Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘trees

Softer colors at Stillhouse Hollow

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After leaves have fallen, trees reveal summer-hidden branches and sometimes things within them, like the nest now disclosed here. This bare tree, while neither massive nor colorful like the still-clad oak you saw yesterday, nevertheless appeals in the intricacy of its many slender branches and twigs. Visible beyond it you can make out upper parts of a sycamore tree (Platanus occidentalis) tall enough to catch light from the late-afternoon sun. Though the tree with the nest in it had no leaves left to help with identification, it might have been a cedar elm (Ulmus crassifolia). I have no idea what kind of animal made the nest. Below is an unobstructed view of the sycamore’s browning crown in its own right.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 11, 2018 at 4:38 AM

Posted in nature photography

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Fall colors at Stillhouse Hollow

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Another source of colorful fall foliage down here is the Texas red oak tree (Quercus buckleyi). Well into the afternoon on November 26th at northwest-central Austin’s little-known Stillhouse Hollow Nature Preserve I aimed upward to record the colors in the leaves of one of those oaks contrasted with the blue of the sky. The network that the many darker branches created appealed to me as well.

While at the preserve I also recorded the shades of magenta in six clusters of American beautyberry fruits (Callicarpa americana) that were in varied stages of drying out.

Click to enlarge.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 10, 2018 at 4:43 AM

Autumnal cedar elms

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Cedar elms (Ulmus crassifolia) produce the most widespread autumnal yellow among native trees in central Texas. Each leaf is small, but a mature tree has a whole lot of them, and in the aggregate the effect can be quite pleasing, as shown above in a picture from Bull Creek District Park on November 26th. Below, from the same outing, you see what I saw as I stood beneath a large cedar elm and aimed a wide-angle lens up and out toward the late-afternoon sun. Notice the many ball mosses (Tillandsia recurvata) at home in the tree.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 6, 2018 at 4:41 AM

Fall foliage at Meadow Lake Park

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I try to go to Meadow Lake Park in Round Rock at least once a year because I always find some good native plants to take pictures of there. On the afternoon of November 4th I visited the park and photographed this colorful bald cypress tree, Taxodium distichum, set off by fleecy clouds. (From a month-ago post you may remember an earlier stage in color change.) The trees beyond the bald cypress are black willows, Salix nigra.

By the stand of black willows visible at the left edge of the first photograph I found a tall, slender stalk with yellowing leaves that Joe Marcus of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center identified as likely a species of Morus, which is to say mulberry. What the vine whose leaves were turning warm colors was, I don’t know, but the combination of yellow and red and orange against the blue sky certainly appealed to me.

Click to enlarge.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 28, 2018 at 4:34 AM

Multitudinous snout butterflies and two kinds of white*

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Where the previous post showed you a close and then an even closer view of an individual American snout butterfly (Libytheana carinanta), look at the swarm I found on some frostweed flowers (Verbesina virginica) on November 1st along River Place Blvd. I count at least two dozen butterflies in this picture. The autumn of 2018 has proved a good season for the species, which I’ve continued seeing in other parts of Austin as well.

This multitude of snout butterflies came as a bonus because what I’d stopped to photograph was some poverty weed (Baccharis neglecta), as shown below with another bonus in the form of native grape vines (Vitis spp.) climbing on the bushes. If you look carefully, you may also pick out one or two or three bits of breeze-wafted poverty weed fluff in the air; that’s how this species spreads its seeds.

* A search for “multitudinous snout butterflies” got no hits, so you are probably the first people in the history of the universe (after me) to be reading that phrase. Happy novelty to you.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 24, 2018 at 4:37 PM

Keeping an eye on goldeneye

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I began seeing Viguiera dentata, known as goldeneye, flowering in Austin around the middle of October, which is normal timing for these bushes. When I did several closeups of flower heads along Spicewood Springs Rd. on October 22nd, some drops of morning dew or residual rain hadn’t yet evaporated. The light was dull, so for this picture I used flash, then softened harsh parts of the image a little when processing it.

In contrast, on a sunny November 1st I stopped to photograph a good goldeneye stand along RM 2222 about a mile west of Capital of Texas Highway. The tree is a mesquite, Prosopis glandulosa.

And in the “more is more” category, here’s a closer look at the interplay between the bare branches and the masses of goldeneye flowers:

For those of you in cold places, may all this yellow brighten your day. Even in November, Texas still knows how to put on a wildflower display.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 10, 2018 at 4:30 AM

Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve

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Two years ago on this date we spent several hours in the temperate rainforest
of the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve near Guerneville, California.

Intermittent rain accompanied us there. During rainless periods the lace lichen,
Ramalina menziesii, still suggested its own sort of precipitation from the trees.

Even when fresh, bits of lace lichen end up on the forest floor, there to perish.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 27, 2018 at 4:44 AM

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