Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘plants

Bayside Park

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The bay that Bayside Park sits on the western shore of is Mobile Bay.
In that Alabama park on August 10th I photographed a vine covered-pine tree.
The vine could have been trumpet creeper, Campsis radicans, which also grows in Austin.

After turning the other way, toward Mobile Bay,
I found a dark plant beneath a dark cloud.

I photographed a few other things, and then, as I was about finished, some birds flew into view. My telephoto lens was in the camera bag. The 24–105mm lens that was on the camera was set to only 56mm and the shutter speed to only 1/320 of a second (as I learned afterwards from the metadata). Those are poor settings for photographs of birds in motion but there was no time to change anything: all I could do was pan to follow the birds while I got off four shots in as many seconds. To my surprise, there was no blurring of my subjects. Shannon Westveer later identified them for me as American white pelicans, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 22, 2019 at 7:00 AM

(WF) cubed + G cubed

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Today’s title is a coded description of the land that is upstate New York: WonderFully Well-Formed WaterFalls and Gorgeous Gorges Galore. In fact the pictures from those kinds of places make up the majority of all the ones I took on the trip. Rather than going in chronological order, which would mean that for a time you’d see post after post with the same types of photographs, I’ll maintain variety by interspersing* gorge and waterfall pictures from New York State with those of other subjects in other places.

Although I grew up on Long Island and visited various sites upstate during my childhood and later on, somehow until July 27th of this year I’d never made it to Letchworth State Park, which bills its Genesee River gorges as the Grand Canyon of the East. Having been to the Grand Canyon of the West, I find the claim a bit of a stretch. Still, there’s no denying that Letchworth is a worthy place to visit. It’s home to three large and impressive waterfalls that truthfully go by the names Lower, Middle, and Upper, along with dozens of smaller falls. Today’s pictures come from the vicinity of the Lower Falls, which we saw first.


How about the strata in the walls of those rocky gorges?

The angularity of some structures made me think I was looking at the ruins of ancient buildings.
And as always, some plants find rootholds in seemingly unlikely places.

Look how wide the Lower Falls are. I wanted to shoot from further left but I haven’t learned how to fly.

* In current English we can intersperse and disperse and even asperse but we can’t just sperse; in early modern English sperse was a synonym of disperse.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 17, 2019 at 4:43 AM

More from Naruna Way

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During the same May 9th foray to the pond at Naruna Way on the prairie in northeast Austin
that led me to the white egret you saw last time, the vibrant green of the fresh growth
along the pond’s shore also called out to be photographed. I obliged.

The combined reflections of the young plants and of the bulrushes
beyond them made for a worthy picture in its own right.
Click below to zoom out into a panorama: Monet, here we come.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 17, 2019 at 4:34 PM

Mount Diablo State Park

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Two years ago today we drove up, up, up to the top of California’s Mount Diablo. On the way we passed these picturesque boulders, which you’re free to imagine a Neolithic people had put in place:

We also passed a hillside covered with plants that reminded me of the sand sagebrush (Artemisia filifolia) I’d seen so much of in New Mexico and Arizona. I wonder if this was Artemisia californica:

In contrast to all that dryness, compare what I thought was a happily fruiting madrone tree, Arbutus menziesii, but which Tony Tomeo says is actually “a toyon, Heteromeles arbutifolia. It used to be known more commonly as California Holly, and is what Hollywoodland, which is now Hollywood, is named for. It is very susceptible to fireblight.”

And here was one of the scenic views looking out from Mount Diablo:

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 2, 2018 at 4:33 AM

Far ferns — not

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Just because I enjoyed seeing the lush ferns in New York and Massachusetts and other places on our recent trip doesn’t mean I can’t find some good ones in Austin as well. So it was that on June 24th I spent time photographing along the cliff that looms above the west side of Capital of Texas Highway between Courtyard Dr. and RM 2222.

What allows ferns to thrive in such a sunny, open place is the perpetual seeping of water through portions of the rock. In the first picture you see how the ferns form a column from the base of the cliff right up to the top. Enough water makes it into the ditch at the base to support cattails as well. The second picture shows that little alcoves in the seeping cliff also partly shelter ferns from the full intensity of the Texas sun.

The last photograph gives a closer view of the embankment a couple of hundred feet further north, where two kinds of ferns take lush advantage of the seep. The ones in the back are Adiantum capillus-veneris, called the southern maidenhair fern. The ones overshadowing them may be Thelypteris ovata var. lindheimeri, known as Lindheimer’s marsh fern, which Bill Carr notes is often found growing with maidenhair ferns.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 18, 2018 at 6:54 PM

Evangeline Beach

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On the cool (maybe 50°F) and overcast afternoon of June 6th, after visiting Nova Scotia’s Grand-Pré National Historic Site, with its exhibit about Longfellow’s “Evangeline,” Evangeline and I stopped briefly at nearby Evangeline Beach.

Notice the distant greenery in the first picture. Because our visit came at or near low tide, I was able to walk out for a closer look at those plants, which are underwater twice each day.

In addition to the lone rock in the second picture, some of the broad rock strata closer in to the shore caught my attention as well.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 24, 2018 at 4:40 AM

Three-and-a-half kinds of ferns at Garden in the Woods

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One pleasure of traveling in the Northeast is getting to see lush ferns in many places.

Hay-scented fern, Dennstaedtia punctiloba

In particular, today’s green post shows you three species of ferns I photographed on June 12th at the Garden in the Woods in Framingham, Massachusetts.

Northern maidenhair fern, Adiantum pedatum

Thanks to horticulturist Anna Fialkoff for identifying them.

Maybe cinnamon fern, Osmundastrum cinnamomeum

The half is this shadow of a fern on a stone:

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 8, 2018 at 4:38 AM

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