Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘pink

Way up there on the GAIN scale

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Way up there on the GAIN (great appeal in natives) scale for our grasses is gulf muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris), which turns a delicious pink in the fall. It grows as close to Austin as one county east, but landscapers are understandably fond of planting it here. That’s why I could photograph these specimens along South Lakeshore Blvd. on November 17th. Texas is at the southwestern edge of gulf muhly’s range, which I was surprised to find tapers off in the opposite direction through Long Island, where I grew up, and into southern New England. The second picture offers a closer look at the pleasant disarray. In both images I used the contrasting blue sky to set off the pink of the grass.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 14, 2020 at 4:32 AM

Posted in nature photography

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Prairie agalinis has been out for some time now

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So much has been going on in 2020 that I’ve neglected to show you any prairie agalinis, Agalinis heterophylla, which has been out in various places for a good while now. The first time I photographed any this year was September 16th, along the North Fork [of the] San Gabriel River in Williamson County, as shown in today’s portrait. These flowers vary in length from about 0.75 to 1.25 inches.

I don’t know about you, but when I look at the larger-spotted, ellipse-shaped part of this flower, my brain tends to see it as concave even though I know it’s convex. Call it a floral equivalent of a Necker cube. Oh, what a world of illusions we live in. And in lieu of a quotation today, you’re welcome to turn your eyes and brain loose on some more optical illusions.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 31, 2020 at 4:30 AM

More from the July 29th outing on the Blackland Prairie

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Let me continue with the July 29th photo session near a pond on the Blackland Prairie in far northeast Austin that produced the torchlike Clematis drummondii picture you saw here last time. On another of those vines I noticed that some of its silky strands had been pulled together; by getting close I made a soft portrait that included the spider that had done the pulling together. Click the excerpt below if you’d like a closer look at the spinner (which is what spider means).

I also made a pretty pastel picture of marsh fleabane buds (Pluchea odorata).
It’s been five years since that species last appeared in these pages.

And here’s an unrelated quotation for today: “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.” — U.S. Supreme Court, “West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943).

UPDATE: In yesterday’s post I’ve added a link below Emma Lazarus’s sonnet so you can hear the famous part set to music by a famous immigrant to the United States.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 22, 2020 at 4:45 AM

The picture is the right way

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You might think I mistakenly rotated this picture 90° counterclockwise from its actual orientation. I didn’t. Zeltnera beyrichii is commonly called mountain pink, and although there are no real mountains in central Texas, the 19th-century Anglo settlers in this region called the hills mountains, which they might as well been, given the obstacles to movement they created in a land without many roads. More to the point, mountains are made of stone, and mountain pinks do often seem to emerge right out of solid rock. On July 6th I came across several of these plants growing horizontally out of the vertical face of a limestone ledge (the grey at the right) on Fireoak Dr. in my “mountainous” northwest part of Austin.

Over the years I’ve often I’ve used a small aperture and aimed more directly into a bunch of dense mountain pink flowers and buds to create a “more is more” sort of picture that plays up all the complexity of the inflorescence; this time I went for a softer approach by shooting from the side with a wider aperture.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 12, 2020 at 4:43 AM

Gaura by any other name

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The bottom portion of this portrait may let you imagine you’re in the mountains. For good or ill, I was only in the hills of northwest Austin on April 26th.

Botanists have done away with the genus Gaura, transferring all its members to Oenothera. This photograph may show the former Gaura coccinea, now Oenthera suffrutescens. The common name would still be scarlet gaura. Time for Shakespeare again: that which we call gaura, by any other name would look as strange.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 9, 2020 at 4:29 AM

Two stages of a Texas thistle

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Around the pond at the Arbor Walk on April 15th I saw several stages of Texas thistles (Cirsium texanum),
including these two. Both views include blue, first looking down toward the water, then up at the sky.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 28, 2020 at 4:53 PM

A new take on spittlebug froth

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On April 5th at the Riata Trace Pond I noticed various plants with spittlebug froth on them,
including this pink evening primrose, Oenothera speciosa.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 25, 2020 at 4:59 PM

An unusual pink evening primrose bud

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I’ve long been intrigued by the buds of pink evening primrose, Oenothera speciosa, especially as they open. Usually they’re pretty straight, but this one at the Riata Trace Pond on April 5th attracted me all the more because of its curved tip. People have told me that the little green insect, which I’m not sure I even noticed at the time, is an aphid nymph.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 23, 2020 at 4:38 PM

A view from below

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Most of the time we see flowers from above. A look from below is often more interesting artistically, even if (or perhaps in part because) it’s harder to get. The view from down under also lends itself to abstraction, as in this photograph that emphasizes the curving lines and surfaces in a pink evening primrose (Oenothera speciosa). I made this ant-enhanced portrait at the Riata Trace Pond on April 5th.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 17, 2020 at 4:23 PM

Redbud tree blossoming

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How about the pink and blue of a blossoming redbud tree
(Cercis canadensis var. texensis) against a clear sky?
I photographed this one about an hour southeast
of Austin in Smithville on March 6th.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 15, 2020 at 4:43 PM

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