Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘cattails

Cattails in sunrise light

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After the fog dissipated on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin on the morning of December 22nd
last year, I turned my attention to making pictures of dry cattails (Typha sp.) in golden-hour light.

Is there anyone who doesn’t like the way cattail seed heads shed their fluff?
The prominent arcs in the photograph below seemed especially graceful
(though I didn’t look graceful lying on the ground to get that picture).

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 6, 2021 at 4:32 AM

Late-in-the-year scenes along Brushy Creek

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On December 17th we walked a section of Brushy Creek in far north Austin that was new to us. In the first picture you see how the slender leaves of a black willow tree (Salix nigra) had turned yellow and fallen onto the creek’s surface next to a colony of cattail plants (Typha domingensis), some fresh and others dried out. Nearby it was dead cattails that did the falling:

The image below shows dry goldenrod plants (Solidago sp.)
on the creek bank by dense tangles of vines and now-bare branches.

If you’re interested in the art and craft of photography, point 15 in About My Techniques pertains to all three of the pictures in today’s post. And if you’d like to go off on a bit of a maximalist tangent, you can check out Victorian interiors and certain modern décor.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 29, 2020 at 4:41 AM

Filling the frame on a sunny afternoon

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Here’s to expressing complexity explicitly: on the sunny but cool and breezy afternoon of December 3rd I made this fill-the-frame or more-is-more view showing a forest of bare stalks and dry cattails (Typha domingensis) at a pond along Kulmbacher Drive in far north Austin. The stalks might have been the remains of giant ragweed (Ambrosia trifida), or perhaps of the slenderpod sesbania (Sesbania herbacea) you saw in pictures from the same pond last year.

And here’s a relevant quotation: “Abandon the urge to simplify everything, to look for formulas and easy answers, and begin to think multidimensionally, to glory in the mystery and paradoxes of life, not to be dismayed by the multitude of causes and consequences that are inherent in each experience—to appreciate the fact that life is complex.” ― M. Scott Peck, Further Along the Road Less Traveled, 1993.

In searching the Internet for a quotation about complexity, I found this one often misquoted, with an extra to inserted, creating the phrase “…and to begin to think multidimensionally….” That’s wrong because it makes “to begin to think multidimensionally” a third thing we should abandon the urge to do, after the urge to simplify and the urge to look for formulas and easy answers. Somebody accidentally inserted the extra to, and since then many people on the internet have propagated the mistake.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 27, 2020 at 4:30 AM

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

The advantage of a vantage point

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Cattail Seed Heads Turned Fluffy 5845

If I got low to the ground and looked down to portray the southern dewberry flower you saw last time, I’d lain on the ground a few minutes earlier on February 22nd and aimed upward enough to align these cattails (Typha domingensis) with the cumulus clouds overhead while excluding the power lines and buildings adjacent to the Arbor Walk Pond that hosted these plants. The central cattail reminded me of Auckland’s Sky Tower, which I visited in February of 2015.

Below is a closer look at one of the unraveling cattails. This time I was standing and aimed slightly downward to bring in the pond but keep out the buildings on its far side. All those segments beyond the cattail were bulrushes.

Cattail Turned Fluffy by Bulrushes 5732

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 5, 2016 at 5:08 AM

Cattails by pond at dawn

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Pond and Cattails at Sunrise 1104

Twice in the fall of 2014 I pulled a Steve Gingold by going out in the dark before dawn to places where I could get in position for daybreak. Last year I showed a picture from the first of those two sessions but none from the other. Here, then, on the one-year anniversary of that second dawn expedition, is a photograph taken at a pond on the eastern side of Buda, a rapidly growing town south-southwest of Austin. Cattails (Typha domingensis) stood between the water and me.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 27, 2015 at 5:36 AM

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