Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘nature

Varieties of foggy experience

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Last December 17th I did a post called “Subtleties of fall.” The following day was still fall, and after getting up and seeing some fog, which isn’t common here, I decided to go out and take photographic advantage of its subtleties. My first stop came just half a mile from home along the dip on Floral Park Dr. from which I could look into the southern part of Great Hills Park with a telephoto lens.

Then I went on to Riata Trace Pond.

One of my favorite foggy finds there was a greenbrier vine (Smilax bona-nox) that had climbed high on a black willow tree (Salix nigra) whose now-fallen leaves revealed what they had so recently concealed.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 9, 2019 at 4:38 AM

Posted in nature photography

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The effects of a good rain

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Steve Gingold recently showed some Massachusetts waterfall photographs, so I thought I’d follow suit. What made that possible down here in Austin was the cooperation of nature on the night of December 26th, which gave us several hours of lightning and thunder plus the 3 2/3 inches of rain that fell onto my part of town. The next morning, eager to see what effect the rain had had, I went straight to one of the two good waterfalls I know in this area, the one on a tributary of Bull Creek along Spicewood Springs Rd. near the Capital of Texas Highway. The resulting photographs differed from a couple of others I’ve shown of this place over the years because the sky had completely cleared and the sun was high enough to cast tree shadows on the waterfall.

Isolated froth at the base of the falls off to the right undulated somewhat with the flowing water, but not so much that I didn’t try taking half a dozen pictures of it with the camera set at the same 1/1250 of a second shutter speed I’d used to stop the action in the first photograph.

Even with a high ISO of 2000, such a quick shutter speed required a broad aperture of f/4, so to maximize what I could get in focus I leaned over and aimed straight down. What I didn’t realize while still at the waterfall is that aiming vertically created in the bubbles a lot of little images of me with my upraised camera. If you’d care for a much closer look at the bubbles and my inadvertent self-portraits, you’re welcome to click below.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 30, 2018 at 4:55 PM

An appropriate view from my computer room window

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Behold a red and green yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) casting shadows onto the otherwise sunny trunk of an Ashe juniper tree (Juniperus ashei) on the morning of December 4th. You may remember from the beginning of this year a close-up of a squirrel biting off one of these little fruits from the same yaupon tree.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 25, 2018 at 4:43 AM

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What hedge apple, horse apple, monkey ball, Osage orange, and mock orange refer to

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The previous post highlighted (and backlighted) the yellow leaves on a tree that botanists call Maclura pomifera. The vernacular names hedge apple, horse apple, monkey ball, Osage orange, and mock orange all refer to the tree’s large and rugged fruits. Today’s photograph shows some that still clung to branches at the Arbor Walk Pond on December 3rd. In case you’re wondering, these fruits aren’t edible, at least not to people. Pit in Fredericksburg reports having seen deer eating them and a squirrel struggling to haul one up a tree; you can read descriptions in his second set of comments on the last post.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 16, 2018 at 4:37 AM

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

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Two years ago today we spent a couple of morning hours at Red Rock Canyon
National Conservation Area on the west side of Las Vegas.

You’re seeing a few pictures from there.
You’re not seeing the busloads of tourists that also swarmed there.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 25, 2018 at 4:50 AM

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument

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Two years ago today we stopped at Arizona’s Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, which we’d never heard of it till we were in the area.

The oozing, highly textured trunk of an aspen tree (Populus tremuloides) caught my attention there.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 21, 2018 at 10:29 AM

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

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 7, 2018 at 4:44 AM

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