Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘trees

Little icicles and more than a little green

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From February 12th in Great Hills Park, here are some little icicles on green things. The one above hung from the lichen-covered twig of an oak (Quercus sp.), while those below encased an Ashe juniper (Juniperus ashei).

UPDATE: In the previous post I’ve added a closer view of the frosted strands I take to be spiderwebs.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 26, 2021 at 4:28 AM

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Icicles and tangled branches

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On February 16th I went into Great Hills Park from the Floral Park Dr. entrance and cut over to the main creek as soon as possible. At a rock overhang on the creek’s west bank I found that many icicles had formed amid a tangle of dead branches. Let’s hear it for complexity.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 23, 2021 at 4:38 AM

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Palmetto State Park

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Although this picture from January 29th may make you think we went to Florida’s Everglades or some other tropical place, we drove just 70 road miles south of home, to Palmetto State Park, which might as well be a different world. The park is named for a stand of palmettos, Sabal minor, one of only two palm species native to Texas (the other is full-sized and lives at the southern tip of the state). The Ottine Swamp supports the palmettos and also fosters copious amounts of Spanish moss, Tillandsia usneoides, which were especially conspicuous now that the trees were winter-bare.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 5, 2021 at 4:45 AM

Beetle galleries

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While waiting on January 18th for a leaking tire to get dealt with I went for a one-hour walk, a main portion of which took me along Stonelake Blvd. north of Great Hills Trail. The properties lining both sides of the road there are owned by the University of Texas but have never been developed. At one point, only several feet in from the sidewalk I noticed a couple of leaning dead tree trunks whose outer bark had mostly come off and revealed in the phloem, or inner bark, the trails of insects that had lived there.

From an informative article I learned that those trails are known as beetle galleries because the insects that produce them are beetles. Another reason for the term is that the original sense of gallery was architectural, ‘a covered part of a building, commonly in the wings, used as an ambulatory or place for walking,’ and it’s the walking around of the insects that create the trails in the phloem. By a happy coincidence, the main current meaning of gallery also fits the fact that many people consider these designs to be works of art, specifically woodcarvings. To maintain the abstraction I’ve tightly cropped the photographs

I don’t know what local species produced the beetle galleries in these pictures, but you’re welcome to look at some characteristic galleries identified by species.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 30, 2021 at 4:31 AM

Winter woods reflected in pond

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Copperfield Nature Trail; January 17th.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 28, 2021 at 3:52 AM

Return to the cliff: textures

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Beyond orange and green things, I mostly focused on geological textures during
my January 16th return to the cliff along the Capital of Texas Highway south of FM 2222.

In the next picture, those among you of the pareidolic persuasion may see
a right-facing profile in the shadow, perhaps even that of George Washington.

And let me close by pulling back to a more expansive view showing an especially photogenic portion of the seeping cliff. At its top you see Ashe junipers (Juniperus ashei), seemingly ubiquitous in many parts of Austin.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 21, 2021 at 4:38 AM

Poverty weed weighed down by snow

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Poverty weed (Baccharis neglecta) has been described as a weak tree, and the recent accumulation of snow forced some to bow low, as you see in these pictures taken west of Morado Circle on January 10th.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 14, 2021 at 4:43 AM

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Snow falling on Ashe junipers

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Here are two views of one of Austin’s most widespread trees, the Ashe juniper (Juniperus ashei), taken when the snow on January 10th was probably falling at its densest.

The bits of brown you see indicate male trees, and this is their time to release the airborne pollen that causes allergies in susceptible people, who are as numerous as the snowflakes.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 13, 2021 at 4:31 AM

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From fire to fog

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The weather forecast on the evening of December 21st last year said to expect fog the next morning in the eastern reaches of Austin. Because we don’t often get fog, I went to the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin early that morning to see if I could find some. Along the way I stopped to photograph some other things (including the fiery clouds you saw last time), so I arrived only a short while before the rising sun dissipated the fog. Even so, I did get a few misty pictures. The one above, which reminds me of an old sepia-toned photograph, came nine minutes before the one below, which seems split-toned. In fact the tinting in both cases was nature’s and the camera’s own.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 5, 2021 at 4:36 AM

Our majestic cottonwood trees

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On December 21st, the date of the winter solstice in 2020, I witnessed another display of colorful year-end foliage in the form of two venerable eastern cottonwoods, Populus deltoides subsp. deltoides. Botanist Bill Carr describes the cottonwood tree in Travis County as “uncommon but, due to its massive size, usually conspicuous in gallery woodlands along perennial streams and impoundments.” The two I found were on opposite sides of Pleasant Valley Rd. just south of the Longhorn Dam on the Colorado River. The first picture shows a lower portion of the cottonwood tree on the west side of the road. The other cottonwood, pictured below, had leaves that the different angle of the light made look a little more yellow-orange.

It’s not obvious that some of the leaves were larger than
a person’s face; here’s one in isolation by the Colorado River:

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 2, 2021 at 4:35 AM

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