Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘minimalism

Anemone seed core remains

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Anemone Seed Core Remains by Bluebonnet 9840

When I was looking through my archive to select pictures for the retrospective miniseries you saw early last month, I came across some images from March 27, 2012, at McKinney Falls State Park in southeast Austin that I’d forgotten about. This portrait from that group, which employs the technique of limited focus, shows a single seed that was still clinging to the downy remains of a ten-petal anemone, Anemone berlandieri. (If you don’t recall what one of these anemones looks like when it’s fresh, you can have a look back at that stage.) The formless purple in the background was all that remained, photographically, of a bluebonnet, Lupinus texensis.

 

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 3, 2015 at 5:18 AM

New Zealand: Like something by Salvador Dalí

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Orange Seaweed Against Sky 5388

You know those Surrealist paintings by Salvador Dalí with melting watches and other strange shapes? Well, that’s what I’m reminded of here with this type of hard orange-brown seaweed that I encountered on beaches along various parts of New Zealand’s shoreline. The specimen you’re looking at comes from February 18 at Kekerengu on the northeastern coast of the South Island. To photograph this piece of seaweed I held it up against the blue sky so that you could see it in isolation rather than amid the detritus on the beach where it was lying.

In searching the Internet, I found images that made me think this seaweed might be bull kelp, Durvillaea antarctica, which you can read more about in Wikipedia and from the Seaweed Industry Association. Then I looked a little further and learned that in 2011 phycologists had segregated a kind of bull kelp and declared it a new species, Durvillaea poha, which could be what this specimen actually was.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 4, 2015 at 5:45 AM

A redbud tree’s new leaf

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New Redbud Tree Leaf 0028A

A few posts back you saw a redbud tree that was already beginning to leaf out on March 27th but whose blossoms were still the attention-getters. On the same outing along E. 51st St. I found a couple of smaller redbud trees, Cercis canadensis, growing in relative isolation and flowerlessness. I noticed that their new leaves looked particularly attractive with the sunlight coming through them, and although having the sun in front of me made photographing the leaves difficult because of the frequent artifacts of light produced in the camera’s lens, I took up the challenge. Here’s one of the abstract pictures that came out of my attempts. In seeing the curve of the leaf’s lobe and the very dark, mostly vertical shaft that widens as it goes down, I’m reminded of a harp.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 22, 2015 at 5:50 AM

A different take

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Tetraneuris linearifolia Flower Head Opening 9112

Another wildflower I photographed when I walked in the greenbelt north of Old Lampasas Trail in northwest Austin on March 15th was Tetraneuris linearifolia, or four-nerve daisy, the species that prompted the discussion two years ago about crenels and merlons. While that still applies, this latest view offers a composition different from any I recall ever using for a four-nerve daisy, with the arc of the drooping flower stalk perpendicular to the plane of the camera’s sensor rather than parallel to it (which I did use for some of the other pictures in the session). Gotta keep trying new things, right?

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 31, 2015 at 5:03 AM

A change in scale

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Prickly Pear Spine Emerging from Snow 2034

After the large live oak tree that you saw last time doused in white during the snowfall of February 23, 2010, here’s a change in scale to a prickly pear cactus spine emerging from the snow on that same afternoon.

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I’m away from home. You’re welcome to leave comments, but please understand if I’m slow in responding.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 22, 2015 at 5:12 AM

Black willow leaves curling

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Black Willow Leaves Curling 2624

From February 7, 2007, here’s a close and abstract look at two curling leaves of a black willow, Salix nigra. I don’t know what caused all those the dark spots.

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I’m away from home. You’re welcome to leave comments, but please understand if I’m slow in responding.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 16, 2015 at 6:03 AM

A native grass by the light of the almost-setting sun

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Bushy Bluestem Seed Head 1171

During the same late-afternoon session on December 26, 2014, at the Arbor Walk Pond that brought you a photograph of a velvetleaf mallow flower, I couldn’t help noticing how reddened this seed head of bushy bluestem, Andropogon glomeratus, looked by the light of the close-to-setting sun, and how well the warm colors were set off by the azure of the clear sky beyond them.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 24, 2015 at 5:00 AM

Blazing-star all blazed out

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Liatris Stalk Turned Fluffy 7836

When blazing-star, Liatris mucronata, gets all blazed out in the autumn like a spent candle, it turns into the type of fluffy gray stalk shown here on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin on November 19th of last year.

If you’d like a reminder of how vibrant this species looked in some parts of central Texas just three weeks earlier, you’re welcome to glance back at a colony in full flower.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 2, 2015 at 5:40 AM

Ocotillo Y (why not?)

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Leafy Ocotillo Y 1831

On September 29th at Lost Dutchman State Park outside Phoenix I photographed this ocotillo, Fouquieria splendens. Recent heavy rains had caused these spindly plants of the Sonoran Desert to put out a dense covering of leaves to do some photosynthesis while the photosynthesizing was good, which is to say before the usual drought of the desert set back in and the plants would shed their briefly used leaves as quickly as they’d put them on.

If you’d like a reminder of what the bright red flowers of ocotillo look like, you can check out a post from west Texas this past spring. Notice how the ocotillo in that earlier photograph didn’t have a single leaf on its dry branches, but that didn’t stop it from putting out flowers.

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This is another entry from the saw (as in the past tense of see) part of the see-saw that’s been bouncing back and forth between pictures from my trip to the American Southwest in late September and more-recent pictures showing what’s been going on in Austin.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 24, 2014 at 5:39 AM

A different profile with the sun behind it

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Giant Ragweed at Sunrise 7498

The last two posts showed the backlit profile of the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix, but now you’re seeing a different sort of profile with the sun beyond it. Move forward from September 29th outside Phoenix to October 17th inside Austin, when I pulled a Steve Gingold by being out and ready for pictures so early in the morning that it was still dark. Where, I’d asked myself, might I have a good view toward the east to photograph the sunrise, and I decided to check out the site of the former Mueller Airport, which has been undergoing redevelopment for a decade.

Now that you know the setting, you can understand that in the background of this photograph you’re seeing not a range of mountains but a pile of dirt at a construction site (though your imagination can still make a mountain out of what would have been a very large mole hill). As darkness gave way to dawn, the brightening eastern sky silhouetted this giant ragweed plant, Ambrosia trifida, that I chose as one of my subjects. If you’d like to know what a giant ragweed plant looks like when there’s light on it, you can check out a post from three years ago.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 19, 2014 at 5:23 AM

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