Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘red

Red of a sort that shouldn’t be here now

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The warm autumn in Austin this year led to the blooming of some plants that normally wait till spring. Among those were three Indian paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa) that we found in the wetland pond section of Barkley Meadows Park in Del Valle on November 12th. Below is a view looking straight down.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 30, 2020 at 4:35 AM

Snow-on-the-mountain from the ground

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When I say “from the ground” I mean lying on my back on the ground with my 24–105mm lens zoomed out at or near the wide end to play off some gone-to-seed snow-on-the-mountain plants (Euphorbia marginata) against the clear blue sky. As you see, horizontal and vertical compositions are both possible.

I found these plants adjacent to the pond on Discovery Blvd. in Cedar Park on November 18th.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 23, 2020 at 4:33 AM

Red and yellow for this fellow

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At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on October 23rd, how could I not be drawn to clusters of red possumhaw fruits (Ilex decidua) in front of some Maximilian sunflowers (Helianthus maximiliani)? If you’re in a gloomy place, I hope this combination brightens up your day.

And here’s a relevant quotation for today: “Almost every person, from childhood, has been touched by the untamed beauty of wildflowers.” — Lady Bird Johnson.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 19, 2020 at 4:34 AM

Time for some fall foliage

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Central Texas doesn’t put on the grand autumn displays that colder climates claim as a point of pride, and yet you’ll find us faithful to fall foliage in our fashion. It’s time for some winsome pictures of autumn color to begin wending your way. As a first, take a look at this prairie flameleaf sumac (Rhus lanceolata) that we found along a street called Arterial 8 at the far end of the Jester Estates neighborhood in west Austin on November 8th. Notice the reddish-black clusters of tiny fruits in the right half of the image.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 15, 2020 at 4:34 AM

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Standing cypress out of season

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From May through June is when we normally expect the bright red flowers of Ipomopsis rubra, known as standing cypress and Texas plume. Yet there it was flowering away on October 23rd at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. The purple in the background came from prairie verbena, Glandularia bipinnatifida, a species I see blooming here for much of the year.

And here’s a related quotation for today:

Life moves out of a red flare of dreams
Into a common light of common hours,
Until old age brings the red flare again.
—William Butler Yeats, The Land of Heart’s Desire, 1894.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 14, 2020 at 4:36 AM

Red and yellow against blue

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Four years ago today we visited the John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez, California. In addition to touring John Muir‘s house, we checked out what was growing in the native plant garden out front. The first picture shows a couple of oso berries, Oemleria cerasiformis. The genus Oemleria is monotypic, meaning that it includes this one species and no other. Regarding the common name, oso is the Spanish word for a bear, and that’s appropriate, given that there’s a bear on the state flag of California. The second picture depicts California sunflowers, Helianthus californicus, which I’d never heard of till then.

Rather than a quotation today, you’re welcome to read some theories about the origin of the name California.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 2, 2020 at 4:38 AM

Dew-covered rain-lilies

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From September 25th in Springfield Park in southeast Austin, here’s a dew-covered rain-lily (Zephyranthes chlorosolen). The pink tinges in the white tepals’ tips at the top foretell the stage to come so soon; that magenta tale is brightly told below.

Today’s related quotation is in the form of a poem, “The Noble Nature,” by Ben Jonson.

It is not growing like a tree
In bulk, doth make man better be;
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere:
A lily of a day
Is fairer far in May,
Although it fall and die that night—
It was the plant and flower of Light.
In small proportions we just beauties see;
And in short measures life may perfect be.

 

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 14, 2020 at 4:29 AM

Reflecting on cardinal flowers

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Along Bull Creek on September 12th I reflected on cardinal flowers.

In fact I reflected literally and made some portraits like the first two here,
which show the flowers’ images on the moving surface of the creek.

Even without the cardinal flowers’ rich red, other reflections in Bull Creek made for appealing abstractions.

And here’s a reflection on language: “Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” — George Orwell in “Politics and the English Language,” which is even more relevant now than when it appeared in 1946.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 1, 2020 at 4:33 AM

A predilection to turn red

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The leaves of smartweed plants (Polygonum sp.) tend to turn yellow and red. On August 25th I positioned myself with the sun in front of me so that its light would transluce this smartweed leaf and saturate the red. Cameras don’t like looking into the sun—which is to say photographers generally don’t like it—because the light bouncing around off the lens elements can create unwanted artifacts. That’s how there came to be orbs at the top of this picture. Technically it’s a defect, and I could easily remove it, but you may find it’s a smart look for a smartweed leaf. The plant’s stems also noticeably have red in them:

The answer to yesterday’s question asking which independent country has the lowest population density is Mongolia, with only about 2 people per square mile. Eliza Waters quickly came up with the right answer, and Peter Klopp soon followed.

When we look at a globe of the world, we’re accustomed to seeing countries represented in proportion to their areas. For a change, you may want to check out a map that represents countries according to their populations (click the map there to enlarge it). You’ll notice some countries appear smaller or even much smaller than you’re used to seeing them (e.g. Canada, Mongolia, Australia, Ireland, Russia, Algeria, Saudi Arabia), and others larger (e.g. Nigeria, India, the Philippines, Japan, Bangla Desh).

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 21, 2020 at 3:51 AM

An epitome of red

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Yesterday Steve G. posted a picture of cardinal flowers (Lobelia cardinalis). It’s a species that Texas shares with Massachusetts, so I figured if his were flowering ours might well be too. I went to check a stretch of Bull Creek where I found cardinal flowers last September; sure enough, I found plenty again. Of my many new pictures I decided to show this portrait taken at f/2.8, which for such a wide aperture somehow managed to keep the frontmost flowers in focus while also doing what you’d expect and creating a soft feel overall.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 13, 2020 at 3:36 AM

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