Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘California

Skull rock

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A popular formation at Joshua Tree National Park is Skull Rock. This photograph from November 5th, 2016, shows you the pareidolic reason the boulder is called what it is.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 4, 2017 at 4:59 AM

California and Texas

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With about 39 million people, California is the most populous state in the United States. Texas comes in second with around 28 million people. Both are still strongly growing.

When it comes to physical size, the order is reversed. Texas is the nation’s second largest state, covering almost 268,600 square miles, while California ranks third at close to 163,700 square miles. Alaska is larger than those two combined, with an area of some 663,000 square miles, but that enormous—and enormously cold—state claims only 740,000 inhabitants, or roughly 230,000 less than the city of Austin.

I’ve never set foot in Alaska, and most of the pictures on this blog have been from Texas, so here come another two photographs from California. The first shows Pacific Ocean waves breaking at Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve on November 4th last year.

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Click for larger size.

A nearby look in a different direction revealed waves of sand.

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 1, 2017 at 4:51 AM

Above and below at Morro Bay

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The wispy clouds above Morro Rock in California on the morning of November 4th, 2016, appealed to me.

At the same time, down below, I saw what I take to be a western gull, Larus occidentalis.

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© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 30, 2017 at 5:04 AM

White veins

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At California’s Muir Beach on November 1st of last year the white veins in some of the rocks intrigued me.

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© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 28, 2017 at 5:00 AM

Duncan’s Cove

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After visiting a wet Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve on October 27th last year, we drove over to get a look at the Pacific Ocean. The hazy view shown here greeted us in the Duncan’s Cove section of Sonoma Coast State Park. Looking lower and much less far away, I noticed some grass that had dried out but now had raindrops on it. Getting down at its level, I made this impressionistic picture of the wet grass:

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“Impressionistic” doubles as a self-serving way of saying there was so little light I couldn’t get much in focus at such a close distance.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 26, 2017 at 4:16 AM

Like a long mound of orange spaghetti

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Driving south along California’s scenic Highway 1 on November 3rd last year, we stopped at Carmel River State Beach, where I found this drying mound of seaweed that made me think of orange spaghetti. You’d have seen it that way too, wouldn’t you?

I take this to be a kelp, possibly Macrocystis pyrifera. Click the icon below to zoom in for some yummy details.

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 23, 2017 at 5:00 AM

Finally a redwood

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After teasing you here with pictures from redwood preserves, first the Armstrong Grove and then Muir Woods, I’m finally providing a clear shot of a California redwood tree, Sequoia sempervirens, from Big Basin Redwoods State Park on October 31. This species produces the tallest trees in the world, even if in today’s photo you’re looking only at the base of one. I was attracted by the way the orange patches on the redwood’s trunk, along with the dry redwood leaves fallen on the ground, contrasted not only with the green of the moss on the tree but also and even more so with the greater greenery of the forest beyond.

Click below to zoom in on the orange area.

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© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 20, 2017 at 4:40 AM

Great blue heron on the Pacific coast

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I’ve seen an occasional great blue heron (Ardea herodias) in Austin, but the closest I ever got to one was at Muir Beach on the Pacific coast of California on November 1st of last year. Why the bird let me get so close, I don’t know, but I wonder if my being downhill from it made me seem less threatening. From a photographer’s point of view, my lower position let me aim upward enough to isolate the heron’s head and neck against the sky.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 17, 2017 at 4:56 AM

Cottontop cactus

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When I got out of my car for the first time in California’s Joshua Tree National Park on November 5th last year and walked into the desert a short distance, I soon caught sight of this red cactus, the likes of which I’d never seen. Neil Frakes, Vegetation Branch Chief at the park, later identified it as Echinocactus polycephalus, known as the cottontop cactus. Even if there was no cotton at this stage, the red was rich reward enough.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 15, 2017 at 4:57 AM

California sunflowers

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Outside the visitor center at the John Muir National Historic Site on November 2, 2016, I couldn’t help noticing a tall, bushy plant that I later learned is a California sunflower, Helianthus californicus, a species I hadn’t even known exists. Below is a closer look at one of its flower heads. Those of you in the depths of winter could probably use a dose of cheery yellow ‘long about now.

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© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 11, 2017 at 4:57 AM

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