Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘flower

You don’t have to travel far

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You’ve been seeing scenic pictures from faraway New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, along with plants from Massachusetts. As rewarding as traveling to exotic locales is, we needn’t travel long distances. On July 12th I went as far as my front yard in Austin, sat myself down next to a Turk’s cap plant (Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii), and at the price of two mosquito bites over half an hour took several dozen pictures. Here’s one of those portraits, which plays up color and shape while slighting detail, thanks to the maximum f/2.8 aperture of my macro lens.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 2, 2018 at 4:46 AM

A drooping rain-lily

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Because Austin had gotten some recent rain and I’d seen a few stray rain-lilies around town, on the morning of July 11th I went to an undeveloped lot on Balcones Woods Dr. where I’ve come to rely on finding rain-lilies and copper-lilies. While I found not a single one of the latter, I did find a scattering of the former.

In particular, I noticed one rain-lily (Cooperia pedunculata) that was bent over and configured in a way I don’t recall ever seeing before. That was good news, because after two decades of photographing rain-lilies I’m always wondering if I can find a new way to portray them.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 17, 2018 at 4:53 AM

“Blue” iris

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From the Garden in the Woods in Framingham, Massachusetts, on June 12th, here’s a flower and then a leaf of a blue iris, Iris versicolor. (Of course I see the flower as purple, not blue.)

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 10, 2018 at 4:48 AM

Wasp on prairie parsley

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I photographed this wasp on prairie parsley (Polytaenia texana) at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on May 6th.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 24, 2018 at 4:41 AM

Katydid nymph on yucca flower

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Katydid Nymph on Yucca Flower 5892

Click for greater clarity and size.

For the second post in a row, here’s a view from the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve in Austin. The picture, which dates back to June 20, 2013, shows what I think is the nymph of a katydid, but if anyone knows otherwise, please speak up. The petal is definitely that of a yucca, probably Yucca rupicola. If you’d like an overview of how that species looks when it’s flowering, you can skip back to another post from 2013.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 20, 2018 at 4:30 AM

Seven years

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Scientists tell us that over a period of seven years every cell in our body gets replaced. Not so with the “cells,” i.e. posts, in Portraits of Wildflowers, all of which are still here for your delectation. While a few of you have seen the post that started everything off on June 4, 2011, many of you have not, so here’s a copy of that first entry, which I entitled “Another Beginning.”

A basket-flower, Centaurea americana

In my “About This Column” page I noted that everything we create must have a beginning. The photograph shown here marked the beginning of what I think of as a new approach to nature photography for me. The date was May 3, 2000, and the place was Round Rock, a rapidly growing city north of Austin. I was in a field on one side of a cul-de-sac, a bit of prairie that members of the Native Plant Society of Texas had taught me was a good place to see lots of native species. That day I’d gone there alone so I could take my time photographing (other people understandably get impatient if I spend fifteen minutes or half an hour in the same spot, as I often do when I take pictures).

I was pleased to find a colony of basket-flowers, Centaurea americana, growing in the field, but they weren’t far from the road that had brought me there (which has since been expanded to a superhighway). In order to keep the road and the apartments across the way from ruining my picture, I leaned down so that my eyes would be closer to the level of the flowers. Not good enough: I could still see distracting things in the background. I ended up lying flat on the ground—a skin-threatening thing to do in Texas—and looking up at a single basket-flower so I could isolate it against the sky. The result was the picture you see here, which has become my best-known photograph. A view from this angle makes it clear why Anglo settlers called this a basket-flower.

(Here is information about Centaurea americana, including a map showing where the species grows.)

© 2011, 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 4, 2018 at 4:40 AM

Yellow water-lily

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Nymphaea mexicana; Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center; May 6th.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 21, 2018 at 4:43 AM

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