Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘dune

Aotearoa comes to Padre Island

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June 2nd was the first night we spent away from home in the two-and-a-quarter years since the pandemic hit. We drove 200 miles south from Austin to see the sea, or more properly the Gulf of Mexico, which is a branch of the Atlantic Ocean. Our first nature stop on the coast was the Padre Island National Seashore, where both of these dune scenes reminded me of Aotearoa, the Māori name for New Zealand that supposedly means ‘the land of the long white cloud.’ I took these pictures two minutes apart, and although a long white cloud inhabits each one, I went for different photographic treatments.



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Speaking of places with beaches, in a feature that aired on September 27, 2021, Sharyl Attkisson looked at the potential Puerto Rico has to supply pharmaceuticals domestically and thereby lessen the heavy dependence of the United States on foreign countries, most notably China, for our medicines. The nine-minute video focuses on two immigrants, one from Viet Nam and the other from the Dominican Republic, who are opening a pharmaceutical plant in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Credit also goes to the mayor of that town, who shortened the process of getting all the required approvals down to a single day from what would typically take a year (why?!). Have a look.

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 7, 2022 at 4:33 AM

New Zealand: mountains of sand

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To meld last month’s Monday mountain meme with the moment’s New Zealand retrospective (and Lincoln’s birthday, for that matter), here from February 14, 2017 (which adds Valentine’s Day), are two mountains of sand we saw at the Te Paki dunes way up north near the tip of New Zealand’s North Island. The first of the two photographs, while a more-conventional landscape view, might make you doubt the location and think you’re at an oasis in the Middle East or North Africa. You may also be surprised to hear that a stream runs from right to left between the vegetation and the tall dune. This is New Zealand, after all, a land of lots of rain.

The other picture is a closer and more-abstract view that emphasizes the rippled patterns in the sand elsewhere in the dunes. If you’d like, you can contrast it with the scalloped sand on the level dune that represented Te Paki here last year.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 12, 2018 at 4:46 AM

New Zealand: my first substantial sand dunes

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On our way to Tāne Mahuta on February 12th (which schoolchildren in the United States once knew as Lincoln’s Birthday), we drove along S.H. 12 through Opononi and nearby Omapere. The road in that area followed the southern shore of Hokianga Harbour, and as we approached the Tasman Sea I saw on the other side of the esturary the first substantial sand dunes of the trip. Unfortunately there was no easy way to get to them, and contact with large dunes would have to wait a couple of days.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 30, 2017 at 5:02 AM

New Zealand: pīngao

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On February 13th we visited the Puheke Reserve on the northern shore of the Karikari Peninsula in the Northland region of New Zealand. My attention was soon drawn to a plant that on the whole grew toward the sea even as individual tufts tended to curl back in the opposite direction. The best I can tell, the plant is pīngao, a sedge that botanists classify as Ficinia spiralis. It’s endemic to New Zealand but animal grazing and the spread of a non-native grass have continued to curtail this sedge’s historical range.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 23, 2017 at 4:43 AM

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