Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘sky

Varieties of wispy clouds

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On February 18th it began with a sort of linear yin-yang created by a contrail:

At two other locations in my neighborhood I continued photographing the wispy clouds.

I was fascinated by how varied they were.

I ended up with dozens of pictures.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 22, 2019 at 4:37 AM

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So did I get any colorful sunset pictures?

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The last post showed two uncolorful clouds-plus-vulture pictures that
I took along Lost Horizon Dr. on January 6th while waiting for the sun to set.
Soon some colors tinged the clouds, first subtle ones and then some more vivid.
In the second photo, the white clouds were closer and moved faster than the others.

Eventually the sun set.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 19, 2019 at 4:44 AM

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Clouds and more

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Near dusk on January 6th I stationed myself at a high place along Lost Horizon Dr. with a good view of the sky, hoping the sunset might be pleasant. As I took the cloud picture above, I noticed that a bird had flown into the frame at the lower right. With no time to change to better settings on the camera, all I could do was pan to follow the bird, which fortunately got closer. Three seconds after the first photograph (thanks, metadata) I took the second, whose dark subject seems to my non-avian-attuned eyes to be a vulture.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 17, 2019 at 4:49 AM

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Strobilus, strobili

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On October 29th I photographed some of the horsetails (Equisetum spp.)
around the pond adjacent to the Central Market on N. Lamar Blvd.
The plant shown above was forming its strobilus.
The one below had gotten farther along in the process.

The second photograph exemplifies point 24 in About My Techniques.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 18, 2018 at 4:44 AM

Pink and yellow thrills a fellow; pink and blue is pretty too.

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Palafoxia callosa goes by the common name small palafoxia because at half an inch in diameter its flower heads are indeed smaller than those of other species in the genus. The background in the first photograph owes its yellow to cowpen daisies, a few of which you’ve already seen from the same September 2nd session along Lost Horizon Dr. in my Great Hills neighborhood.

Back on August 24th along the right-of-way beneath the power lines west of Morado Circle I portrayed a small palafoxia from the side so that the blue sky could be the background, as you see in the picture below. The heads in this non-composite composite species consist entirely of disk flowers; there are no ray flowers.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 24, 2018 at 5:44 PM

Looking up at Hopewell Rocks

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You’ve already seen picturesque rocks and peeling tree trunks from Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick, on June 7th. At one point I looked up from the shore there and saw this prismatic band running across the clouds.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 16, 2018 at 4:32 AM

Seven years

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Scientists tell us that over a period of seven years every cell in our body gets replaced. Not so with the “cells,” i.e. posts, in Portraits of Wildflowers, all of which are still here for your delectation. While a few of you have seen the post that started everything off on June 4, 2011, many of you have not, so here’s a copy of that first entry, which I entitled “Another Beginning.”

A basket-flower, Centaurea americana

In my “About This Column” page I noted that everything we create must have a beginning. The photograph shown here marked the beginning of what I think of as a new approach to nature photography for me. The date was May 3, 2000, and the place was Round Rock, a rapidly growing city north of Austin. I was in a field on one side of a cul-de-sac, a bit of prairie that members of the Native Plant Society of Texas had taught me was a good place to see lots of native species. That day I’d gone there alone so I could take my time photographing (other people understandably get impatient if I spend fifteen minutes or half an hour in the same spot, as I often do when I take pictures).

I was pleased to find a colony of basket-flowers, Centaurea americana, growing in the field, but they weren’t far from the road that had brought me there (which has since been expanded to a superhighway). In order to keep the road and the apartments across the way from ruining my picture, I leaned down so that my eyes would be closer to the level of the flowers. Not good enough: I could still see distracting things in the background. I ended up lying flat on the ground—a skin-threatening thing to do in Texas—and looking up at a single basket-flower so I could isolate it against the sky. The result was the picture you see here, which has become my best-known photograph. A view from this angle makes it clear why Anglo settlers called this a basket-flower.

(Here is information about Centaurea americana, including a map showing where the species grows.)

© 2011, 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 4, 2018 at 4:40 AM

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