Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘pond

Powdery alligator flag

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On August 10th I drove out to the boardwalk pond in River Place for the first time this year. With many people still not going to work, the nature trail that wraps around two sides of the pond before following a creek through the woods turned out to be too well traveled for me to take it, as I’d planned. Instead I kept to myself on a non-trail side of the pond and still found plenty to keep me photographically busy.

What I thought were giant bulrushes seem actually to have been powdery alligator flags (Thalia dealbata), a fact I’m grateful to Linda at Lagniappe for pointing out. Here are views of a looser and a denser inflorescence. Along with the purple, who would expect those touches of bright red on the sheath that once enclosed the would-be flowers?

Here’s an unrelated quotation for today: “Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît point,” “The heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing about.” — Blaise Pascal, Pensées (Thoughts), 1670.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 14, 2020 at 4:35 AM

A pond as a pleasant background, twice

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Pink evening primroses reach their peak here in the spring, when large colonies of Oenothera speciosa sometimes form. Even so, individual plants are often found flowering through the summer and fall, like this one that I photographed on July 24th at the edge of a pond off Naruna Way on the Blackland Prairie. I also coaxed the pond to pose behind a spiderwebbed Texas thistle seed head, Cirsium texanum.

And here’s an unrelated but relevant quotation for today: “So we must beware of a tyranny of opinion which tries to make only one side of a question the one which may be heard. Everyone is in favour of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people’s idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage.” — Winston Churchill in the U.K. Parliament on October 13, 1943.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 8, 2020 at 4:38 AM

An unobstructed view of a pickerelweed colony in bloom

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The previous post teased you by allowing only a faraway glimpse of a flowering pickerelweed colony through a thick frame of giant bulrushes. Today’s post parts the veil and zooms you across the water to see those plants as they looked on May 19th when they brightened the edge of a Blackland Prairie pond in far northeast Austin. For a closeup of a Pontederia cordata flower spike, you can check out a 2015 post from the same location.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 29, 2020 at 4:37 AM

From Muhlenberg to Kulmbacher

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In far north Austin on November 19th I drove into a still-under-construction subdivision that already had fully paved streets with signposts showing their names. On Kulmbacher Drive I parked and walked over to check out a pond. A few dense stands of bare plants that I took to be slenderpod sesbania (Sesbania herbacea) caught my attention, and now they can catch yours. Do you see, as I do, a resemblance to the Muhlenbergia that I’d photographed the previous day? And in case you’re wondering about the many little white dots in the lower half of the picture, they’re asters that were happily flowering their heads off.

The last post told about the Muhlenberg that Muhlenbergia was named for. Kulmbacher in German means a person from Kulmbach. Who the Kulmbacher was or is that the Austin street refers to eludes me. Also eluding me was the egret you see below between two poverty weed bushes.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 30, 2019 at 4:43 AM

Riata Trace Pond in autumn

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On November 15th the Riata Trace Pond in northwest Austin had taken on an autumnal look. Above you see the feathery stage of poverty weed (Baccharis neglecta), and below the fluffy stage of goldenrod (Solidago sp.).

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 13, 2019 at 4:34 AM

Dawn

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Channeling my inner Steve Gingold, on the morning of September 4th I left home while it was still dark outside and drove to Mills Pond in Wells Branch to see what dawn might bring. The sunrise was pleasant, even if not as dramatic as what we’re used to seeing from Massachusetts. In part that’s intrinsic: Austin isn’t known for great sunrises and sunsets the way some parts of the country are. The fact that the pond is on the prairie and surrounded by a neighborhood means a photographer has no chance to get up high for a broad view that includes only natural scenery. Confronting those drawbacks, I went for a silhouetted sunrise.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 20, 2019 at 4:42 AM

5100

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Over the 26 days from July 17 through August 11 we drove 5100 miles on a journey that took us as far afield as Toronto and New York. This was a combination trip:

  • People, including some I hadn’t seen since 1973.
  • Culture, primarily in the form of museums, most of which we got into for free thanks to reciprocal privileges from our membership in Austin’s Blanton Museum.
  • Scenic places (had to do at least some nature photography, right?).

On July 17 we made the fatiguing 650-mile push to Memphis. The next morning I photographed a pond along the Austin Peay Highway northeast of Memphis.

Here’s a second view of that pond:

Not long afterwards I stopped at another pond a little further east:

In the shallows of that second pond grew a plant that, because of reflections, seemed to be floating in clouds:

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 15, 2019 at 4:47 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

Discovering a new place by looking at a map

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We wanted to go out walking on February 24th so I pulled up a local map on my computer screen to pick a place. As I scrolled around on the map I noticed Mills Pond in the Wells Branch community some nine miles northeast of our house. After 42 years in Austin I’d never heard of Mills Pond, even though I’ve photographed places close to it. That alone was a good reason to check it out. Here are four pictures from our visit.

A few trees were beginning to green out along the pond’s shore.

A very different color drew attention to this redbud tree (Cercis canadensis).

Look at the trees reflected in the creek leading to the lake.

Focusing on the breeze-rippled surface of the creek rather than on the tree reflections gave a different effect.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 6, 2019 at 4:37 AM

Subtleties of fall

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Here are two subtle views of fall from the Riata Trace Pond on the overcast afternoon of November 21st.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 17, 2018 at 4:48 PM

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