Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘purple

Purple, green, yellow

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While photographing some spiderwort flowers (Tradescantia sp.) in our side yard on April 1st I spotted a small iridescent sweat bee (perhaps Augochloropsis metallica) also making a visit. For a closer view of the non-human visitor, click the icon below:

Before the invention of lenses, probably no one had been able to see the details in a bee’s eye.

 

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The quotation in my previous post from David Mamet’s new book Recessional included an appropriately disparaging reference to the corrupt group Black Lives Matter, whose unsavory beliefs and practices I detailed here on July 23 of last year and on February 2 and March 18 of this year. The sordid saga continues. Last week New York magazine ran a story with the headline “Black Lives Matter Secretly Bought a $6 Million House” and subhead “Allies and critics alike have questioned where the organization’s money has gone.” The purchase of that house was in addition to the 10,000-square-feet, $8.1 million Toronto mansion that once served as the headquarters of the Communist Party of Canada, as well as co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors’s “real estate buying binge” in which she snagged four high-end homes for $3.2 million in the United States. Let’s hear it for Black Lives Matter’s championing of the downtrodden masses!

You can read the New York exposé to learn about the shady maneuvers the group went through to keep the public in the dark about who the owners of the mansion actually are. It’s true, after all, that Black Lies Matter.

 

 

The New York magazine article also pointed out an egregious external measure to suppress the April 2021 article in the New York Post that revealed Patrice Cullors’s purchase of four homes for millions of dollars: “It’s currently not possible to share the Post’s article on Cullors’s home purchases on Facebook because the site’s parent company, Meta, has labeled the content ‘abusive.’” Of course in reality it’s Meta’s suppression of the truth that’s abusive.

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman

 

 

 

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 12, 2022 at 4:36 AM

Flower tower

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After looking at this photograph—but not while taking the picture—I imagined that the spiderwort (Tradescantia sp.) growing in our side yard on April 1st was a flower tower. The long green leaning “leg” on the right is a stem, while the symmetric one on the left is a leaf. Likewise for the two shorter green segments inside that triangular frame at the bottom.

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Yesterday afternoon WordPress popped up a message I’d understandably never seen before: “Congratulations! Your site, Portraits of Wildflowers, passed 500,000 all-time views.”

 

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman

 

 

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 4, 2022 at 4:36 AM

Posted in nature photography

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Verbena vortex

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You may have heard that on Monday night several tornadoes swept through the Austin area. One touched down in Round Rock, a large suburb adjacent to Austin on the north. Other tornadoes hit Hutto a little farther east and then Elgin, about 20 miles east of Austin. You can learn about the damage from Austin television stations KXAN, KVUE, and KEYE. Fortunately those tornadoes seem not to have killed or seriously injured anyone, though they destroyed some homes and damaged hundreds of others in varying degrees.

With the tornadoes in mind, I took obvious liberties with the photo of the prairie verbena, Glandularia bipinnatifida, that you see above. It was the first flower of that species I found this season, on March 20, coincidentally the first day of spring. Click the thumbnail below for the non-vortexed version.

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 23, 2022 at 4:29 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , ,

Texas mountain laurel buds

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On March 18 at McKinney Roughs Nature Park in Bastrop County the buds of a Texas mountain laurel bush were opening. The familiar scientific name Sophora secundiflora has given way to Dermatophyllum secundiflorum.

 

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People claim lots of things, some seemingly more far-fetched than others. When Copernicus in the 1500s and then other scientists in the 1600s claimed that the earth goes around the sun, rather than the other way around, many people didn’t believe it. It seemed counter to the daily experience of watching the sun move in an arc through the sky above a seemingly immobile earth. Evidence, particularly after telescopes got perfected, eventually showed that the strange claim was true.

In October of 2020, shortly before that year’s presidential election in the United States, the New York Post broke a story saying that Hunter Biden, the son of then-presidential candidate Joe Biden, had brought a laptop computer to a repair shop in Delaware but had never returned to pick it up. As happens in such cases, the unclaimed laptop then became the property of the repair shop’s owner. The laptop per se wasn’t especially valuable, but the data on it was. The laptop’s hard drive contained many photographs showing Hunter Biden doing drugs and cavorting with prostitutes. More importantly, the hard drive also contained e-mails implying that Hunter Biden was getting lots of money from foreign sources in the expectation of access to or influence with Joe Biden.

