Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘red

Virginia creeper creeping colorfully upward

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Long-time readers have heard me say, and central Texans don’t need me to tell them, that this area doesn’t have a lot of appealing fall foliage. One exception is Parthenocissus quinquefolia, a climbing vine known as Virginia creeper or, to keep the glory from going to another state, five-leaf creeper. On December 1st I was driving south on US 183 in Cedar Park, an adjacent suburb north of Austin, when I glimpsed a vertical band of red ahead and to my right. I knew right away that it had to be Virginia creeper, and I made sure to stop and photograph this unusually good display of it.

As is almost always the case along a main road in a populated area, I had to work at getting myself into positions—typically low ones—where I could exclude poles, power lines, stores, signs, vehicles, non-native trees, and other unwanted things from my pictures.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 16, 2017 at 4:49 PM

Out of season

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Botanical field guides tell us the time(s) of the year when a species normally flowers. “Normally” is the operative word, based on observations over decades. Often what has proved true keeps on being true: books say that our prickly pear cacti bloom in the spring, and sure enough, I’ve never seen a prickly pear flower here in any other season. Some other species are freer in their stirrings, and that was the case with the firewheels I found on December 3 along the Colorado River at Loop 360. Gaillardia pulchella is described as blooming in the spring and occasionally into the summer, but here I found a small group that had put out some very healthy-looking flowers just three weeks before Christmas.

I’d gone out that morning to try for some pictures of fog, a rare occurrence here. I didn’t get any good fog pictures, but the firewheels made up for that. The low light led me to use an uncharacteristically wide aperture of f/2.8. That accounts for the photograph’s shallow depth of field, with only the nearest ray and the closest part of the central disk coming into good focus. At the same time, the limited depth of field caused distracting background details to graciously dissolve into amorphous areas of muted colors.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 8, 2017 at 4:46 AM

Red Rock Canyon

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On August 28th we entered Alberta’s Waterton Lakes National Park and checked out Red Rock Canyon.

Red Rock’s red rocks rock! Graceful grades of gray greatly enhance the red.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 6, 2017 at 7:45 PM

Fall foliage in Wimberley

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One of the scenic places we went in Wimberley on November 21st was Jacob’s Well. There we saw exactly one tree showing bright fall colors, this rusty blackhaw, Viburnum rufidulum. I think you’ll agree that that one was enough to make the visit to Jacob’s Well worthwhile.

A couple of weeks ago you got to look at another scenic place in Wimberley.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 3, 2017 at 4:42 AM

From Monday to Wednesday

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On Monday evening, October 23rd, I bought a copy of John Abbott’s Damselflies of Texas. On Wednesday at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center I photographed these two reddish damselflies in the penultimate stage of their mating sequence on a fern. Thanks to the field guide I’d so recently come home with, I identified them as desert firetails, Telebasis salva. They’re small, with a body length of from 24–29mm, or roughly one inch.

I see that the Spanish name for this damselfly is caballito del diablo. That means ‘little horse of the devil,’ presumably because of the red color. If you’d like to see more details of these little devil’s horses, click the excerpt below.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 1, 2017 at 7:40 AM

Prairie flameleaf sumac fruit

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In my neighborhood on September 26th, the first time out taking pictures since returning from Alberta twelve days earlier, I found luscious fruits on some prairie flameleaf sumac trees (Rhus lanceolata). A few of the leaflets on this one were also turning red rather early in the season.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 26, 2017 at 4:46 AM

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Intimations of autumn

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Our time in the Canadian Rockies and vicinity lasted from August 24th to September 14th. That wasn’t late enough for any widespread fall color (as I think of grand fall color from having grown up in New York), but here and there we saw hints of bigger changes to come. The two pictures in this post are from the edge of Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, on November 7th. Not only do the photographs offer intimations of autumn, but also intimations of the color of the water that draws people in large numbers to Emerald Lake.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 1, 2017 at 4:53 AM

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