Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘landscape

New Zealand: pīngao

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On February 13th we visited the Puheke Reserve on the northern shore of the Karikari Peninsula in the Northland region of New Zealand. My attention was soon drawn to a plant that on the whole grew toward the sea even as individual tufts tended to curl back in the opposite direction. The best I can tell, the plant is pīngao, a sedge that botanists classify as Ficinia spiralis. It’s endemic to New Zealand but animal grazing and the spread of a non-native grass have continued to curtail this sedge’s historical range.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 23, 2017 at 4:43 AM

New Zealand: more than a glacier at the glacier

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The Franz Josef Glacier is in a part of New Zealand that gets between 2 and 10 meters of rain a year. When we visited on February 20th, I got the impression that glacial meltwater had combined with runoff from rainfalls to keep several local waterfalls well supplied. Above you see one of them in its full height. To get a sense of how high that was, compare the sizes of the trees.

Below is a detail of a more-accessible waterfall’s base.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 21, 2017 at 5:11 AM

New Zealand: a closer look at the Franz Josef Glacier

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Above is a February 20th view taken from the end of the trail near the base of the Franz Josef Glacier on the west side of New Zealand’s South Island. Below is an even better look at the details of the ice and rocks at the place where the glacier passes from existence to non-existence.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 20, 2017 at 5:00 AM

New Zealand: a bluish white

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February 20 is still the height of summer in New Zealand. Nevertheless, on that date we hiked the hour or so from the carpark to the front of the Franz Josef Glacier, which is located in the Southern Alps half-way down the western side of the South Island. Before we’d gone too far along the trail I stopped to photograph the still-distant glacier. Europe and North America have their glaciers, but none that I know of are within sight of tree ferns. They were an excellent accompaniment to the first glacier I’d ever seen in person.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 19, 2017 at 5:01 AM

New Zealand: Tāne Mahuta

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On a cloudy February 12th we visited Tāne Mahuta, about which Wikipedia says: “Tāne Mahuta is a giant kauri tree (Agathis australis) in the Waipoua Forest of Northland Region, New Zealand. Its age is unknown but is estimated to be between 1,250 and 2,500 years. It is the largest kauri known to stand today. Its Māori name means ‘Lord of the Forest’ (see Tāne), from the name of a god in the Māori pantheon.” If you’d like, you can read the rest of the article, which includes measurements.

The kauri trees in New Zealand suffered a fate similar to that of the sequoias and giant redwoods in California: in the 1800s and 1900s most got cut down for their wood.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 14, 2017 at 5:00 AM

New Zealand, Take Two

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On February 5th we drove the two-and-a-half hours from Austin to Houston and caught a non-stop Air New Zealand flight to Auckland. After landing on the morning of February 7th, we picked up a rental car that I ended up driving an exhausting 7343 km (4563 miles) before turning it back in on March 9th. Over the next however many posts you’ll see photographs from our second New Zealand visit, mixed in with views of what’s happening in springtime Texas and perhaps even a few holdovers from the great Southwest trip last fall.

The first place in New Zealand where I stopped to take pictures on February 7th was the Uretiti Beach Campsite in Waipu, where I looked eastward at the aquamarine water of Bream Bay and Taranga Island rising out of it.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 13, 2017 at 4:58 AM

Not rain

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weeping-rock-view-of-mountain-4761

A well-known feature at Utah’s Zion National Park is Weeping Rock, where water seeps out of the upper part of a rocky overhang. When we visited the place last year on October 22nd I got behind the plane of the dripping water and looked outward through it. A slow shutter speed of 1/40 second let the falling drops leave bright trails that contrasted with the wispy clouds visible above the adjacent mountain.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 11, 2017 at 5:08 AM

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