Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘landscape

Joshua Tree National Park

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Where else to find Joshua trees than Joshua Tree National Park in southeastern California?

The park and the Mojave Desert welcomed us four years ago today, though actually we’d seen our first Joshua trees two weeks earlier in Nevada, and then in Barstow.

These “trees” aren’t truly trees at all, but members of the yucca family, Yucca brevifolia. Yuccas are members of Agavoideae, which isn’t so surprising, but that group is a part of the asparagus family, a fact that does surprise most people. Not all is as it seems, is it?

And how about finding a nest in one of the Joshua trees? Thanks to the staff at Joshua Tree National Park for telling me that the maker of the nest is most likely a ladder-backed woodpecker, Picoides scalaris.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 5, 2020 at 4:38 AM

Sunrise at Morro Bay, California

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Four years ago this morning I went out early to see if I could catch the sunrise at Morro Bay, California. I did. The vertical view above, with its dark strip of land across the middle and a border around it gives me the illusion now of looking through a two-pane window. I also made a tight one-pane portrait of a seemingly unshy gull, which I take to be Larus occidentalis. The red patch on the lower bill apparently characterizes a breeding adult; imagine if breeding people had a red patch on their chin.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 4, 2020 at 4:41 AM

Muir Woods National Monument

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Four years ago today we drove along Muir Woods Rd. north of San Francisco, where I stopped in the cloud forest to take pictures of the lichen- and moss-covered trees.

Then we pushed on to the Muir Woods National Monument, which the other pictures in this post show.

I’d rather not have visited such a popular place on a weekend. That said, when you’re traveling you can’t afford to sit out two days, so thither we went on a Saturday morning.

With judicious aiming and timing I managed to keep my pictures free from all traces of the crowds.

I was sorry to hear that on Christmas Eve in 2019 a man walking in this park was killed when a redwood tree fell on him.

Related quotation for today: “When we try to pick out anything by itself we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken, to everything in the universe.” — John Muir in his journal in 1869. In 1911 he offered a shorter version in My First Summer in the Sierra: “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” In addition to those two authentic quotations, various incorrect versions circulate on the Internet.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 29, 2020 at 4:39 AM

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

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Four years ago today we visited the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area on the west side of Las Vegas, Nevada. We arrived in the morning, when clouds still hung over the mountains.

Note the yuccas in the second picture. I believe they’re young Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia).

And notice the cholla cactus that looks like a running stick figure in the third picture.

The first three views don’t seem to support the name Red Rock, so here’s a picture that does.

Instead of a quotation today, let’s have an English vocabulary question. A mailman delivers mail. A fisherman catches fish. A fireman puts out fires. A salesman sells things. What does a henchman do?

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 25, 2020 at 4:37 AM

Zion revisited

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On October 22, 2016, we spent much of the day in Zion National Park.

Because it’s such a scenic place, the park swarmed with visitors well past the summer tourist season; I sometimes had to aim and frame judiciously to keep people from showing up in my pictures.

These four pictures suggest how diverse Zion’s rock formations are.

And here’s a relevant quotation for today:

“Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame.”
― William Butler Yeats, The Land of Heart’s Desire

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 21, 2020 at 4:37 AM

South Fork of the San Gabriel River

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As often as I’ve photographed along the North Fork of the San Gabriel River at Tejas Camp in Williamson County, I’d never photographed along the South Fork till September 18th, when we visited the relatively recent Garey Park in the southwest corner of Georgetown.

All three of these landscape pictures show the eons-long erosive effect of water streaming against rock.

In case you’re wondering about the yellow-green stuff at the edge of the water, it’s duckweed (Lemna minor), which forms floating mats. On one such mat I found a tiny grasshopper.

Click to enlarge.

Here’s an unrelated thought for today: “Dear, sweet, unforgettable childhood! Why does that irrevocable time, forever departed, seem brighter, more festive, and richer than it actually was?” — Anton Chekhov, The Bishop (1902).

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 6, 2020 at 4:24 AM

Alberta’s badlands

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Three years ago today we visited the badlands east of Drumheller, Alberta.

We stopped there once near the beginning of our trip, and now again near the end.

If you’re looking for a great place to visit, this it it.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 12, 2020 at 2:16 AM

Kananaskis Range

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Mount Wintour

Three years ago today we spent time in the Kananaskis Range of the Canadian Rockies.

Opal Ridge, North Summit

Here are some of the majestic mountains we saw there. Thanks to Alberta Parks for identifying them.

Ribbon Peak

Lower Kananaskis Lake

Some happy aspen trees (Populus tremuloides) we saw along the way.

And here’s a relevant quotation for today:

  • Where do the highest mountains come from? I once asked. Then I learned that they come from out of the sea. The evidence is inscribed in their stone and in the walls of their summits. It is from the deepest that the highest must come to its height. — Friedrich NietzscheAlso Spracht Zarathustra (1883-91), Part III, Chapter 45. Translation by Graham Parkes, Thus Spoke Zarathustra (2005) p. 132.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 11, 2020 at 4:54 AM

Smoke in the Canadian Rockies

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When I look at my photo archive I’m impressed by how much we accomplished on this date in 2017, all of it accompanied by varying amounts of smoke from forest fires. The first picture shows a view along the Trans-Canada Highway as we drove east that morning from our hotel in Golden, British Columbia.

We continued on to two scenic and therefore much-visited lakes in Alberta’s Banff National Park. The photograph above shows Moraine Lake, with its richly colored water, later in the morning. The view below lets you see how sunshine radiated through the clouds and smoke over Lake Louise as dusk approached.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 8, 2020 at 4:12 AM

Dinosaur Provincial Park revisited

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On this date three years ago we visited Dinosaur Provincial Park in the southern part of the Canadian province of Alberta. (Oh, if only we could travel again now!)

In today’s post you’re seeing some more views of that scenic place.

Below, how about what looks like a petrified whirlpool?

And speaking of the country that stretches across the top of the United States, here are two quotations by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield:

“You don’t sit around and not know stuff.”  “To me, science is just formalized curiosity.”

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 3, 2020 at 4:58 AM

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