Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘nature

It wasn’t Ezekiel who saw this wheel way up in the middle of the air

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Like the silverleaf nightshade you saw a picture of the other day, this firewheel (Gaillardia pulchella) was also growing along the Capital of Texas Highway on June 14th. As in that other photograph, because I used my ring flash and a small aperture (this time f/18), the bright sky came out in an unnatural way, but one I find pleasant. You can decide whether the tiny spider is a pleasant addition.

The title of today’s post is a reference to an African-American spiritual based on the Book of Ezekiel in the Jewish Bible.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 8, 2021 at 4:21 AM

Silverleaf nightshade flower

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One of Austin’s most common wildflowers is silverleaf nightshade, Solanum elaeagnifolium. I photographed this one along Capitol of Texas Highway on June 14th. Flash and a small aperture of f/20 caused the bright sky to come out a very dark blue. You can see it that way if you look at the full image against a black background; in contrast, the white surrounding the photograph on this page will make most of you (and me) see the deep blue as black. You may also imagine that the flower’s yellow stamens are little bananas, but I wouldn’t advise eating them unless you want to suffer the effects of toxic masculinity. (Many plants in the nightshade family are poisonous, but some, e.g. tomatoes and potatoes, have become staple foods.)


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What’s poisonous in our legal system is the denial of due process and the attempt by ideologues to change our legal ethos from “innocent until proven guilty” to “guilty until proven innocent” or even “guilty because accused.” My niece, Adrienne Levy, works for a law firm that represents people whose due process has been violated. Her arguments carried the day in an important case in Colorado last month.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 6, 2021 at 4:33 AM

Tiny bees in a white prickly poppy flower

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I don’t know about the species of these tiny bees, but the flower they’re reveling in is Argemone albiflora, the white prickly poppy. This picture comes from June 14th along the Capital of Texas Highway.


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The other day I watched a roughly one-hour-long talk given by economics professor Glenn Loury. Toward the end he became impassioned at times about the need to better educate African-American students so they can fairly compete intellectually. If you’d like to hear the last part of his talk, you can begin listening at around 54:10 and continue to 1:03:00 in the video.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 5, 2021 at 5:46 AM

Not an anomaly

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It’s not an anomaly for Tinantia anomala to grow wild in a semi-shaded portion of our yard, as I was happy to discover a colony doing this past spring. Today’s front and back portraits are from April 25th, though I noticed some of these wildflowers still blooming at our place well into June.

Also not an anomaly among common names for plants are some designed to keep people from confusing a species with a similar one. That’s the case here, where the vernacular name false dayflower alerts you that this isn’t the plain old dayflower, Commelina erecta, that you recently saw here and that’s in the same botanical family. The false may be helpful, but I still wish Tinantia anomala had a more positive name than that or the widow’s tears that people also call it. How about purple dayflower or noble dayflower?


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What is an anomaly, at least during my lifetime in America, is the recent refusal by some media outlets to allow the discussion of certain subjects. Take the Covid-19 virus. In 2020, there were people, including reputable scientists, who conjectured that the virus had originated in a lab in Wuhan, China, where coronaviruses had been under study for years. Many media outlets labeled that conjecture a “conspiracy theory” and said it had been debunkedeven though no evidence had been brought forth to disprove the conjecture. People attempting to discuss the topic on Facebook had their posts taken down.

In 2021, some countries have authorized the drug ivermectin as a therapeutic in treating Covid-19. India, the second most populous country in the world, is one of them. Other countries offering ivermectin as a treatment for the disease are South Africa, Zimbabwe, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Mexico. Here’s an overview. On the other hand, some sites say ivermectin is not effective against Covid-19. You can search the Internet and find other sources that are against ivermectin as a therapeutic for Covid-19. I don’t know the truth of the matter. What I do know, though, is that institutions like Facebook and YouTube and Twitter should not be banning people from presenting legitimate evidence that a medicine is effective.

If you’ve been reading my posts for the last few months, you know I’ve been speaking out against censorship. Other have, too, like Bari Weiss: “How have we gotten here? How have we gotten to the point where having conversations about important scientific and medical subjects requires such a high level of personal risk? How have we accepted a reality in which Big Tech can carry out the digital equivalent of book burnings? And why is it that so few people are speaking up against the status quo?”

I hope you’ll join us by using your power of speech in the service of free speech.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 3, 2021 at 4:38 AM

Kananaskis Range

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Mount Wintour

Three years ago today we spent time in the Kananaskis Range of the Canadian Rockies.

Opal Ridge, North Summit

Here are some of the majestic mountains we saw there. Thanks to Alberta Parks for identifying them.

Ribbon Peak

Lower Kananaskis Lake

Some happy aspen trees (Populus tremuloides) we saw along the way.

And here’s a relevant quotation for today:

  • Where do the highest mountains come from? I once asked. Then I learned that they come from out of the sea. The evidence is inscribed in their stone and in the walls of their summits. It is from the deepest that the highest must come to its height. — Friedrich NietzscheAlso Spracht Zarathustra (1883-91), Part III, Chapter 45. Translation by Graham Parkes, Thus Spoke Zarathustra (2005) p. 132.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 11, 2020 at 4:54 AM

New Zealand: Cathedral Cove trees and textures

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Probably the most visited bit of nature on New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula
is Cathedral Cove, where we spent several hours three years ago today.

Leaning out over the cliff in the first photograph are pōhutukawa treesMetrosideros excelsa.

Me being me, I was taken with all the appealing rock textures.

I took dozens of pictures, of which you’re seeing a few.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 7, 2020 at 4:51 AM

Sinuous leaf tip at the Bojo Nature Reserve on December 17th

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A close view at f/4 makes for a shallow depth of field.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 27, 2020 at 4:45 AM

Bojo River

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On our trip to the Philippines we visited the Bojo [pronounced Boho] River Nature Reserve in Aloguinsan on the west side of Cebu. Local residents of what was (and still is) a fishing village have been recruited to guide eco-tours of the Bojo River, and that’s how Eve and I found ourselves on December 17th in a slender outrigger being paddled down the quiet river on a leisurely ride. What botanical purpose the “partially overlapping pancakes” serve in the second picture, I have no idea.

We approached the farthest point on the tour as we neared the place where the Bojo River empties into the Tañon Strait. The rocks on the river banks get steeper there, as the next three pictures confirm.

The “bathtub rings” in the final two photos show how much the river rises and falls with the incoming tide.

Eventually the water got choppy, and it probably wouldn’t have been safe to go farther in such a small boat.
In the distance we could see the island of Negros.

Upcoming posts will bring you more pictures from the Bojo River Nature Reserve.

©2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 25, 2020 at 4:44 AM

Kawasan Falls

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On December 16th we crossed over to the west side of Cebu and went down to Kawasan Falls. It swarmed with tourists, the people who run it charge for every little thing, and the water has been partially diverted from the falls. Nevertheless, here are two views of the place, one vertical and the other horizontal, one full-length and the other truncated, one at a slow shutter speed and the other at a high shutter speed.

Here’s the area adjacent to the falls:

On the walk back I couldn’t help noticing a decaying palm frond in the river that flows out from the falls.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 20, 2020 at 4:37 PM

Reptile-textured tree stump remains

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This reptile-textured tree stump fascinated me in
John Bryan State Park near Yellow Springs, Ohio, on July 21.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 2, 2019 at 4:49 AM

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