Given that the main American elections take place early in November, the story could plausibly have been what people have come to call an “October surprise”: condemnatory “information” that a partisan reveals to the public shortly before the election in an attempt to influence people not to vote for the candidate that the partisan opposes. For example, one month before Election Day in 2016 came the release of the Access Hollywood videotape in which candidate Donald Trump was seen speaking lewdly about women. The tape was real, not a fake, and it probably did influence some people not to vote for Trump.

Now let’s return to the 2020 Hunter Biden laptop story. The first question a responsible person would ask is whether the story was true. Might anti-Biden partisans have made it up in an attempt to discredit candidate Biden? Such fakery does sometimes happen, after all, so initially we can’t rule out that possibility—politics is hardly known for its nobility, is it?

Unfortunately, people at many traditional news outlets immediately claimed that the Hunter Biden laptop story was “Russian disinformation,” yet they never brought forth any evidence to prove that it was Russian disinformation. Worse, the social media platforms Facebook and Twitter suppressed even any discussion of the claim, with Twitter going so far as to completely lock the account of the New York Post, the oldest American newspaper still in print.

As becomes an ethical news organization, the New York Post had offered plenty of evidence that the Hunter Biden story was true. The mainstream media not only refused to consider it, but claimed with no evidence that the story was false. That was unethical.

And then there were the 51 former “intelligence” officials who signed a letter saying the Hunter Biden laptop story “has the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” They admitted they had no evidence that that’s what it was but kept pushing the disinformation conjecture anyhow. With all their connections, couldn’t they at least have asked around among their current counterparts to find out what they knew about the story and what they were doing to check its authenticity? Actually the letter writers didn’t even have to do that: soon after the letter appeared, the DNI (Director of National Intelligence) and the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) announced that the Hunter Biden laptop story was not Russian disinformation. That made no difference to the many people pushing the “Russian disinformation” narrative.

This past week the New York Times unexpectedly ran a story about Hunter Biden. As the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board put put it on March 18: “The Times waddled in this week with a story on the ‘tax affairs’ of the President’s son, including this gem in the 24th paragraph: ‘Those emails were obtained by The New York Times from a cache of files that appears to have come from a laptop abandoned by Mr. Biden in a Delaware repair shop. The email and others in the cache were authenticated by people familiar with them and with the investigation.” Notice that the admission occurred only in the 24th paragraph of that story. Talk about burying the lead. Apparently the Times figured that that confirmation just barely qualified as part of “all the news that’s fit to print.”

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman

 

 

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 21, 2022 at 4:30 AM

Bluebonnet flowering in December!

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A week or so back we were heading north on the Mopac access road when the Lady Eve spied a bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis) flowering. Bluebonnets typically reach their peak in April and fade away by May, so while it’s not unusual in December for this species to put out basal rosettes of leaves in preparation for the following spring, it’s highly unusual for a bluebonnet to flower now.

Because of the rarity, yesterday morning I went back with my camera gear, parked adjacent to the stretch of Mopac where Eve had glimpsed the bluebonnet (but I as the driver hadn’t), and walked along the highway embankment to see if I could find the plant—and find it I did. The fact that we haven’t even had any frost yet must have helped produce and maintain this prodigy. Even as the inflorescence shown above was beginning to show its age, a fresh one was opening:

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 10, 2021 at 4:35 AM

Portraits from our yard: episode 14

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We have an American beautyberry bush (Callicarpa americana) growing in three places around our house. On October 6th I stood on a stepladder to aim mostly downward at this fruiting branch. The one yellow leaf is the first fall foliage you’ve seen here for 2021—ironic, given that afternoon high temperatures stayed in the 90s for at least a week after I took the picture.


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For at least five years, some astute social observers have been classifying Wokeness as a secular religion, complete with unquestionable dogma, proselytizing zeal, priests, and a prohibition against blasphemy. For a good explanation of the phenomenon, you can watch a remote talk that John McWhorter gave to the International Literature Festival in Berlin on September 9th.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 18, 2021 at 4:29 AM

To Bastrop we did go

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For the first time since the spring, on September 23rd we drove 45 miles southeast to Bastrop State Park. One reason for going there at this time of year was the expected flowering of several plants that don’t grow in Austin. Among them are two species of Liatris, including the Liatris aspera, rough blazing-star, shown here. Below is a closeup of one flower cluster.

