Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘death

Swirly, wispy, fleecy clouds

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Thanks to a tip from Jason Frels, on the morning of May 29th Eve and drove some 25 minutes north to  Leander, a fast-growing suburb of Austin, so we could go walking for the first time in Benbrook Ranch Park. The swirly and wispy clouds that accompanied us the whole time kept changing and forming intricate designs that enticed me to take lots of pictures of them in their own right, as shown above. I also welcomed the chance to play other things off against them, like the dead tree below.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 5, 2020 at 4:31 AM

The cemetery in Sibonga

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Sibonga*, on the east coast of Cebu, is Eve’s home town. On none of my previous trips had I gone to the town’s cemetery, but on the morning of December 15th we walked over there for a visit. From my time in Honduras I’d learned that cemeteries in poor countries are likely to be very different from those in the United States and other wealthy countries, so what I found in Sibonga didn’t surprise me. It may, however, surprise you or even disturb you. With that caveat, here’s a photo essay showing parts of Sibonga’s cemetery.

The boy shown below cutting off coconuts in a tree at the edge of the cemetery seemed an early candidate for membership as he stood barefoot on the tops of two metal poles to which electric wires were attached.

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* Most languages have at least the five vowels [a], [e], [i], [o], and [u]. Cebuano is unusual in that it reduces that basic set to three vowels: a native speaker doesn’t distinguish between [e] and [i], nor between [o] and [u]. As a result, in spite of the spelling Sibonga, people pronounce the name as if it were Sibunga.

Also notice the strange fact that although the inhabitants of the Philippines speak their various native languages almost all the time, when it comes to signs, posters, billboards, and even to tombstones, the large majority of those are written in English. Some of today’s pictures provide examples of that.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 17, 2020 at 4:51 AM

Enchanted Rock, part 3

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You’ve already seen trees as secondary subjects in the first two parts of this series about Enchanted Rock.

Today’s post plays up some of the dead and dying trees we saw there in abundance on November 1st.

You’ll notice ball moss, Tillandsia recurvata, on many of the branches.

Not a true moss but an epiphyte in the Bromeliad plant family,
ball moss can live quite well even on inanimate objects,
and that fact proves that it isn’t parasitic.

Even in the presence of death, new life arises.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 3, 2019 at 4:45 AM

Dead trees

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On November 1st we were heading north from Kerrville on TX 16 when I caught a glimpse of a solitary dead tree and went back to check it out. Once there, I looked in the opposite direction and noticed other dead trees that leaned in strange directions. They reminded me of scragglier and therefore pictorially more interesting dead trees that had fascinated me at Mesa Verde in 2014.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 27, 2019 at 4:41 AM

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Green triangularity times two

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At least twice in the past month I’ve photographed plants that I noticed growing in the approximate shape of a triangle (at least as a two-dimensional photograph renders them). The first came on August 24th, when a mustang grape vine, Vitis mustangensis, that had covered the broken remains of a dead tree caught my fancy at Parmer Lane and Blue Bluff Rd. south of Manor. A greenbrier vine, Smilax bona-nox, had also climbed onto the mound; that accounts for the yellow-orange leaves near the photograph’s bottom edge.

I photographed the other green triangle on September 7th at the base of a cliff along Bull Creek near Spicewood Springs Rd. Even during a drought the rocks still seeped enough water to support some southern maidenhair ferns, Adiantum capillus-veneris. I don’t know what the mixed-in plant species are.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 18, 2019 at 4:43 AM

Dead tree trunks and limbs at Watkins Glen

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Here’s a view taken at 1/15 of a second showing a waterfall in Watkins Glen State Park in New York’s Finger Lakes region on July 30th. The photographer in me was happy that the dead tree trunk had lodged where you see it in spite of the force of the falling water.

Smaller and whiter dead tree limbs also attracted me.

They played off the rock strata in the gorge and contrasted with the living plants around them.

Even before I’d seen any water at Watkins Glen, falling or otherwise, the shadows on a broken but still standing tree trunk along the trail from the parking lot to the gorge caught my attention:

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 13, 2019 at 4:39 AM

Reptile-textured tree stump remains

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This reptile-textured tree stump fascinated me in
John Bryan State Park near Yellow Springs, Ohio, on July 21.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 2, 2019 at 4:49 AM

Back to Bastrop

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June 6th this year was both D-Day and B-Day. No, not a birthday, but a trip back to Bastrop after not having visited the state park there for several years. Go around as we would, in no place were we not reminded of the devastating 2011 fire that burned for weeks and destroyed 90% of the pine trees.

Still, there was plenty of life. Look at all the greenery around that strangely burned tree trunk.
And look at this little orb-weaver spider in the genus Argiope:

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 15, 2019 at 4:50 PM

Floresville City Cemetery #2

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The fourth wildflower-covered burial ground we visited last month was the Floresville City Cemetery #2. Below you’ll see how it looked on March 27th. The red flowers are Indian paintbrushes, Castilleja indivisa, and the yellow are Nueces coreopsis, Coreopsis nuecensis. The white daisies may be in the genus Aphanostephus.

In the second photograph you can pick out several cream-colored paintbrushes. They’re not a different species, just a normal variant that springs up from time to time. Notice the misspelling of Floresville on James Gray’s tombstone. The flowers themselves are not misspelled. (UPDATE: I’ve found out a little more about the James Gray featured in the second picture.)

In some places sandyland bluebonnets (Lupinus subcarnosus) entered the mix.

Different color combinations prevailed in different places.

© Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 4, 2019 at 4:37 AM

Categorically phantasmasepulchrofloragorical*

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On March 21st, three days after spending time at the wildflower-covered cemetery in New Berlin, we reveled in the Sand Branch Cemetery on FM 2504 west of Poteet in Atascosa County. This time the dense wildflowers were even more widespread than before.

The first photograph sets the scene, while the second and third emphasize the way some of the tombstones were engulfed in a sea of wildflowers.

The other two pictures highlight the profuse wildflowers in their own right.

The red flowers are Indian paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa). The yellows are Nueces coreopsis (Coreopsis nuecensis) and also some sort of daisy with a smaller flower head.

The purplish blue flowers are sandyland bluebonnets (Lupinus subcarnosus). The magenta flowers are a species of Phlox. The whites are white prickly poppies (Argemone albiflora) and a kind of smallish daisy.

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* I’d come up with sepulchrofloral while preparing this post and Susan Scheid independently created phantasmafloragorical to describe the previous cemetery views, so I hybridized the two hybrids.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 28, 2019 at 4:43 AM

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