Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘clouds

Dark lenticular clouds

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On May 24th Jane Lurie put out a post with six photographs. One showed lenticular clouds, and I commented that I’ve hardly ever seen clouds like that in Austin. Two days later I went out in the morning to do some nature pictures on the soggy land in the northeast quadrant of Mopac and US 183. I found plenty of flowers to photograph and quickly got caught up in what I was doing. After maybe half an hour I was startled to hear thunder. When I looked up to the south I saw that the sky had gotten very dark and dramatic clouds had formed, including some I took to be lenticular. (Coincidentally or not, the last time I’d seen clouds like those was in the very same part of Austin.) As I was standing out in the open on wet ground, I figured prudence was the better part of valor and high-tailed it out of there, stopping only briefly to take some pictures of the clouds on my way back to the car.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 27, 2020 at 4:37 AM

Posted in nature photography

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A world turned upside down

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The post’s title may go for our human world, too, but it’s meant for this four-nerve daisy (Tetraneuris sp.) that I found along Q Ranch Rd. on May 2nd. The ray florets in these daisies normally fold back and turn from yellow to white as they age. Whether any of that process happened after the stalk got broken and the flower head was upside down, I don’t know. I do know that the fast-moving clouds and the breeze made lining things up the way I wanted difficult. As a result I took about 30 pictures from various angles, expecting that in at least a few frames both the focus and the composition would come out okay. You’re looking at one that worked for me.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 24, 2020 at 4:43 AM

Bulrushes with wispy clouds

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Austin botanist Bill Carr describes the southern bulrush, Schoenoplectus californicus, as “the tallest of our sedges, forming large dense colonies, vaguely reminiscent of those of cat-tails, in shallow to fairly deep water….” Also called the California bulrush, the species is nevertheless native in Texas and more than a dozen other states. You’re seeing a colony that stands by the pond at the Arbor Walk as it looked on April 15th. By getting low enough and aiming high enough I managed to turn the bulrushes into classy cloud-climbers and also exclude the traffic on Mopac as well as the office buildings on the far side of the expressway.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 22, 2020 at 4:22 AM

Flowering huisache tree on a cloudy day

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I’d gotten to thinking that 2020 was one of those years when the huisache [wee-sáh-chay] trees (Vachellia farnesiana) in my area weren’t going to put out any flowers. Finally on March 16th I noticed some on the two trees I’d been keeping an eye on in my neighborhood. Encouraged, the next day I drove around and found several fully blooming trees in Round Rock. Normally I’d have waited for a clear day to play off the blue of the sky against the saturated yellow-orange of these trees’ flowers, but we’d had weeks of mostly cloudy weather and the forecast was for more of the same. “If you can’t beat them, join them,” so I incorporated clouds into some of my pictures, as you see here.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 20, 2020 at 4:41 AM

New Zealand: our best sunset

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I believe the best sunset on our 2017 New Zealand trip was the one we watched in Napier on March 4th.
The first view is one of the few pictures I’ve ever shown here that includes the moon.

The fiery follow-up came just a minute and a half later, so I assume I aimed in a different direction.

©2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 4, 2020 at 4:38 AM

New Zealand: Crossing the Cook Strait again

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The Cook Strait, named after the adventurous Captain James Cook, separates New Zealand’s two main islands. Three years ago today we rode the Interislander ferry from Picton on the South Island to Wellington on the North Island. The first photograph shows the last rocks the ferry passes as it leaves the South Island and enters the Cook Strait. I took the second photograph out in the strait 12.5 minutes later.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 3, 2020 at 4:31 AM

We had two December 25ths last year

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Unlike most people, Eve and I lived through two December 25ths last year. The first one began in our hotel across from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport in the Philippines, where we boarded a flight for Taipei. The second December 25th began over the Pacific Ocean at the International Date Line during our flight from Taipei to San Francisco. That second December 25th ended in Austin after our third and final flight.

The cloud pictures I took through the plane’s window between the Philippines and Taiwan turned out to be the last photographs of any kind I took on our trip, and so this 22-episode Philippine travelogue comes to an end.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 25, 2020 at 5:49 AM

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