Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘sunflower

Two disparate emblems from the Blackland Prairie

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On September 7th I headed out to the Whitehorse Ranch subdivision that’s been going up on the west side of Manor for the past few years. Ever on the lookout for new ways to portray familiar subjects, I noticed I could line up the soft bract of a snow-on-the-prairie plant (Euphorbia bicolor) with a sunflower (Helianthus annuus) beyond it, as you see above. I wasn’t the only one plying my trade there: men were working on nearby houses to the accompaniment of Mexican music. Because it was a construction site, I noticed a certain amount of junk lying around on the ground. One thing that caught my fancy was an “empty” and partly scrunched water bottle, inside of which the remaining bits of liquid had evaporated and then re-condensed on the inner surface. Picking up the bottle carefully so as not to dislodge the drops, I photographed the abstraction.

And here’s a quotation relevant to the second picture: “A drop of water, if it could write out its own history, would explain the universe to us.” — Lucy Larcom, The Unseen Friend, 1892.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 9, 2020 at 4:39 AM

Sunflowers on the prairie

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Behold the flower head of a “common” sunflower, Helianthus annuus,
on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin on August 24th.

Sunflower seed head remains also have their appeal, whether from the front or from behind.

As much as I normally don’t like shooting up into a white sky,
once in a while it serves as a good way to isolate a subject.

You may imagine the stem at the bottom of the second image continuing on into the stem
at the top of the third image. I didn’t do that on purpose but I like the way it came out.

©2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 9, 2019 at 4:41 AM

Soar, sunflower, soar

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Helianthus annuus. Cedar Park, Texas. June 22.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 10, 2017 at 3:34 AM

California sunflowers

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Outside the visitor center at the John Muir National Historic Site on November 2, 2016, I couldn’t help noticing a tall, bushy plant that I later learned is a California sunflower, Helianthus californicus, a species I hadn’t even known exists. Below is a closer look at one of its flower heads. Those of you in the depths of winter could probably use a dose of cheery yellow ‘long about now.


© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 11, 2017 at 4:57 AM

Botanically speaking, fall is here.

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As you’ve been able to confirm from the recent pictures of snow-on-the-prairie and snow-on-the-mountain and goldenrod, central Texas has gone into full fall botanical mode, even if afternoon high temperatures are still around 93°F (34°C). Today and in the next bunch of posts you’ll get a look at some more of that autumnal activity.

One thing that native plant people look forward to in central Texas at this time of year is Maximilian sunflowers, Helianthus maximiliani. Not many have appeared so far this season, but on September 7th I photographed a few in a field along Grand Avenue Parkway in Pflugerville. Years ago I found hundreds of these sunflowers in that field but mowing has almost wiped them out there now.

Let me point out, as I’ve done in previous years, that the flower heads of Maximilian sunflowers tend to open asymmetrically. You can see that in the disk at the center of this flower head.

For an explanation (or reminder) of why today’s photograph shows dozens and dozens of flowers rather than just one, you can (re)visit a post from 2014.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 16, 2016 at 4:53 AM

Four years

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Four years ago on this date I launched into what has turned out to be an unbroken sequence of daily posts covering the rest of 2011, all of 2012 through 2014, and all of 2015 so far. To commemorate that, today I’ll begin a miniseries of one previously unshown picture a day from each of those five calendar years. Following that, you’ll have a fourth round of photographs from the great February trip to New Zealand, then some more Texas pictures, then a fifth and final round from New Zealand. After all that, it may finally be time to slow the pace a bit and post less obsessively, as you sane people do. That’s still likely to mean pictures frequently, even if not every day. (I know, I said the same thing a year ago, so let’s see what happens.)

The wildflower that appeared in these pages most often in 2011 was the sunflower, so here from June 7, 2011, on the Blackland Prairie in far northeast Austin is an abstract take on the opening of a sunflower bud.

Sunflower Bud Opening 7287

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 6, 2015 at 4:25 AM

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