Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘macro photography

A red theme

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Wanderers through countryside with lots of prickly pears (Opuntia engelmannii var. lindheimeri) know that the cactus often attracts certain bugs. This is one of those, Narnia femorata, on a tuna, or fruit of the prickly pear cactus, in the Zilker Nature Preserve seven years ago today. The bug is a nymph in one of its early instars, which are the developmental stages that the larva of an insect passes through. Click below if you’d like a closer look at the bug as it appeared in a different frame.

Although Texas in the summer of 2011 was suffering one of its worst droughts in decades, when I recently looked back at my archive for August 12th of that year I saw that I went photographing in four locations that day and ended up with hundreds of pictures, like this one along Scenic Drive of ripe snailseed fruit (Cocculus carolinus):

I also found from looking at my archive that I went out taking pictures on 19 of the 31 days in that torrid August of 2011. You could say that I lived up to the motto of the USPS (United States Photographic Service): “Neither heat nor drought nor sun nor sweat stays these intrepid image gatherers from the due documentation of their appointed rounds.”

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 12, 2018 at 4:49 AM

White prickly poppy center

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White Prickly Poppy Flower Center 0486

Here’s a close and downward look at Argemone albiflora, the white prickly poppy. Notice the crowd of yellow stamens invariably paying homage to the red-topped pistil that rises above them in the center of the flower. This photograph is from Great Hills Park on April 23, 2013, five years ago today. I’d planned to show the picture soon afterward but put the post aside and only recently rediscovered it. Better late than never.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 23, 2018 at 4:47 AM

Horsetail detail

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Horsetail Detail 7461

From the Volo Bog State Natural Area in Lake County, Illinois, on June 7th comes this elongated closeup of a horsetail (Equisetum spp.).

Of the more than two thousand photographs that have appeared here over the past five years, this may be the one with the greatest height-to-width ratio.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 19, 2016 at 4:44 AM

Wild onion bud

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Wild Onion Bud 9860

You’ll probably find more patterning and texture than you’d expect in the bud of a wild onion, Allium canadense var. canadense. Though ancient in design, it could pass for the latest sculpture or architecture.

This photograph is from April 3 along E. University Blvd. in Georgetown. The property was one on which I’d never worked before.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 9, 2016 at 5:10 AM

Question Everything.

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Question Everything 1532

Okay, here’s something different. After I’d photographed the Mexican hats you saw in the last two posts, I walked a little further down Morado Circle looking for other plants along an undeveloped stretch of land on one side of the road. Before long I noticed that someone had gone to the trouble of painting a portion of a light pole white in order to write a message on it. As you can see, the person got off to a rough begiining beginning. Too bad there wasn’t any way to move the dot of the mistaken i to the end of the sentence to make up for the missing period.

Speaking of missing things, this is supposed to be a nature photography blog, so here’s another picture of a Mexican hat, Ratibida columnifera, from that January 2nd outing. Notice how the tiny disk flowers develop from the bottom toward the top of the “thimble.” In terms of composition, I like the way the arc of amorphous yellow patches in the background echoes the predominant yellow in the subject’s ray flowers. That arc also amplifies the slight curve of the flower head’s stalk.

Mexican Hat Flower Head 1463

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 18, 2016 at 5:00 AM

A close view of a wood sorrel flower

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Purple Wood Sorrel Flower with Petals Ribboned Back 8837

In the previous post you didn’t see much of the wood sorrel flower, Oxalis drummondii, that caught my attention on the floor of the woods in Great Hills Park on November 4th, although it did coincidentally lend its color to all the foliage in the negative version of yesterday’s image.

A few paces from that scene I found the wood sorrel flower shown here. It had its five petals appealingly ribboned back to form a would-be pentagon, even as an adjacent bud on the same plant was beginning to open. If you’d like to compare a close view of a wood sorrel flower when its petals aren’t curled down, you can check out a post from this blog’s first fall.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 15, 2015 at 4:57 AM

Snailseed redux: a portrait in red and green

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Snailseed Fruit Cluster and Leaf 7319

In contrast to the distant bridge-bright view of snailseed, Cocculus carolinus, that you saw in these pages last month, here’s a simultaneously light and shadowy closeup of this vine’s fruit and leaves from the greenbelt north of Spicewood Springs Rd. on October 10.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 21, 2015 at 4:43 AM

Chrysopsis pilosa

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Chrysopsis pilosa Flower Head and Bud 5694

Chrysopsis pilosa is one of those DYCs (darn yellow composites) that I don’t see in Austin, but on June 4th I went 30 miles east, to Bastrop County, and there I saw this flower head and opening bud of that species, which people call soft goldenaster. This is one of those lie-on-the-ground-and-aim-upward sorts of pictures.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 19, 2015 at 5:32 AM

Drummond’s skullcap

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Drummond's Skullcap Flower 0761

Again from July 7th along W. Courtyard Dr., behold a somewhat moody picture of a wildflower you haven’t seen here before: Scutellaria drummondii, a member of the mint family known as Drummond’s skullcap. Putting on your thinking cap won’t help you determine the scale, so I’ll tell you that each of these flowers was at most half an inch (13 mm) in size. You’re welcome to scoot on over to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center for more information on Scutellaria drummondii, and to Wikipedia for a brief account of Thomas Drummond, a Scotsman who botanized in Texas and died in Havana, Cuba, in 1835.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 10, 2015 at 3:55 AM

Firewheel abstraction

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Firewheel Edge-On by Bluebonnet 4159

There he goes again with his abstractions…

The wildflower that botanists know as Gaillardia pulchella has the popular names firewheel, blanketflower (or blanket flower), and Indian blanket. I photographed this firewheel flower head close and edge-on and with a wide aperture of f/4.5 so that at most the tips of a few rays would be in focus. The bluish-purple in the background came from some bluebonnets, Lupinus texensis. Except for a few lingering strays, they’re long gone in central Texas now, but firewheels are still (Indian-)blanketing parts of the land here. Today’s colorful view is from April 21st at the intersection of Blackjack and Rio Vista Cove east of Lockhart, a town nearly an hour south of my home in Austin.

In a banal comparison suggested by childhood memories, this firewheel might pass for floral candy corn.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 4, 2015 at 5:28 AM

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