Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘death

More from nature on December 25, 2018

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Here are more things I encountered west of Morado Circle on the morning of December 25, 2018.
It’s not unusual to find a hole in the pad of a prickly pear cactus (Opuntia engelmannii).

Look at the complexity in the dense branches of a dead Ashe juniper tree (Juniperus ashei).
Some seed-capsule-bearing limbs of a Mexican buckeye tree (Ungnadia speciosa) reached in from behind.

Why this patch on the top surface of an otherwise dark rock was so light, I don’t know.

The bright fruits of a yaupon tree (Ilex vomitoria) in front of
an Ashe juniper may strike you as appropriate for the date.

And look at the wireweed that had sprouted in the power lines overhead.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 28, 2019 at 4:57 AM

A dramatic view from Guadalupe Mountains National Park

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On this date two years ago, the next-to-the-last day of our grand trip through the southwestern part of the United States that you’ve been seeing pictures from, we reached Guadalupe Mountains National Park in west Texas. We hoped to see some fall foliage but we arrived so late and the weather was so gloomy that we abandoned that idea. Instead I offer you this view from there with Apache plume (Fallugia paradoxa) in the foreground and a dead tree, a mountain, and dark clouds beyond it. The Apache plume tufts show you which way the wind blew.

As we continued on to New Mexico, the dark clouds played a role in the dramatic sunset you saw here early last year.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 9, 2018 at 4:48 AM

Life and death in Saguaro National Park

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Behold a fishhook barrel cactus (Ferocactus wislizenii) in the eastern sector of Tucson’s Saguaro National Park as we saw it two years ago today:

Hardy as desert plants are, they all eventually meet their demise. Here’s what a barrel cactus look like then:

Oh, all right, it was Saguaro National Park, so I guess I’ll have to show you a saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea). This one had two particularly enfolding “arms”:

And here are the stately remains of a saguaro with upraised “arms”:

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 8, 2018 at 4:49 AM

Sunday sunset 3

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On each of the four Sundays in January you’re seeing sunset pictures from the state whose license plates praise it as the Land of Enchantment. This photograph of a silhouetted dead tree is from June 10, 2017, at Camel Rock, 11 miles north of Santa Fe.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 21, 2018 at 4:57 AM

Intricate roots of a fallen tree

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Glacier National Park, Montana; August 31.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 15, 2017 at 4:53 AM

Bastrop burned tree remains

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Bastrop State Park. August 11. Remains of the horrendous forest fire of 2011.

If you’re interested in the craft of photography, points 3, 14, 18, and 19 in About My Techniques pertain to this picture.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 21, 2017 at 4:48 AM

Death camas

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On May 29th atop Scott’s Bluff National Monument in Nebraska I found no shortage of Zigandenus venenosus flowers. You can recognize that the scientific species name means ‘poisonous.’ The common name death camas is no exaggeration, as people have died from eating the various species of this pretty wildflower. And speaking of the genus Zigadenus, a few of you may remember that I belatedly showed an Austin species back in 2015.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 29, 2017 at 5:00 AM

A wasp dragging a spider

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Along the Muir Lake Trail in Cedar Park on July 3rd I noticed a colorful and energetic wasp dragging a spider that it had immobilized. When I stepped closer to try to take a photograph the wasp went away, but I took a stance at a medium distance from the spider and waited for the wasp to return. It came and went several times, continuing with its task each time, and I managed to get some sharply focused pictures in spite of the frequent movement.

UPDATE: Thanks to John S. Ascher at BugGuide.net, I can now say this predator appears to be Tachypompilus ferrugineus, known as the rusty spider wasp, red-tailed spider hunter, or red-tailed spider wasp.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 23, 2017 at 4:45 AM

The demise of an ant on a snail

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As you heard and saw last time, on the Blackland Prairie in Pflugerville on April 30th I stopped to photograph some dodder (Cuscuta spp.). In one place a small snail had climbed up on a plant that the dodder was attacking. Snails often climb plants here, so that’s not unusual, but when I got close I noticed something I don’t remember ever seeing before: an ant had died on the snail, perhaps caught up and immobilized in the snail’s slime.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 26, 2017 at 4:50 AM

Mexican hat seed head remains

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mexican-hat-seed-head-remains-1523

Two posts back you saw an early stage in the disintegration of a sensitive briar inflorescence. Now, from the greenbelt off Taylor Draper Lane on October 7th, here’s a much later stage of a different species, Mexican hat (Ratibida columnifera). If you’d like a reminder of what a fresh Mexican hat flower head looks like, you can revisit a post from 2014.

To get greater depth of field and keep more details in focus than would have been possible with natural light alone, I added flash. That mixture of light sources accounts for the sky looking darker than normal.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 15, 2016 at 5:00 AM

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