Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘macro

A predilection to turn red

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The leaves of smartweed plants (Polygonum sp.) tend to turn yellow and red. On August 25th I positioned myself with the sun in front of me so that its light would transluce this smartweed leaf and saturate the red. Cameras don’t like looking into the sun—which is to say photographers generally don’t like it—because the light bouncing around off the lens elements can create unwanted artifacts. That’s how there came to be orbs at the top of this picture. Technically it’s a defect, and I could easily remove it, but you may find it’s a smart look for a smartweed leaf. The plant’s stems also noticeably have red in them:

The answer to yesterday’s question asking which independent country has the lowest population density is Mongolia, with only about 2 people per square mile. Eliza Waters quickly came up with the right answer, and Peter Klopp soon followed.

When we look at a globe of the world, we’re accustomed to seeing countries represented in proportion to their areas. For a change, you may want to check out a map that represents countries according to their populations (click the map there to enlarge it). You’ll notice some countries appear smaller or even much smaller than you’re used to seeing them (e.g. Canada, Mongolia, Australia, Ireland, Russia, Algeria, Saudi Arabia), and others larger (e.g. Nigeria, India, the Philippines, Japan, Bangla Desh).

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 21, 2020 at 3:51 AM

Firewheel edge-on

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On the morning of May 25th I went out to an area where there still wasn’t much light. Even at a high ISO, all I could manage was an aperture of f/4, so I decided to go for some limited-focus portraits like this one of a firewheel, Gaillardia pulchella, with dewdrops on it.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 20, 2020 at 4:48 AM

Prairie fleabane daisy bud

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At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on February 3rd I found some opening prairie fleabane daisy buds, Erigeron modestus. At the stage shown in this portrait, each bud is maybe a third of an inch (8 mm) across.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 5, 2020 at 4:45 AM

Leaf abstraction from the Bojo Nature Reserve on December 17th

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© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 2, 2020 at 4:39 AM

Drying leaf tip from the Bojo Nature Reserve on December 17th

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© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 31, 2020 at 4:44 AM

Spiraling leaf tip at the Bojo Nature Reserve on December 17th

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© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 29, 2020 at 4:39 AM

Posted in nature photography

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An aura and a wraith

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Here are two takes from April 12th of Heller’s plantain (Plantago helleri), with the rain-lily (Cooperia pedunculata) behind it seen first as an aura and then as a wraith. I haven’t a ghost of a chance of guessing which version you prefer. (Actually, photographers at a recent gathering did favor one, but at least for now I won’t say which it was.)

UPDATE: The majority of commenters here, like the photographers at the meeting I mentioned, prefer the first photograph.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 28, 2019 at 4:42 AM

Scarlet leatherflower

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While at Bull Creek on April 8th I mostly photographed waterfalls but was also happy to see a Clematis texensis vine with a trio of flowers on it. Anyone watching me at work that morning could have said: “He stoppeth one of three.” It could also be said that Austin is home to three native Clematis species, with texensis being endemic to the state’s Edwards Plateau.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 19, 2019 at 4:39 AM

You’ve gotta hand it to me

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On April 12th I wandered for close to three hours along the right-of-way beneath the power lines west of Morado Circle. It was spring and a lot was happening there. At one point I noticed a robber fly on a rock on the ground. I moved in slowly with my macro lens, hoping the insect would stay put. It did, and I took a bunch of pictures from several angles. The robber fly seemed unusually docile for one of its kind, and I suddenly wondered whether I could lift up the rock and take pictures that would have a less distracting background.

Slowly I put my left thumb and index finger around the rock to take hold of it, gradually stood up, and was relieved that the robber fly stayed on for the ride. After I held the rock out in front of me and was about to try for a few more pictures, the fly moved around a little, then walked off the rock and onto my hand. Robber flies are fiercely carnivorous, “robbing” other insects by pouncing on and devouring them, so I wondered whether this handy visitor might suddenly take a nip out of my skin. But no, the robber fly remained friendly, as polite a digital guest as any nature photographer could want.

For a classic three-quarter view of the subject with a better look at its characteristic “moustache,” click below.

If you’re interested in photography as a craft, the newly added point 30 in About My Techniques applies to these two portraits.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 17, 2019 at 4:49 AM

Less than a full puff of silverpuff

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Above is a chiaroscuro portrait showing less than a full puff of silverpuff (Chaptalia texana) in the heavy shade beneath some Ashe juniper trees (Juniperus ashei) on Floral Park Dr. in my neighborhood on March 30. It’s been a good while since this species has appeared here, so below from the same photo session I’ve added a reminder that silverpuff’s flower heads are cylindrical, tend to nod, and stay mostly closed.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 7, 2019 at 4:45 AM

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