Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘trees

Two views of flameleaf sumac

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Longtime visitors here know that central Texas is too warm to get the kind of fall foliage that colder parts of the country are famous for. That said, we do get some autumn color, and one reliable source of it is the aptly named flameleaf sumac, Rhus lanceolata. On November 9th I spent time on part of the Brushy Creek Regional Trail in Cedar Park, where I made the two flameleaf sumac pictures in today’s post.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 10, 2019 at 4:40 AM

Enchanted Rock, part 3

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You’ve already seen trees as secondary subjects in the first two parts of this series about Enchanted Rock.

Today’s post plays up some of the dead and dying trees we saw there in abundance on November 1st.

You’ll notice ball moss, Tillandsia recurvata, on many of the branches.

Not a true moss but an epiphyte in the Bromeliad plant family,
ball moss can live quite well even on inanimate objects,
and that fact proves that it isn’t parasitic.

Even in the presence of death, new life arises.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 3, 2019 at 4:45 AM

The golden hour

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Landscape photographers talk about the golden hour, the first hour after sunrise or the last before sunset, when the light is soft and warm. The late afternoon of October 31st found us about 110 miles west-southwest of Austin, in Kerrville, where I worked quickly to take advantage of the golden hour’s last rays to photograph bald cypress trees (Taxodium distichum) along the Guadalupe River. Minutes later the light was gone. For a closer look at the bases of the trees, click the icon below.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 25, 2019 at 4:44 AM

Yellow beneath the pines

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As part of the Native Plant Society of Texas’s annual symposium in League City, on October 4th I joined a field trip to a property in Galveston County managed by the Marathon Oil Company. There I found some seaside goldenrod, Solidago sempervirens, whose buds were opening. Parallel rows of pine trees in the background formed a convenient frame. Well, actually not so convenient, as I had to get down and contort myself to line up the goldenrod properly while struggling to keep everything vertical.

Also growing near the pines were some swamp sunflowers, Helianthus angustifolius:

How about an artsier portrait that shows a swamp sunflower bud beginning to open?

Neither of these species grows in Austin, so both were new to me.
Here’s one of the goldenrods that a pine needle cluster had fallen onto:

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 14, 2019 at 4:47 AM

Dead tree trunks and limbs at Watkins Glen

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Here’s a view taken at 1/15 of a second showing a waterfall in Watkins Glen State Park in New York’s Finger Lakes region on July 30th. The photographer in me was happy that the dead tree trunk had lodged where you see it in spite of the force of the falling water.

Smaller and whiter dead tree limbs also attracted me.

They played off the rock strata in the gorge and contrasted with the living plants around them.

Even before I’d seen any water at Watkins Glen, falling or otherwise, the shadows on a broken but still standing tree trunk along the trail from the parking lot to the gorge caught my attention:

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 13, 2019 at 4:39 AM

Two pointy things of different size

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A mound in the forest at John Bryan State Park near Yellow Springs, Ohio, on July 21 made me think I was looking once again at the ruins of a Mayan pyramid that the Central American jungle had reclaimed.

The green on this drying leaf I found when we were about to leave the park seemed unaccountably vivid.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 30, 2019 at 4:37 AM

Bayside Park

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The bay that Bayside Park sits on the western shore of is Mobile Bay.
In that Alabama park on August 10th I photographed a vine covered-pine tree.
The vine could have been trumpet creeper, Campsis radicans, which also grows in Austin.

After turning the other way, toward Mobile Bay,
I found a dark plant beneath a dark cloud.

I photographed a few other things, and then, as I was about finished, some birds flew into view. My telephoto lens was in the camera bag. The 24–105mm lens that was on the camera was set to only 56mm and the shutter speed to only 1/320 of a second (as I learned afterwards from the metadata). Those are poor settings for photographs of birds in motion but there was no time to change anything: all I could do was pan to follow the birds while I got off four shots in as many seconds. To my surprise, there was no blurring of my subjects. Shannon Westveer later identified them for me as American white pelicans, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 22, 2019 at 7:00 AM

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