Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘flower

Truncated and therefore asymmetric abstraction of a prickly pear cactus bud and flower

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Here’s an abstract portrait of a bud and flower of a Texas prickly pear, Opuntia engelmannii var. lindheimeri, along floral Park Dr. in my neighborhood on April 7th.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 29, 2017 at 4:38 AM

What f/2.8 will get you

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A large aperture of f/2.8 will get you a soft portrait like this one of a rain-lily bud (Cooperia pedunculata) on Floral Park Dr. in my neighborhood on April 1st.

I threw away many of the pictures I took of this bud because I hadn’t managed to get enough in focus to please me. In this frame I was surprised that I got good focus not only on the nearest surface of the bud but also on the tip of the maroon sheath.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 14, 2017 at 5:00 AM

Looking the other way in a different way

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Along the lines of yesterday’s post, when I was at the Grand Canyon on October 19th I did my share of looking down. I also did a little looking away from the canyon, and that’s when I found a native plant I’d never even heard of: Chamaebatiaria millefolium. It goes by the common names desert sweet and fernbush, and you can see that its leaves do look ferny. Chamaebatiaria is a monotypic genus; that means it includes only one species, which is therefore this one. If the white flower looks a little like a rose, it’s because this genus is in the rose family.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 13, 2016 at 4:59 AM

Frost, but not from frostweed

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The weather forecast for the early morning of November 20th in Austin predicted a temperature of around 37°, which has occasionally been cold enough to cause frostweed to do its ice trick. Living up to the nature photographer’s creed, I dressed warmly that Sunday morning, put on my rubber boots, and wended my way the half-mile downhill to check out the stand of frostweed I rely on in Great Hills Park. No luck.

While I didn’t find frostweed ice, I did find some frost, most noticeably on a colony of straggler daisies, Calyptocarpus vialis. Straggling, which is to say being low and little, works to the advantage of this species: none of the other plants that might have made for even better frost subjects survived the frequent and relentless onslaught that the mowers carried on at the Floral Park entrance to Great Hills Park all through 2016.

(I’ll occasionally interrupt pictures from the Southwest trip with a current post about central Texas.)

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 22, 2016 at 4:52 AM

A flash of gold

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As we began our great Southwest trip on October 16th we noticed the many goldeneye bushes (Viguiera dentata) flowering along US 290 on the western side of Austin. No time to stop then, as we’d barely started on the 550 miles to El Paso, but nine days earlier I’d photographed some goldeneye flowers in my neighborhood. To get the picture shown here, I’d lain down and aimed up toward a flower head isolated against a patch of sky. There wasn’t a lot of light on the underside of the goldeneye bush so I added flash; the result was a bright flower head with a rich dark blue background around it. If you’d like a reminder of how yellowfully expansive a goldeneye colony can be, have a look back at a post from 2013.

As for the trip: I’ve spent a good part of the last few days sorting through thousands of pictures and haven’t finished organizing them yet, but the first of those photographs will put in an appearance next time. Woo hoo West!

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 18, 2016 at 5:06 AM

Purple wood-sorrel

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In my back yard on September 8th I found this little purple wood-sorrel flower (Oxalis drummondii). When I say little I mean maybe five-eighths of an inch (15mm) across.

(Yesterday at Muir Woods National Monument in California I saw plenty of redwood sorrel (Oxalis oregana), though none of it was flowering.)

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 30, 2016 at 5:01 AM

Golden dalea

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Posting that picture of the springwater dancer damselfly yesterday reminded me that I’d forgotten to show you something else I photographed on August 1 out at the Doeskin Ranch in Burnet County. It’s a wildflower called golden dalea or golden prairie clover, Dalea aurea, which makes its debut here today.*

How about that sinuous inflorescence? It’s as soft to the touch as it looks. Call it Texas’s answer to the pussy willow, and you’ll get no argument from me.

On a historical and counter-confusionary note: this genus was named for the English apothecary, physician, and geologist Samuel Dale, whereas the better known dahlia ended up getting named after the Swedish botanist Anders Dahl.

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* Two other species of Dalea have appeared in these pages: Dalea enneandra and Dalea formosa.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 28, 2016 at 4:56 AM

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