Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘Austin

Two rain-lilies touching

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Two rain-lilies (Cooperia drummondii) touching along Balcones Woods Drive in Austin on July 1st.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 10, 2017 at 4:55 AM

July 4th

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July 4th is my birthday. It always has been. While I could commemorate the date by showing you one picture for each birthday I’ve had, I think you’ll agree that would be too onerous for me and certainly for you. Instead, let me focus on the 4 in today’s date and show you four pictures I took in the southern part of Great Hills Park on June 23rd. The first thing that caught my attention, just beyond the metal railing along the sidewalk on that side of Floral Park Drive, was the dense display of Clematis drummondii flowers. Like pale yellow-green stars in a floral firmament they were.

Then I wandered steeply down to the shaded bank of the creek that flows through that section of the park. The creek had mostly dried up, which is common in the heat of the Texas summer. Some water remained pooled up in one small part of the creek bed, and on the surface of the stagnating pool I saw a dry leaf, apparently that of a mustang grape, Vitis mustangensis. Several grapes had fallen in that area and one of them miraculously lay on top of the little raft that the leaf had become for it. Even when the leaf shifted slightly in its floating, the grape didn’t roll off.

When I finished taking pictures of the de facto raft, I noticed on the far bank of the creek, which lay lit up by lambent sunlight, what I feel compelled to call glaucous glop. Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it, at least photographically.

After I walked a minute or so downstream from the glaucous glop, I came across a shed snake skin on a mostly dried-out portion of the creek bed. The snake skin had been rent into several parts that remained near one another. The tail end, shown here, lay flattened onto a level portion of the creek bed. A little piece of dry Ashe juniper, Juniperus ashei, conveniently delineated the wider end of that segment.

Following suit, this sentence conveniently delineates the end of my July 4th tetralogy. Except that I’m adding a sentence to say that if you can slip the words lambent, delineate and tetralogy into a conversation today, it’ll be a fine birthday present for a lover of words.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 4, 2017 at 12:01 AM

The background moves to the foreground

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The white in the background at the top of yesterday’s photograph came from the rocky cliffs along Capital of Texas Highway north of FM 2222. The most recent cliff faces were formed about 40 years ago when the roadbed was cut through for the highway.

In the four decades since then, the forces of rain, seep water, gravity, wind, sun, bacteria, and no doubt other things have been at work in some places to alter the vertical face of the exposed rocks. This post shows three of those textured areas as they looked on June 19th.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 30, 2017 at 5:00 AM

Yellow before pink

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While several of the mountain pinks along Capital of Texas Highway on June 19th were white, most of the plants had flowers of their usual color. A few were vibrant, including the ones shown here that I used as the middle ground against which to play off this square-bud primrose flower, Calylophus berlandieri. The stigma in these flowers can be yellow, as here, or black, as I showed a couple of years ago.

UPDATE: the latest botanical classification for the square-bud primrose is Oenothera capillifolia subsp. capillifolia.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 29, 2017 at 4:54 AM

When pink is white

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Last June, after arriving home from a sight-filled trip to the Chicago area, I wondered if it was too late for the season’s mountain pinks (Centaurium beyrichii) back in Austin. It wasn’t, as I showed in a post entitled “I would have missed them if I’d missed them.” This year, after we returned from our latest American road odyssey, I wondered the same thing. On June 21st I went out to check the likely places along Capital of Texas Highway, which swings a big arc through the hilly country on the west side of Austin. Although I found the expected mountain pinks, they looked a bit past their prime, or possibly 2017 was a meager year for them. Still, I did take some pictures, and while I was doing so a young Chinese guy walked by and asked if I’d seen the naturally white variant of mountain pinks nearby. When I asked where, he pointed and said they were about a hundred feet down the road. He walked on, and I went in the opposite direction, to the place he’d indicated. Sure enough, I found several mountain pink plants with white flowers.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 28, 2017 at 4:00 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

Texas bindweed flower and tendril

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From April 13th in Great Hills Park, the picture above gives you a downward look at a Texas bindweed flower, Convolvulus equitans. Plants in the genus Convolvulus do indeed convolve, as confirmed by the photograph below, which shows a questing Texas bindweed tendril wrapping itself around some prairie verbena flowers, Glandularia bipinnatifida.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 6, 2017 at 4:50 AM

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