Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘landscape

New Zealand: Views from Cape Reinga

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On February 14th we drove from our base in Paihia to the northern end of the North Island. After stopping at the Te Paki dunes, we continued up to Cape Reinga. While not technically the northernmost point on the island, it’s close, and it has the virtue of a highway that takes you right there. You won’t be surprised to hear that there’s usually a brisk breeze at Cape Reinga, which whips up sea spray and makes distant places look hazier than closer ones, as you can confirm in the landscape/seascape above.

At a relatively bright moment, even with some clouds drifting low, I recorded a view of cabbage trees and flax high above a span of sun-saturated sea.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 27, 2017 at 5:01 AM

New Zealand: closer looks at a Milford Sound waterfall

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Tour boats on Milford Sound get close enough to some of the waterfalls cascading into it for tourists on board to see one or more rainbows in the spray, as we found on February 22nd. In the photo above you can make out a faint second rainbow half-way across the intersection of the land and the sound. When our boat got closer to the waterfall, the main rainbow got brighter and better defined, as shown in the second photo.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 12, 2017 at 4:52 AM

Prairie parsley on the Blackland Prairie

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A couple of posts back you saw an Eastern black swallowtail caterpillar that I found on a prairie parsley plant (Polytaenia nuttallii) when I visited the Blackland Prairie west of Heatherwilde Blvd. in Pflugerville on April 30th. After I went back the next day and explored a different part of the parcel, I came across a great stand of prairie parsley flowering away, as shown above. How’s that for density? The mostly red flowers mixed in, by the way, are Gaillardia pulchella, known as firewheels and Indian blankets.

The closer and more downward-looking view below reveals that some of the prairie parsley plants had begun going to seed. The purple flower heads are Texas thistles (Cirsium texanum).

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 10, 2017 at 4:22 AM

New Zealand: Milford Sound

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On February 22nd we made like tourists and took a two-hour boat cruise of Milford Sound on the southwestern coast of New Zealand’s South Island. As you can see, Milford Sound is a fiord. Given the heavy annual rainfall in this area, more than a dozen waterfalls cascade into the fiord. Notice one near the left edge of the first photograph and the right edge of the second. Notice also how the clouds descend below the peaks of the mountains that line the fiord. The distant white in the second photograph is residual snow or ice from the previous winter.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 9, 2017 at 5:01 AM

New Zealand: Water colors at Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley

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On our 2015 New Zealand trip we’d visited two geothermal attractions in the Rotorua area but had run out of time for more. On March 5th of this year we spent a few hours at a third one, the Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley. How about the vivid color of the water at Inferno Crater Lake? And look at the very different color of another lake there:

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 7, 2017 at 5:01 AM

New Zealand: Dorothy Falls

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On February 19th we visited Dorothy Falls, about half an hour east of Hokitika on the South Island. You can see the lushness of the native bush that surrounds the falls.

Here’s a closer view of the waterfall:

Below is an even closer view hand-held at 1/15th of a second. I’ve made longer hand-held exposures, but they push the limits of a photographer’s stability. One thing that has helped, when it has been available, is steadying myself against a tree or boulder.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 3, 2017 at 4:54 AM

Wind on the Blackland Prairie

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Yesterday morning I went back to the west side of Heatherwilde Blvd. in Pflugerville, back to a piece of the Blackland Prairie that I’d found in full flower the day before. With the wind gusting to perhaps 25 mph (40 km/hr), I took many pictures at a high shutter speed to stop the plants’ movements. The photograph in this post came into being at 1/1000 of a second.

The yellow flowers are square-bud primroses, Calylophus berlandieri. The clusters of much smaller yellow flowers atop tall plants are prairie parsley, Polytaenia nuttallii. The yellow-fringed red flower heads are Gaillardia pulchella, known as firewheels and Indian blankets. The blowing grass is purple three-awn, Aristida purpurea, which arcs over even without any wind and still suggests it’s being blown sideways.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 2, 2017 at 5:02 AM

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