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I recommend Jonathan Haidt’s new essay about how monomania makes groups illiberal and stupid.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 4, 2021 at 4:31 AM

Prairie agalinis time again

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For the past month I’ve been seeing prairie agalinis flowers (Agalinis heterophylla) around central Texas. Above is a portrait from the Riata Trace Pond on September 14th. Four days earlier I’d taken some pictures along the eastern fringe of the Blackland Prairie in Elgin showing how the plant grows:


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Two Tokens of Our Times, or
There’s a Their There*

1) A website offering information about many artists says this about one of them: “Anders Petersen is a Swedish photographer who was born in 1944. Their work was featured in numerous exhibitions at key galleries and museums….” Anders Petersen is a man. One man. His photographs are plural; he isn’t.

2) Last week marked one year since the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. To commemorate the anniversary, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) quoted the justice’s words:

“The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity… When the government controls that decision for a woman, she is being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.”

Except the ACLU bowdlerized the quotation: “The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a [person’s] life, to [their] well-being and dignity… When the government controls that decision for [people], [they are] being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for [their] own choices.”

You can find out more about this in an article in The Daily Mail.

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* I’m playing off one of Gertrude Stein’s most often quoted lines: “There is no there there.”

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 30, 2021 at 4:37 AM

Purple prairie clover young and old

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It’s not often I’ve shown you purple prairie clover, Dalea purpurea. Here are two contrasting takes from the northeast quadrant of Mopac and US 183 on August 22nd. First you have a limited-focus view of fresh flowers, then a decaying seed head in front of some sunflowers, Helianthus annuus.


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Diversity? What diversity?

One of the three* sacraments in the Holy Trinity of the Critical Social Justice religion is Diversity. (The other two, in case you’ve just arrived from Pluto and aren’t au courant, are Equity and Inclusion.) Anyone not a true believer soon recognizes that the diversity in question refers only to group characteristics like skin color. It certainly doesn’t include diversity of thought. On the contrary, in the spirit of Orwell’s “Freedom is slavery,” the sacrament of Diversity requires waging a crusade against ideological diversity.

I recently learned that one ray of enlightenment has broken through, and it’s right here at the University of Texas (UT) in Austin. “The University of Texas has worked with private donors and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick to establish a new think tank to promote conservative ideas on campus.” Now, you might argue that a state university has no business promoting conservative ideology. All things being equal, I’d agree with you. But in this case things are very far from equal. As a Campus Reform article notes: “In total, UT employees donated $642,693.43 from 2017-2018. Of that amount, 94.7 percent went to Democrat politicians or Democrat organizations, while just 5.3 percent of the donations were made to Republican politicians or Republican organizations.” With such an enormous ideological imbalance already existing, it would be hypocritical to begrudge establishing one little program on the other side of the political spectrum. But of course leftist activists will rail against it anyway—all in the name of Diversity.

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* Never content for long with the status quo, no matter how radical, the Critical Social Justice religion seems to be in the process of adding a fourth sacrament: Belonging. Once Belonging gets officially inducted into the pantheon, a fifth sacrament should soon be a-borning. What will it be? Safety? Solidarity? Openness (which will of course mean ‘closed to evidence that contradicts it’)? Tolerance (which won’t tolerate dissent)?

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 13, 2021 at 4:32 AM

Another colony

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It wasn’t only a colony of partridge pea plants I found along Wells Branch Parkway at Strathaven Pass on August 13th. The first colony I found there that morning was purple bindweed, Ipomoea cordatotriloba. In today’s pictures you see them happily flowering away in the summer heat as they twined and vined themselves over other plants, including some common sunflowers, Helianthus annuus. In the first shot, which is an overview looking somewhat downward, it’s hard to appreciate the rings and arcs that the vines formed on the sunflowers. The closer picture that follows, which I took from near the ground looking upward, reveals those rings and arcs.


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Hypocrisy of the Day

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) maintains an online map showing the current status of Covid-19 infections for every county in the United States. Almost all counties are currently colored red, indicating the highest rate of infection. The CDC recommends that in those counties even fully vaccinated people should wear masks in indoor gatherings, as well as outdoors in crowds where social distancing can’t be maintained. For the past year and a half, Democrats have strongly urged Americans to follow the CDC’s guidelines and have villanized people who question those guidelines.

This past weekend in California’s Napa Valley, which is marked red on the CDC map, Nancy Pelosi hosted a fundraiser for the Democratic Party. The event was held outdoors, but a video taken there has revealed that the attendees were packed together side by side down both sides of several long tables. Not one attendee was seen to be wearing a mask. The only masks in evidence were on the faces of the waitstaff. It’s also true that Democrats have touted their advocacy for “diversity,” yet most of the attendees appear to have been old white folks. There were more non-whites among the small group of servers than among the large group of attendees.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 24, 2021 at 4:31 AM

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