58 I got the crescent suns you see here.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 21, 2017 at 3:53 PM

How could I show you one without the other?

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That is, show you pearl milkweed flowers (Matelea reticulata) without also showing you one of the vine’s pods. By June 22nd this one had already split open and was beginning to release its seeds, each attached to a bit of aeronautical fluff. I followed suit and attached not fluff but a flash to my camera because the area wasn’t bright enough for me to get all the important details in focus without an extra helping of light.

By the way, the shiny fibers attached to the seeds explain why an alternate name for milkweed is silkweed.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 13, 2017 at 4:48 AM

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