Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘leaf

Like a green snake in the water

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The sinuous algae you see here looked to me on July 25th, and still today, like a green snake in the water of Bull Creek. Notice the tiny aquatic insects. The leaf may be from a cedar elm tree (Ulmus crassifolia).

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 15, 2017 at 4:37 AM

Strange white stuff

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Finding sycamore trees (Platanus occidentalis) along creeks in Austin is commonplace. When I looked at this sycamore leaf along Bull Creek on July 25th I saw something I’d noticed once before, years earlier, but had never tracked down. Val Bugh came to the rescue this time: “the white stuff is a secretion that a female dobsonfly uses to cover her egg masses. Makes them look like bird droppings. The leaf should be over water so the hatchling hellgrammites will drop in.”

Me, I can’t help thinking the Hellgrammites were once a religious sect of the fire-and-brimstone type. In fact the American Heritage Dictionary says that the first part of the word probably is indeed hell, based on the insect’s painful bite. And we remember the old adage that hell hath no fury like a female dobsonfly scorned.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 3, 2017 at 4:40 AM

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The shallow water shimmered as it flowed

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Bull Creek; July 25th. The darkened leaf is from a sycamore tree, Platanus occidentalis.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 28, 2017 at 5:01 AM

July 4th

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July 4th is my birthday. It always has been. While I could commemorate the date by showing you one picture for each birthday I’ve had, I think you’ll agree that would be too onerous for me and certainly for you. Instead, let me focus on the 4 in today’s date and show you four pictures I took in the southern part of Great Hills Park on June 23rd. The first thing that caught my attention, just beyond the metal railing along the sidewalk on that side of Floral Park Drive, was the dense display of Clematis drummondii flowers. Like pale yellow-green stars in a floral firmament they were.

Then I wandered steeply down to the shaded bank of the creek that flows through that section of the park. The creek had mostly dried up, which is common in the heat of the Texas summer. Some water remained pooled up in one small part of the creek bed, and on the surface of the stagnating pool I saw a dry leaf, apparently that of a mustang grape, Vitis mustangensis. Several grapes had fallen in that area and one of them miraculously lay on top of the little raft that the leaf had become for it. Even when the leaf shifted slightly in its floating, the grape didn’t roll off.

When I finished taking pictures of the de facto raft, I noticed on the far bank of the creek, which lay lit up by lambent sunlight, what I feel compelled to call glaucous glop. Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it, at least photographically.

After I walked a minute or so downstream from the glaucous glop, I came across a shed snake skin on a mostly dried-out portion of the creek bed. The snake skin had been rent into several parts that remained near one another. The tail end, shown here, lay flattened onto a level portion of the creek bed. A little piece of dry Ashe juniper, Juniperus ashei, conveniently delineated the wider end of that segment.

Following suit, this sentence conveniently delineates the end of my July 4th tetralogy. Except that I’m adding a sentence to say that if you can slip the words lambent, delineate and tetralogy into a conversation today, it’ll be a fine birthday present for a lover of words.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 4, 2017 at 12:01 AM

Tulip poplar

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Tulip Poplar Leaf 8699

While on the grounds of the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas, on June 20 I saw some tulip poplar trees, Liriodendron tulipifera. Their leaves have a distinctively simple yet pleasing shape, don’t you think?

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 30, 2016 at 4:59 AM

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Greenity*

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Gall on Common Milkweed Leaf 7886

At the risk of greening you out with a third post in a row that’s heavy on that color, here’s another view of common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca, this time from Illinois Beach State Park on June 14. I no longer remember what cast the pleasantly undulating shadow on the left side of the leaf, but one lobe of that shadow worked to highlight the lone gall there.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman


* We don’t normally stick a Latin-derived suffix on a native English word the way I’ve done with greenity, but some hybrids (for example outage) have entered our standard vocabulary. In searching the Internet now I see that I’m not the first person to come up with greenity.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 9, 2016 at 5:12 AM

Belated color

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Colorful Oak Leaf Against Blue Sky 0773

I didn’t show you a lot of fall foliage in 2015, so here, belatedly, is an oak leaf I photographed along Rain Creek Parkway on December 6th last year.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 27, 2016 at 5:04 AM

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