Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘pink

A horsemint portrait

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Here’s yet another floral portrait from the Capital of Texas Highway on June 14th.
This one shows the tiered inflorescence of a horsemint, Monarda citriodora.


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“It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.” — Mark Twain, Following the Equator, 1897.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 9, 2021 at 4:46 AM

Yellow with a blush of pink

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Our two local species of Tetraneuris both go by the common name four-nerve daisy. The one that I find in much larger numbers and that I’ve therefore most often shown here is T. linearifolia. On June 18th in the town of Cedar Park I came across the other species, T. scaposa, and took advantage of the find to make a portrait with some nearby mountain pinks offering their contrasting color in the background.


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Here’s an interesting bit of history I learned from an article by Jarrett A. Lobell in the July/August 2021 issue of Archaeology, which is one of the magazines I subscribe to: “When it was built nearly 5,000 years ago, the Great Pyramid of Giza was the tallest structure in the world, a title it would retain for more than 3,500 years, until it was surpassed by several of England’s medieval cathedrals.”

Since 2010 the world’s tallest building has been the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. I can’t imagine it will retain its title for another 3500 years; it’s highly unlikely to still even exist 350 years from now. Sic transibit gloria mundi.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 2, 2021 at 4:43 AM

Time again for mountain pinks

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Flowers and bullet-like buds of Zeltnera beyrichii on June 18th in Cedar Park.
Thinks to Kathy Werner for tipping me off to the location.
(In return I tipped her off to the location of some bluebells near there.)


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A few days ago I finished reading Douglas Murray’s excellent book The Madness of Crowds, in which he pointed out something I’d begun noticing, too: the hits that come up in response to certain searches on Google are biased. Murray gave several examples, one of which was that when he searched for “straight couples,” many of the pictures that came up in Google Images showed gay couples. His book is from 2019, so I tried that experiment for myself last week to see what sort of results I’d get in mid-2021.

The top row of hits I got for “straight couples” contained seven pictures. The first showed a lesbian couple. The second showed a gay male couple. The third showed a male-female couple. The fourth showed a lesbian couple. The fifth showed a male-female couple. The sixth and seventh both showed lesbian couples. In summary, only two of the seven pictures in the top row matched the search string “straight couples.”

It’s practically impossible for a set of hits so different from the search string to come up by chance. To understand why, imagine all the pictures of couples out there on the internet; billions of them have been posted. Now imagine that you searched for pictures of couples without specifying any particular kind of couple. Using the estimate that 5% of couples are same-sex, I did the calculations to find out how often a random grab of seven pictures of couples would yield an assortment with five gay couples and two straight couples. The arithmetic shows you can expect that to happen only 0.14% of the time, or approximately 1 out of every 700 times. And remember, that’s without specifying what kind of couple you’re after. The fact that I searched specifically for straight couples makes the 5-gay-and-2-straight result I got much less probable than the already tiny 0.14% we’d expect if we didn’t specify the kind of couple.

The only conclusion possible, in fact the one Douglas Murray came to, is that Google is cooking the books—and since Google is a search engine and not accounting software, cooking the books means rigging the search algorithm to distort reality. And this from the company whose original motto was “Don’t be evil.”

Oh, and just in case anyone feels an overwhelming ad hominem urge to label Douglas Murray homophobic for pointing out what he did about Google, he happens to be gay.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 28, 2021 at 4:27 AM

Brown-eyed Susan colony

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Here’s a wildflower that hasn’t appeared in these pages for a good while: Rudbeckia hirta, known as brown-eyed Susan or black-eyed Susan. (Maybe Susan’s the sister of the Barbara whose buttons you saw last time.) Mixed in are a few firewheels, Gaillardia pulchella, many of which had already gone to seed by the time I took this picture at Tejas Camp in Williamson County on June 7th. Among some of the brown-eyed Susans I found the basket-flower, Plectocephalus americanus, that’s shown below. Sometimes my hair looks like that, except for the pink.


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My country’s current administration is changing the word mothers to birthing people in some official documents. Honest. At least greeting card companies have 11 months to update their products for May 8, 2022, which will be the next Birthing People’s Day. A whole lot of changes are gonna have to get made. Whereas ma and mom were pet forms of the now discredited and unspeakable m-word, I guess children will fondly call the people who birthed them their bir. And of course the verb smother will have to be changed to sbirthingperson. As in: Google, Facebook, and Twitter keep sbirthingpersoning the expression of truths they don’t want you to know.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 12, 2021 at 4:34 AM

Pink yarrow

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I’d read that yarrow flowers (Achillea millefolium) could be pink.
Nevertheless, all of the ones I’d seen were white.
Finally in Great Hills Park on May 18th I came across a few pink ones.

The Old English word for this plant was gearwe, which has evolved into our modern yarrow.
Similarly, yet used to be gīet; year was gēar; and the geard that became yard still showed its link to garden.

And we can’t leave without mentioning that pink
was the name of a flower before it became the name of a color.

For an interesting and readable account of yarrow’s distribution and genetics,
you’re welcome to check out an article from A Wandering Botanist.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 29, 2021 at 5:37 AM

Pale green crab spider

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On May 1st, about half an hour before I encountered the fawn you recently saw here, I stopped to photograph a rain-lily flower (Zephyranthes drummondii) that was turning pink as it shriveled away at the end of its inevitably brief life. Once I got close to the flower I found a pale green crab spider on it. A somewhat orange prickly pear cactus flower (Opuntia engelmannii) provided a great backdrop. I don’t recall ever previously photographing this combination of colors.

If you’re interested in the art and craft of photography, points 1, 5, 6 and 7 in About My Techniques apply to this picture.

And here’s a quotation for today: “I find that sometimes when I go into a community that’s not my own, or a community that has a lot of issues attached to it, I have to resist wanting to say something about how I think they could be better, or how I think the government has wronged them.” — Chloé Zhao, 2021 Academy Award winner for best director.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 14, 2021 at 4:35 AM

Rain-lily bud and flower

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Zephyranthes drummondii; April 27 in my neighborhood.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 10, 2021 at 4:33 AM

Two views of a pink evening primrose flower

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In the first view the pink evening primrose flower (Oenothera speciosa) serves as a backdrop for a Texas bindweed flower (Convolvulus equitans). For the second picture I lay on the ground and aimed upward so the pink of the flower would play off the blue of the sky as much as possible.

I made these portraits on April 20th at the same place in Austin where I photographed a cucumber beetle and greenthread flowers.

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Two days ago I mentioned that if you run fast you move quickly but if you stand fast you don’t move at all. A word like fast that has opposite meanings is called a contronym or Janus word or auto-antonym. You’re welcome to read an article that gives other examples of such words. If you’re aware of contronyms in any other language, I’d be glad to hear them.

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Now here’s a new English language challenge: can you come up with a sentence containing the words “adopted finished stirred”? The three words must appear exactly that way, with no punctuation marks or other words between them, and the full sentence must be grammatical. I’ll give a solution in a couple of days.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 30, 2021 at 4:35 AM

Pink evening primrose colony flowering along Interstate 35

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We drove close to 300 miles yesterday, making a big southern loop that took us southeast of San Antonio. On the last leg of the trip, coming north on Interstate 35 through Buda, I pulled over for a great colony of pink evening primroses (Oenothera speciosa) on the edge and up the embankment of the highway. I took a bunch of pictures, this one being the very last.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 3, 2021 at 4:36 AM

Brighter and darker takes on Mexican buckeye blossoms

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Ungnadia speciosa on March 20th in northwest Austin. What a difference the background makes.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 31, 2021 at 4:33 AM

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