Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘macro

An aura and a wraith

with 64 comments

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

King Solomon’s seal

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Here are some flowers of King Solomon’s seal, Polygonatum biflorum, at Garden in the Woods in Framingham, Massachusetts, on June 12th. The petal length for this species is given as 13–22 mm (half to seven-eighths of an inch), so you can see how close my macro lens let me get. Given the low light and my unwillingness to add the harshness of flash, I was satisfied to get as much in focus as I did at f/3.5.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 3, 2018 at 4:32 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

When red precedes white

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A few days ago Austin got some rain, which people here appreciated because until then we’d dropped to some five inches below average for the year so far. The rain got me thinking about rain-lilies, Cooperia pedunculata, and yesterday I found a few whose flower stalks had poked up about an inch above the ground. Thanks to the magic of a macro lens, what you’re seeing here is therefore much larger than life. Another discrepancy is that although rain-lilies are known for their graceful white flowers, this picture shows that the buds start out mostly reddish.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 31, 2018 at 4:47 AM

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