Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘backlit

Silver bluestem seed heads blowing

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November 9; Brushy Creek Lake Park in Cedar Park.
Silver bluestem = Bothriochloa laguroides.
Backlighting; shutter speed = 1/640.

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© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 9, 2020 at 4:36 AM

Cedar elms turning yellow

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A reliable source of autumnal yellow in Austin is the cedar elm tree, Ulmus crassifolia. In the picture above, taken around 4 in the afternoon on November 9th at the Arboretum shopping center, you see some cedar elms whose leaves picked up extra color saturation from the strong backlighting the late-afternoon sun provided. The previous day in Austin’s Jester neighborhood I’d photographed another yellow cedar elm:

I’d also recorded the way a cedar elm’s yellow contrasted with the red
of the flameleaf sumacs (Rhus lanceolata) surrounding it:

As no one has offered a solution to yesterday’s poser, I’ll let it ride at least one more day. The question is what all the following English words have in common beyond the fact that in each of them a vowel letter and a consonant letter alternate.

HIS, SORE, AMEN, PAN, AWE, EMIT, SON, TOWER, HAS, LAX, TOMATO, FAT, SOME, DONOR.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 28, 2020 at 4:36 AM

Two rain-lilies

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Because we didn’t get much rain in Austin this summer we also didn’t get many rain-lilies (Zephyranthes chlorosolen). On August 28th I wandered into southwest Austin for the first time in ages and found myself stopping along Commons Ford Rd. when I saw a stand of cattails by a pond. While walking around the site I happily came across a few rain-lilies and took a bunch of pictures. What I like about this backlit portrait, and what distinguishes it from many others I’ve made of rain-lilies, is the green glow at the bottom.

As a related quotation for today, take Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “The Rainy Day,” with its famous penultimate line:

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

You can also listen to the song from the 1940s by Allan Roberts (lyrics) and Doris Fisher (melody) that bears Longfellow’s aphorism as its title.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 6, 2020 at 4:44 AM

Front- and backlit Lindheimer’s senna pods

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The first photo highlights the outside of a pod; the second, like an x-ray, reveals what’s inside.
These views of Senna lindheimeriana come from October 22 west of Morado Circle.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 19, 2019 at 4:40 AM

Backlit Lindheimer’s senna flower

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Senna lindheimeriana; October 22 west of Morado Circle.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 17, 2019 at 4:28 AM

Velvet gaura backlit

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Velvet gaura (Oenothera curtiflora) is indeed velvety, and never is that more noticeable than when the plant is backlit by a sun not far above the horizon. So stood the sun and even lower stood I at 7:16 in the morning on September 3rd. The location was the Blackland Prairie just east of Lake Pflugerville.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 16, 2019 at 4:45 AM

Backlit flower head of a Texas skeleton plant

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Lygodesmia texana on June 18th along Vaught Ranch Rd. It was the first time I’d ever photographed there.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 20, 2019 at 4:56 AM

Another first appearance here for a wildflower

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Way back on February 18th I found a bunch of stemless evening primroses, Oenothera triloba, flowering in a lot along Balcones Woods Dr. I don’t recall ever photographing (or at least identifying) this species before, so naturally this is its first appearance here. The two things in the first photograph that look rather like chili peppers are buds. Aiming straight down is the stance I least often adopt when doing portraits in nature because so much that’s on the ground around the subject shows up and often distracts from it. In this case it seemed okay because the flower was so much brighter than the leaves and stems below it.

For the second photograph I lay down and aimed sideways to take advantage of the backlighting that rendered the flower translucent and cast the shadows of its inner parts toward me, and now also toward you.

To see the many places in the United States where this species grows, you can check out the USDA map. The scroll bar to the left of the map lets you zoom in to the county level.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 12, 2019 at 4:30 AM

First native spring wildflower

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Click to enlarge.

On January 28th I discovered a colony of flowering anemones, Anemone decapetala, along Talleyran Dr. This is truly a wildflower of the coming season, in contrast to the several holdovers you’ve seen on and off here for the last couple of months. Some anemones are white, others purple, and some a mixture of the two colors, as shown here.

Anemone flowers usually stay close to the ground, so in making my portrait I couldn’t avoid the patchy light beyond this one. At least I managed to keep that patchwork pretty much out of focus.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 30, 2019 at 4:42 AM

Cholla cactus near sundown

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How about this backlit cholla cactus in Tucson Mountain Park near sundown two years ago today?

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 7, 2018 at 5:01 AM

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