Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘nature

Showy palafoxia

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Do you remember the small palafoxia you saw here two weeks ago? On September 27th at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center I photographed some showy palafoxia, Palafoxia hookeriana. The first picture is an isolated portrait of a flower head as it was opening.

The second photograph, a side view of a somewhat later stage in the opening, reveals the glandular hairs that characterize this species. I can confirm that the plant feels gooey.

Below is a flower head that has fully opened. Because I aimed horizontally when I took the picture, you see parts of some adjacent showy palafoxia plants.

This palafoxia species isn’t quite native in Austin, but years ago I photographed a few growing wild in Bastrop, one county to the east.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 7, 2018 at 4:44 AM

Lindheimer’s senna

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Walking along the North Walnut Creek Trail on September 19th I glimpsed some bright yellow flowers at a distance through the woods. Could they be my first Maximilian sunflowers for this year? No: when I hiked over to investigate I found the flowers were Lindheimer’s senna, Senna lindheimeriana, a member of the pea family.

Even close to the ground some of the senna plants were flowering.

Several senna leaflets still had morning dewdrops on them.

So did a few of the flowers.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 29, 2018 at 4:51 AM

Clematis drummondii: a familiar take and a new one

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On August 17th I stopped along S. 10th St. in Pflugerville to photograph an embankment covered with Clematis drummondii that had gone into the fluffy phase that earned this vine the colloquial name “old man’s beard.” After walking almost back to my car I spotted one clump of strands drooping in a way I’d rarely seen. Naturally I got close to photograph it, and then I noticed the dead ant that’s near the bottom of the picture, along with a few other tiny dead insects inside the clump. My first thought was of a spider but I saw no evidence of one. Those insect deaths remain a mystery.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 27, 2018 at 4:57 AM

Fallingwater, falling light

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After decades of reading articles and seeing documentaries about it, on June 14th we finally made our way to Mill Run, Pennsylvania, for Fallingwater, the house that the architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed to straddle a waterfall rather than sit alongside it. The places where I most wanted to stand for pictures, the base of the main waterfall and the banks of the creek flowing away from it, unfortunately remain off limits to visitors. I can’t show you the pictures I might have made, so here instead are a few idiosyncratic takes on light and shadow at Fallingwater.

While I couldn’t look up from the base of the falls, I could and did aim straight down from the top.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 22, 2018 at 4:54 AM

A red theme

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Wanderers through countryside with lots of prickly pears (Opuntia engelmannii var. lindheimeri) know that the cactus often attracts certain bugs. This is one of those, Narnia femorata, on a tuna, or fruit of the prickly pear cactus, in the Zilker Nature Preserve seven years ago today. The bug is a nymph in one of its early instars, which are the developmental stages that the larva of an insect passes through. Click below if you’d like a closer look at the bug as it appeared in a different frame.

Although Texas in the summer of 2011 was suffering one of its worst droughts in decades, when I recently looked back at my archive for August 12th of that year I saw that I went photographing in four locations that day and ended up with hundreds of pictures, like this one along Scenic Drive of ripe snailseed fruit (Cocculus carolinus):

I also found from looking at my archive that I went out taking pictures on 19 of the 31 days in that torrid August of 2011. You could say that I lived up to the motto of the USPS (United States Photographic Service): “Neither heat nor drought nor sun nor sweat stays these intrepid image gatherers from the due documentation of their appointed rounds.”

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 12, 2018 at 4:49 AM

Two insights

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1) “Third-graders who spend a class session in a natural outdoor setting are more engaged and less distracted in their regular classroom afterward than when they remain indoors, scientists found in a new study.” You’re welcome to read more about the study.

2) For those of you in the Austin area, you’d do well to check out the Blanton Museum’s exhibit called “Ancestral Modern,” which features Aboriginal Australian paintings. The show will remain up through September 9th. As a sample, here’s a painting by Rosie Nangala Fleming called “Three Dreamings: Fire, Mulga Seed, and Emu,” from 1993.

Click to enlarge.

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 3, 2018 at 4:44 AM

Posted in nature photography

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No flowers, buds, plants, grasses, trees, seeds, or bugs

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Bubbles at Base of Small Waterfall in Creek 7986

Doesn’t this flowing water at the base of a small waterfall in Great Hills Park on July 18, 2014, look like ice?

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 18, 2018 at 4:43 AM

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