Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘nature photography

Tooting your own horn

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A few days ago an e-mail went out announcing the results of the 2018 NPSoT photo contest. Below I’ve copied the parts of that message pertaining to me (toot toot). Some of the pictures (or variants) have appeared in my posts but others have not. You can click an image to enlarge it quite a bit.

 

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Photo contest winners from 2018

By Bill Hopkins
Photo contest winners from all 12 Level III Ecoregions in Texas. Winners were chosen by popular vote and first announced at the 2018 Fall Symposium in San Antonio.

 

Arizona/New Mexico Mountains Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Fallugia paradoxa, Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Central Texas Great Plains Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Castilleja purpurea var. purpurea, US 84 near Coleman

Cross Timbers Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, North of Lampasas, Erythronium albidum

High Plains Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Penstemon buckleyi, Monahans Sandhills State Park

Coast Prairies and Marshes Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Gaillardia pulchella, Coreopsis spp., Galveston

East Central Plains Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Argemone albiflora, Bastrop State Park

Southwestern Tablelands Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Astragalus racemosus, Caprock Canyons State Park

Western Gulf Coastal Plain Ecoregion
Steven Schwartzman, Osmunda cinnamomea, Big Thicket

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 10, 2019 at 4:16 AM

5

with 34 comments

5 is a pleasant number. It’s a prime in its own right and is also the sum of the first two primes, 2 and 3. In addition (can you anticipate the pun?), 5 is the sum of the squares of two consecutive integers, 1 and 2. Those lesser integers 1, 2, and 3 are Fibonacci numbers, as is 5 itself. The most common stylized star that people draw has 5 points. Some plants have compound leaves with 5 leaflets. Other plants produce flowers with 5 petals or rays or stamens or sepals or bracts.

If I’m dwelling on the number 5, it’s because today marks the fifth anniversary of daily posts in Portraits of Wildflowers. Who’d have expected such day-after-day fidelity? Not I, going into it, yet WordPress tells me today’s post is number 1986 (on some days I did more than one). Breathe and drink and eat we must, but five years is a long time for a voluntary daily activity to last. Now I think it’s time to ease the pace a bit and not feel honor-bound, or maybe more realistically obsession-bound, to post every single day. There’ll still be plenty to see and show, especially as this has been a good wildflower spring. Here are two examples of that.

The first photograph portrays a colony of Gaillardia pulchella (firewheels, blanket flowers, Indian blankets) with some Engelmannia peristenia (Engelmann daisies) in the background along TX 20 east of Lockhart on May 3. Note in the lower left the seed pods of some Lupinus texensis (bluebonnets). The dark, dry vertical plants scattered among the firewheels seem to have been the remains of Indian paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa).

Firewheel Colony with Engelmann Daisies and Bluebonnet Pods 2682

The second example of this spring’s great wildflowers comes from a still-undeveloped property along Louis Henna Blvd. in southern Round Rock on May 17. You’re looking at basket-flowers (Centaurea americana), Indian blankets (Gaillardia pulchella), greenthread (Thelesperma filifolium), and prairie bishop’s weed (Bifora americana).

Basket-Flower Colony with Other Wildflowers 4744

Now you’ve seen them. If you want to know the moral:
Landscapes are good when they’re abundantly floral.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

 

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 6, 2016 at 5:01 AM

Stenosiphon linifolius

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False Gaura Flowers and Buds 3339

From August 31st along Oasis Bluff Dr. out in the Texas Hill Country northwest of Austin comes a native species you’re seeing here for the first time, Stenosiphon linifolius, known as false gaura, but I assure you the blossoms and buds in the photograph are the real thing. They form implausibly long and slender floral spikes that can rise taller than a person.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 22, 2015 at 4:06 AM

Crossing flower stalks of Verbena xutha

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Verbena xutha Flower Stalks Crossing 9791

Click for larger size and better quality.

Here’s a photograph from a year ago today in Pflugerville’s Northeast Metro Park showing two crossing flower stalks of Verbena xutha, known as gulf vervain.

If you’re interested in photography as a craft, you’ll find that points 1, 2, 4, 6 and 18 in About My Techniques apply to this photograph.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 28, 2015 at 4:59 AM

New Zealand: Kākā

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Kaka Bush Parrot 6460

Taking a one-day pause in the sequence of geological and climatological photographs that predominated at the end of the New Zealand trip, let’s back up a few days for one more picture from my February 21st visit to Wellington’s Zealandia. There I managed to get several portraits of the native parrot Nestor meridionalis, which I assume got its Māori name of kākā from the sound the bird makes, much as English transliterates the repeated call of a crow as caw caw.

There are two subspecies of kākā, and this appears to be the northern one. You’re welcome to read more about the kākā, whether a current overview or a historical account.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 16, 2015 at 3:42 AM

Uncommon coreopsis

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Coreopsis Flower Head in Bubbles 2959

No, this post’s title doesn’t refer to some rare species, but who’d expect to find a coreopsis plant alive and apparently still thriving as it drifts sideways in an unaccustomed current? You see, the record rains of May had temporarily turned a ditch along Burnet Rd. by the old Merrilltown Cemetery in far north Austin into a brook. When I stopped there on May 29th, little rafts of bubbles kept flowing by and briefly clinging to the buds and flower head shown here before being swept south, while the coreopsis, still rooted, could undulate in the water without being swept away.

This is the second time you’ve recently seen coreopsis in an unaccustomed way, the first being as a dense colony covering parts of a Galveston cemetery.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 6, 2015 at 4:46 AM

The resurgence continues

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Black-Eyed Susans Amid Burned Bastrop Forest 6089

Today is the official birthday of the United States of America, which now enters its 240th year as a nation. The country has its share of problems—which country doesn’t?—but let’s hope for a resurgence. On that theme, some of you will recall, and others of you will now learn, that in September of 2011 a huge fire burned for days and destroyed most of the pine forest in Bastrop State Park, along with over 1600 nearby homes.

In the first spring after the devastating fire I posted some early evidence of recovery in the form of a prominent white prickly poppy flower whose pristine brightness contrasted with the burned pines beyond it. One month ago today I went back for my first visit to the area in 2015, and the colorful views that I saw in many places encouraged me. Here’s one showing how densely the brown-eyed (or black-eyed) susans, Rudbeckia hirta, were flowering.

In order of prominence, this photograph offers you blue, white, and at the bottom a bit of red, so a happy reversed red, white, and blue to you on this Independence Day.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 4, 2015 at 5:25 AM

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