Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘landscape

Spearfish Formation

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On June 1st I was taken with this colorful bluff of the Belle Fourche [Beautiful Fork] River in Hulett, Wyoming. As far as I can tell, these rock layers are part of what geologists call the Spearfish Formation.

Half an hour later we saw more of it at Devil’s Tower.

Finally, on the way back to the Black Hills, we saw even more along Interstate 90:

I can’t remember if this last place was still in Wyoming or if we’d already crossed back into South Dakota.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 17, 2017 at 4:40 AM

Rocky Mountain iris colony

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Click to enlarge.

On June 9th, after we’d driven clockwise more than half-way around the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway north of Taos, New Mexico, I came across this happily flowering colony of Rocky Mountain irises. Given the wildflower’s popular name, which I learned on the trip, I was later surprised to find out the scientific name is Iris missouriensis. As far as I know, the Rocky Mountains don’t make it into that state; sorry, Missouri.

Today’s picture confirms what the website of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center says of this species: “it often forms dense, large patches in low spots in pastures, where the tough leaves are avoided by cattle.”

After the reactions to the rattlesnake in the previous post, I’ll bet many of you are relieved to see wildflowers again.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 15, 2017 at 4:49 AM

“Did you get any closer to the Tower?”

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Yesterday Gallivanta asked in a comment whether we got any closer during our June 1st visit to Devil’s Tower than the place where I took the atypical and rather distant view that appeared last time. I put together today’s post to answer her question.

Below is a photograph taken from a different spot that zooms in on the polygonal columns of rock near the top of Devil’s Tower.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 12, 2017 at 4:55 AM

Close encounters of the northeastern Wyoming kind

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On June 1st I finally made it to a place I’d been wanting to see even before another Steven S. turned it into the setting for the finale of a popular 1977 science fiction movie. The place I’m referring to, of course, is Devil’s Tower.* This geological landmark stands alone of its kind, towering more than 800 ft. above the land for tens of miles around it in northeastern Wyoming.

You can find a zillion pictures on the Internet showing this looming structure. I took close to 200 myself. I’ve chosen to give you an unconventional view that plays up the orange-brown rocks and earth in parts of the park, while ponderosa pine trees and wispy clouds add their share.

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* As you recently read in these pages, some government agencies have decided to throw away apostrophes in geographic names. Not I.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 11, 2017 at 4:49 AM

After the rain

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After the rain started on the afternoon of June 6th at Garden of the Gods, we went and looked at the exhibits inside the visitor center, then drove northeast to the other side of Colorado Springs so we could check into our hotel. A couple of hours later, when the sky seemed to have cleared up somewhat in the west, I called the visitor center and was told that the sun had indeed broken through over there. We drove the 8 miles back to Garden of the Gods and took advantage of the remaining late-afternoon light. You won’t be surprised to hear that for me that usually means taking more pictures. Other visitors had the same idea, as you can see in the photograph above. (I may cast a long shadow as a nature photographer—oh, the conceit—but my shadow isn’t among the ones included here.)

The remaining daylight gradually dwindled, so I staked out a place and waited to see if we got a good sunset. Slowly some colors crept into the early evening sky. The photograph below gives you an idea of the peak colors we saw.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 9, 2017 at 5:02 AM

Racing the rain

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A little after 2:00 in the afternoon on June 6th we arrived at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. The sky looked ominous, so we wasted no time in making the rounds of as many formations as we could. Gradually the sky grew more threatening, until eventually a few drops began to come down. We took those drops as a signal and headed back to our car before the real rain hit.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 8, 2017 at 4:56 AM

Needles

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These and other pointy rock formations have led to a name for a portion of South Dakota Route 87 in the Black Hills: the Needles Highway. We threaded our way through (okay, past) the needles on May 30th. And speaking of that, here’s the geological formation called the Needle’s Eye:

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 6, 2017 at 4:47 AM

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