Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘flowers

Time again to say that spring has sprung

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Yesterday morning’s weather forecast predicted that by afternoon the temperature would go above 80°F, so before it got too hot we went over to the Southwest Greenway at the Mueller development in east-central Austin, where we confirmed that spring had indeed arrived. One token of that was some agarita bushes (Mahonia trifoliolata) flowering away, as you see in a broad horizontal view above and in a closer upward view in the following photograph.

The Mueller development occupies the site of the old Austin airport that closed in 1999. It’s likely that at least some of the wispy clouds we saw yesterday coincidentally came from diffused airplane contrails, so I’ve decided to follow that theme and add a non-botanical photograph from the Southwest Greenway: it shows Chris Levack’s “Wigwam.” Six years ago I semi-broke botanical ranks and showed his adjacent “Pollen Grain” sculpture.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 16, 2019 at 4:44 AM

Mexican plum blossoms

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On February 6th along the northern stretch of Spicewood Springs Rd. I photographed a few early blossoms on a Mexican plum tree (Prunus mexicana), which is also native in central Texas. This was the first flowering tree I saw in 2019; in fact it’s still the only one because overcast skies, cold, and drizzle have combined to keep me from going out much in nature this past week.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 12, 2019 at 4:30 AM

Tooting your own horn

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A few days ago an e-mail went out announcing the results of the 2018 NPSoT photo contest. Below I’ve copied the parts of that message pertaining to me (toot toot). Some of the pictures (or variants) have appeared in my posts but others have not. You can click an image to enlarge it quite a bit.


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Photo contest winners from 2018

By Bill Hopkins
Photo contest winners from all 12 Level III Ecoregions in Texas. Winners were chosen by popular vote and first announced at the 2018 Fall Symposium in San Antonio.


Arizona/New Mexico Mountains Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Fallugia paradoxa, Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Central Texas Great Plains Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Castilleja purpurea var. purpurea, US 84 near Coleman

Cross Timbers Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, North of Lampasas, Erythronium albidum

High Plains Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Penstemon buckleyi, Monahans Sandhills State Park

Coast Prairies and Marshes Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Gaillardia pulchella, Coreopsis spp., Galveston

East Central Plains Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Argemone albiflora, Bastrop State Park

Southwestern Tablelands Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Astragalus racemosus, Caprock Canyons State Park

Western Gulf Coastal Plain Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Osmunda cinnamomea, Big Thicket

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 10, 2019 at 4:16 AM

First bluebonnets for 2019

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Earlier this week I heard on a local television news channel that some bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) had already flowered along the Capital of Texas Highway near the Arboretum. Yesterday I followed up that lead and, sure enough, there were the bluebonnets. Despite the overcast sky and the wind I took lots of pictures, picking varied stages of development and of course varying my compositions. I chose to show this picture because of the orange-brown rock in the background, which added a novel touch, at least in my experience. As I see it, color carries much of the weight of the picture, and only the flower parts in the upper center of the photograph are in focus. Below is another use of selective focus, this time on a developing inflorescence.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 8, 2019 at 4:33 AM

First native spring wildflower

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Click to enlarge.

On January 28th I discovered a colony of flowering anemones, Anemone decapetala, along Talleyran Dr. This is truly a wildflower of the coming season, in contrast to the several holdovers you’ve seen on and off here for the last couple of months. Some anemones are white, others purple, and some a mixture of the two colors, as shown here.

Anemone flowers usually stay close to the ground, so in making my portrait I couldn’t avoid the patchy light beyond this one. At least I managed to keep that patchwork pretty much out of focus.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 30, 2019 at 4:42 AM

Another wildflower in winter

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Gulf vervain (Verbena xutha) west of Morado Circle on December 25, 2018.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 26, 2019 at 4:30 AM

Not from now and less not from now

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I didn’t see much blazing-star (Liatris mucronata) flowering in the fall of 2018. Maybe it wasn’t a great year for the species or maybe I wasn’t in the right places at the right times. On September 26th at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center I did get to make this bright portrait of a blazing-star flower spike contrasting with some prairie goldenrod (Solidago nemoralis) happily out of focus behind it.

Several times in the months that followed I managed to photograph the late stage of this Liatris species, which often makes me imagine a fuzzy burned-out candle. Below from November 24th at the Doeskin Ranch is a picture of one with seed heads of little bluestem grass (Schizachyrium scoparium) surrounding it.

And speaking of figurative candles, how could we not recall the opening “fig”
from Edna St. Vincent Millay‘s A Few Figs from Thistles?

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 11, 2019 at 4:42 AM

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