Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘flower

Ant on pavonia mallow

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We have several pavonia mallow plants (Pavonia lasiopetala) in our yard, but I’ve never managed to get as good a portrait of one from behind as when I went walking through the Taylor Draper entrance to Great Hills Park on October 10th. The backlighting brought out patterns not apparent in a conventional view, as you can confirm by comparing a picture from 2012.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 17, 2018 at 4:44 AM

An unusually open Turk’s cap

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We have Turk’s cap (Malvaviscus arboreus var. arboreus) growing in several places in our yard. On September 30th Eve looked out a back window and saw a flower that she first thought wasn’t a Turk’s cap but that turned out to be one when she went out to investigate. Turk’s cap flowers normally stay closed like a pinwheel, so why this one had come apart so much remains a mystery.

To make this picture I used my ring flash so I could stop down to f/18 and get all the nearer parts of the flower in focus. Another consequence of flash with such a small aperture is that the background went black.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 15, 2018 at 4:48 AM

Yellow bitterweed

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At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on September 26th I photographed this flower head of a wildflower called yellow sneezeweed and yellow bitterweed, Helenium amarum var. amarum. (If that wasn’t enough amarums for you, I’ll add that amarum is the Latin word for ‘bitter.’) Because I was there early in the morning and the light was low, I went for a soft portrait in which relatively little would be in focus.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 11, 2018 at 5:45 PM

And on the Lindheimer’s senna…

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Visiting the Lindheimer’s senna flowers (Senna lindheimeriana) that you saw last time were various kinds of insects, including several small metallic sweat bees.

For a closer look at the pollen-gatherer, click below to enlarge an excerpt from another frame.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 1, 2018 at 4:41 AM

Wasp-on-the-mountain

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A few weeks ago you got a close look at the inflorescence of snow-on-the-prairie. Now you’re getting a look at its sister species, snow-on-the-mountain (Euphorbia marginata). On September 2nd I’d been driving home after photographing at two other locations in northwest Austin when I spotted a few of these familiar plants and decided to stop. Once I got close, I saw that a wasp was busy working the flowers. Like some other insects I’ve seen on flowers, this one kept moving pretty quickly, so I used a high shutter speed, 1/800 of a second, to keep from ending up with a blurred image of the wasp.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 14, 2018 at 4:44 AM

A daisy that looks better than a cowpen

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On September 2nd, at the same property along Lost Horizon Dr. in my neighborhood where I discovered a silverleaf nightshade flower that spoke in four-part harmony rather than five-, I found several bunches of Verbesina encelioides flowers, known as cowpen daisies. Most of you won’t be familiar with this species, so I’ve also included a view of two flower heads from behind.

The lot where I photographed these cowpen daisies is the only place I’ve been able to count on finding the species. Because parts of the property are getting developed, I don’t know how much longer the remaining wildflowers there will survive.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 10, 2018 at 4:56 AM

When five is four

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Five is the normal number of petals for the flowers of Solanum elaeagnifolium, known as silverleaf nightshade. Five is what every field guide I’ve looked at says. Five is how many petals I’ve always seen in the two decades I’ve known this common Texas wildflower.

Nevertheless, on September 2 at a property along Lost Horizon Dr. that’s getting houses built on portions of it, I found a silverleaf nightshade flower with just four petals. Because of the way adjacent petals in this kind of flower are fused at their edges, it doesn’t seem possible that the specimen started out with five petals and then lost one. Below is a slightly downward view from the other side of the flower that once again clearly shows four 90° angles rather than the expected five 72° angles.

For comparison, here’s the back of a regular silverleaf nightshade flower at the same location.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 5, 2018 at 4:28 AM

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