Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘Texas Hill Country

Ferns and mosses at Bull Creek Park

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Five years ago today I visited Bull Creek District Park, where I found these mosses and southern maidenhair ferns (Adiantum capillus-veneris) thriving on a cliff along Bull Creek after heavy rains in May.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 29, 2020 at 4:44 AM

Enchanted Rock, part 5

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A couple of years ago I was shown a photograph taken by Brian P. Barnes of a geological structure at Enchanted Rock I’d never seen or even heard of. Eventually I learned that it’s called Window Rock, and that’s where I most wanted to go during our November 1st visit. No one in the park’s office could point out on a trail map exactly where the structure is, but one of the staff marked off a stretch of the Loop Trail and told me that Window Rock is located a short distance off that section of the trail. After trying several side paths and not finding Window Rock, I finally came to one that took me to what I’d been looking for.

That path led to the rock but not initially to the best photographs. The picture above shows how the side of the formation that greeted us was shadowed, given that the sun was in front of us. I got around that difficulty by literally working my way around to the other side for better lighting.

As with the jug-like boulders in the previous post, I spent time portraying
Window Rock from various angles and in different degrees of abstraction.

The view below strongly reminded me of the moai on Easter Island.

And so ends the series of posts devoted to Enchanted Rock.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 7, 2019 at 4:36 AM

Enchanted Rock, part 4

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Artists in general and photographers in particular sometimes like to depict the same person or thing in various ways. The Cubists got excited about showing multiple views of a subject simultaneously, as in Marcel Duchamp’s famous “Nude Descending a Staircase.” At Enchanted Rock on November 1st I took a more-conventional approach, making separate photographs showing different aspects of an intriguing boulder formation that looked like huge jugs or flasks with short hoodoos in lieu of stoppers. The first photograph gives you an overview of the formation.

The second view isolates part of the formation that was central in the first image.

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t include some closer and more-abstract takes on these formations,
the first of which gives you a better look at the orange and yellow lichens on the boulder above.

The two abstractions below continue playing up the rough texture of the weather-sculpted rocks.

You might think you’re looking at the ruins of some ancient civilization in a desert.

The wispy clouds that stayed with us the whole time made for excellent backdrops.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 5, 2019 at 4:47 AM

Front- and backlit Lindheimer’s senna pods

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The first photo highlights the outside of a pod; the second, like an x-ray, reveals what’s inside.
These views of Senna lindheimeriana come from October 22 west of Morado Circle.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 19, 2019 at 4:40 AM

A good time for cardinal flowers

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Above is a rather trippy picture—thanks to all those orbs in the background—of a happy cardinal flower plant (Lobelia cardinalis) along Bull Creek on September 7th. Below you get a closer look at a budding plant there.

Now it’s three weeks later and the cardinal flowers along Bull Creek continue to have a good time, with new plants still flowering. If any of you folks are dying to see more pictures of cardinal flowers, let me know and I’ll yield to unremitting reader pressure.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 30, 2019 at 4:41 AM

Rock squirrels

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In June and July we became aware of not one, not two, not three, but four rock squirrels (Otospermophilus variegatus) frequenting our back yard. The place they most like to sit is on the railing of our deck, as shown here in a picture from July 11th.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 14, 2019 at 4:45 AM

Shimmering light

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One stretch of a Bull Creek tributary in my neighborhood flows beneath a limestone overhang. There are times when morning light filters through the trees, reflects off the surface of the water, and shimmers on the limestone wall of the overhang. July 8th at 9:04 was one of those times.

For the photographically curious: I took these pictures with a simple old 50mm lens wide open at f/1.4. Understandably, given the optics and the flowstoned face of the rocky overhang, not everything came out sharp, but somehow that hasn’t bothered me.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 16, 2019 at 4:46 AM

Woolly ironweed

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I’ve had trouble over the years getting good pictures of woolly ironweed, Vernonia lindheimeri, because it’s hard to get many of its parts in focus at the same time. On June 18th I found some woolly ironweed budding along the Capital of Texas Highway and recorded this straight-down, limited-focus, double-asterisk view that seems okay. To see what the flowers of this species look like, you can check out a post from 2015.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 1, 2019 at 4:47 PM

Annual pennyroyal could just as well be called annual lemonyroyal

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Hedeoma acinoides, known as annual pennyroyal, could just as well be called annual lemonyroyal because the plant’s foliage has a pronounced scent similar to that of lemons. Whether at least some of the same chemicals that account for that aroma in lemons are at work in this pennyroyal species, I don’t know. I do know that this photograph is from April 12th along the right-of-way west of Morado Circle. If you’d like a closer look at one of these diminutive flowers, which barely reach half an inch in length, you can have one.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 4, 2019 at 4:44 AM

Perspectives

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On April 21st, in the broad V between Scotland Well Dr. and Spicewood Springs Rd., I walked beside and through parts of a tributary of Bull Creek. People who don’t live in Austin, along with some who do, are surprised to learn that we have landscapes like this, which many associate with forests much further north. In the first image, the tree that had fallen completely across the creek became my main object of interest.

As a photographer I often present a scene from different viewpoints. In this case I walked forward from where I took the first picture, stepped over the downed tree, and became fascinated by the algae that the creek’s current swept into long strands that warranted the vertical orientation of the second photograph. I took both pictures with my lens zoomed all the way out to 24mm to encompass as much of each scene as possible.

If you’re interested in the craft of photography, the newly added point 31 in About My Techniques pertains to these two pictures.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 24, 2019 at 4:45 AM

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