Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘native plants

The change from Tuesday morning to Wednesday morning

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From Monday’s weather forecast I learned that the overnight temperature into Tuesday morning would drop a few degrees below freezing. Sure enough, when I checked the thermometer early Tuesday morning it read 29°. Equally sure enough, that meant I had to dress warmly and go out into the cold for the season’s first possible pictures of frostweed ice. I drove the half-mile to my usual stand of plants (Verbesina virginica) in Great Hills Park and found—nada. Despite the freeze, not a single frostweed plant had produced ice.

On Wednesday morning the thermometer read 32° and I gave the project a second try. This time a couple of dozen frostweed plants had woken up and remembered what they’re supposed to do when the temperature drops to freezing, and they did it, as these two photographs confirm. The second image is more abstract, which I consider a good thing in my quest for different ways to photograph a familiar subject.

If the frostweed ice phenomenon is new to you, you’re welcome to look back at previous posts to learn more.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 14, 2019 at 4:41 AM

Where there are ducks there may also be duckweed

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A few posts back you saw ducks gliding on a pond at the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge on October 6th. Near those ducks I photographed several abstractions created by the duckweed, Lemna minor, that covered portions of the pond. I don’t know the identity of the other tiny plants that were mixed in.

At this scale you’ll have trouble discerning all the tiny things in the images.
Click the thumbnail below to see an enlarged excerpt from the first picture:

Here’s a more expansive view showing the interface between duckweed and bulrushes:

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 3, 2019 at 4:41 PM

Bulrush reflections

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Bulrushes and water lilies were common at the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, as you see above. In one place without water lilies the bulrushes drew my attention by the way they made reflections in the water. Of my two dozen experiments in trying to record those abstract reflections, the one below strikes me as the most interesting; I can almost imagine that someone had knitted or woven the image.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 30, 2019 at 4:40 PM

Light and dark in Galveston County

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As you saw a couple of posts ago, on October 4th we went on a field trip to a property in Galveston County managed by the Marathon Oil Company. The visit produced these two moody portraits showing the opening bud on a green milkweed, Asclepias viridis, that we found growing there. I can’t help thinking of side and front views on a prison rap sheet, only here it’s native plants that are wanted.

The contrast between white and black stood out in this growth on a fallen and decaying pine trunk:

Dark and light characterized the seed head remains of a brown-eyed susan, Rudbeckia hirta:

On a much larger scale, a venerable tree (perhaps an ash) at another property on the field trip also intrigued me with its interplay of light and shadow as well as the hollowed-out part of its trunk:

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 18, 2019 at 4:48 AM

Not many people at Niagara Falls

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Okay, so this post’s title is misleading; in fact hordes of tourists were at Niagara Falls when we visited on July 25th. Nevertheless, not many people at Niagara Falls photograph the plants there, but you could count on me to get a few botanical pictures. The first one shows swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) and yarrow (Achillea millefolium). In the second photo you’re seeing fruit clusters on a staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina).

Thanks to horticulturalists at the New York State Parks Department for identifying the species of the milkweed and the sumac. I didn’t ask them to try to figure out the identity of the tree whose remains you see standing below; perhaps it was another sumac.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 12, 2019 at 4:36 AM

Flowers and stems

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What you see in the informational picture above from August 29th on the shore of Brushy Creek Lake in Cedar Park may be an annual aster known locally as hierba del marrano, Symphyotrichum subulatum. Then I wasn’t sure and wondered if the plant might be Mexican devilweed, Chloracantha spinosa. After vacillating, I’m leaning toward my first assumption again.

Whatever the plant is, I experimented with abstract compositions in which one of the small flower heads stood out against the vague network of lines that the long and slender stems created in the background.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 25, 2019 at 4:41 AM

Dynamic snow-on-the-prairie

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Here’s a dynamic look at snow-on-the-prairie, Euphorbia bicolor,
at Parmer Lane and Wildhorse Ranch in Manor on August 24th.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 6, 2019 at 4:48 AM

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