Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘autumn

From Muhlenberg to Kulmbacher

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In far north Austin on November 19th I drove into a still-under-construction subdivision that already had fully paved streets with signposts showing their names. On Kulmbacher Drive I parked and walked over to check out a pond. A few dense stands of bare plants that I took to be slenderpod sesbania (Sesbania herbacea) caught my attention, and now they can catch yours. Do you see, as I do, a resemblance to the Muhlenbergia that I’d photographed the previous day? And in case you’re wondering about the many little white dots in the lower half of the picture, they’re asters that were happily flowering their heads off.

The last post told about the Muhlenberg that Muhlenbergia was named for. Kulmbacher in German means a person from Kulmbach. Who the Kulmbacher was or is that the Austin street refers to eludes me. Also eluding me was the egret you see below between two poverty weed bushes.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 30, 2019 at 4:43 AM

Two stages on the same date

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On November 11 we visited the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. By that date the wildflower known as gayfeather and blazing star (Liatris punctata var. mucronata) has normally long since gone to seed and turned fluffy, as shown above. The plant below apparently didn’t get the word, because it was freshly flowering.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 19, 2019 at 4:48 AM

Riata Trace Pond in autumn

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On November 15th the Riata Trace Pond in northwest Austin had taken on an autumnal look. Above you see the feathery stage of poverty weed (Baccharis neglecta), and below the fluffy stage of goldenrod (Solidago sp.).

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 13, 2019 at 4:34 AM

Two views of flameleaf sumac

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Longtime visitors here know that central Texas is too warm to get the kind of fall foliage that colder parts of the country are famous for. That said, we do get some autumn color, and one reliable source of it is the aptly named flameleaf sumac, Rhus lanceolata. On November 9th I spent time on part of the Brushy Creek Regional Trail in Cedar Park, where I made the two flameleaf sumac pictures in today’s post.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 10, 2019 at 4:40 AM

The golden hour

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Landscape photographers talk about the golden hour, the first hour after sunrise or the last before sunset, when the light is soft and warm. The late afternoon of October 31st found us about 110 miles west-southwest of Austin, in Kerrville, where I worked quickly to take advantage of the golden hour’s last rays to photograph bald cypress trees (Taxodium distichum) along the Guadalupe River. Minutes later the light was gone. For a closer look at the bases of the trees, click the icon below.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 25, 2019 at 4:44 AM

Rain-lilies in autumn

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On October 19th I drove to Pease Park for an ecologically oriented walking tour. As soon as I parked I noticed some rain-lilies, Cooperia drummondii, by the edge of the road, and because I was a bit early for the walk I had the chance to get down and make some portraits. Here’s one that shows a colorful flower:

While wandering west of Morado Circle three days later I found fresh rain-lilies still coming up.
The one shown below lacked the magenta that increases as the flower ages.
Click each photograph for greater detail.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 21, 2019 at 4:42 AM

More from Doeskin Ranch

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The seed heads of little bluestem grass (Schizachyrium scoparium) that played a supporting role in the prior post’s second photograph from the Doeskin Ranch on November 24th last fall were so densely yummy that I feel I owe you a picture of them in their own right:

Near an isolated little bluestem I found a milkweed pod (Asclepias spp.) releasing its silk-attached seeds. Notice the bright red-orange nymph, presumably of a milkweed bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus).

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 13, 2019 at 4:30 AM

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Not snow

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A first glance may make you think you’re seeing a dusting of snow, but no: it was fluff from cattails (Typha spp.) and goldenrod (Solidago altissima) that had settled indiscriminately over all the nearby plants at the Arbor Walk Pond on December 3rd. This is another good example of point 15 in About My Techniques.

Below is a closer and darker take on a clump of cattail seed fluff that had fallen onto a dry goldenrod plant.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 7, 2019 at 4:44 AM

Pointillism in red

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The manifold fruits made manifest in Texas by the dropping of the leaves on the possumhaw trees (Ilex decidua) toward the end of fall are a pointillist pleasure. I’ve usually waited till January each year to go out scouting for fruit along what I’ve nicknamed the Possumhaw Trail, the stretch of TX 29 between Liberty Hill and Burnet. With others’ reports and my own observations of good fruit already by late November of 2018, we did the drive on December 15th. The densest specimen we found was the one shown here a little west of Bertram. Note that while some leaves remained on the tree, they were turning pale and wouldn’t linger.

Photographically speaking, this picture exemplifies point 15 in About My Techniques.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 3, 2019 at 4:44 AM

What is that?

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That’s what we wondered at the Doeskin Ranch on November 24th after Eve spotted this strange thing and waited for me to catch up from my picture-taking so she could point it out. I’d read about insects that cover themselves with objects to act as camouflage, and that’s what appeared to have happened here. To learn the specifics, I turned to local expert Val Bugh, who identified this as “a bagworm moth case (Psychidae). Our big species here is Oiketicus abbotii (if I’m correct in estimating your example is about 2 inches long [she was correct] — the small species are less than half as big). This bag is empty and the exuviae is sticking out the bottom, indicating a male eclosed and flew off. The females never leave their sac.”

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 29, 2018 at 4:39 AM

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