Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘trees

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

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 24, 2019 at 4:45 AM

A subtler wildflower meadow

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April being the 4th (and according to T.S. Eliot the cruelest) month, with the 22nd designated Earth Day, here are 2 x 2 pictures showing a floral meadow in my Austin neighborhood as it looked 10 days ago. Flowers covered the ground densely enough that I found it hard to walk without crushing any of them, yet at the same time they were subtler than the flashy, color-saturated wildflowers from March and early April that you so often saw here. You may recognize the background trees in the first photo as Ashe junipers (Juniperus ashei), which proliferate in central Texas.

Each of the next three views brings you closer to the wildflowers in the meadow.

The yellow flowers are four-nerve daisies (Tetraneuris linearifolia.) The upright white ones are rain-lilies (Cooperia pedunculata). The purple ones are wild garlic (Allium drummondii). Most numerous of all in this luxurious meadow are the low white flowers that have the curious name corn salad (Valerianella spp.) They’re also unusual in the way they tend to grow in roughly rectangular arrays.

Notice in the last picture that the prominent 4 x 4 array in the center consists of 16 clusters, each of which is a little rectangle in its own right. The folded-over ray floret in the lower of the two four-nerve daisies was likely the work of a spider making a little hide-away for itself. That’s a common sight in these parts.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 22, 2019 at 4:42 AM

Every school should have grounds that look this good

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When I showed you the grounds of Cedar Ridge High School in Round Rock last spring, the bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) had done their thing but the huisache trees (Vachellia farnesiana) had not. When I returned on April 4th this year, both were in their flowering prime.

Unlike the huisache surrounded by bluebonnets that I found near Poteet two weeks earlier, which was far away in a pasture made inaccessible by barbed wire, here I could wander freely (while stepping carefully among the bluebonnets) to get close and try out varied compositions. Below is one such. Note the white bluebonnet at the bottom. Unfortunately I can’t show you the combined aromas of bluebonnets and huisache blossoms.

I called the school to ask how the property came to look so good. The person who answered the phone said that the bluebonnets on one side of the entry road had always been there, whereas people replanted the ones on the other side after construction of the auditorium messed up that part of the colony.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 11, 2019 at 4:48 AM

Dogwood blossoms

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Ten years ago today I photographed these blossoms on a dogwood tree (Cornus florida) near the little town of Warren in far east Texas.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 16, 2019 at 4:57 AM

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Discovering a new place by looking at a map

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We wanted to go out walking on February 24th so I pulled up a local map on my computer screen to pick a place. As I scrolled around on the map I noticed Mills Pond in the Wells Branch community some nine miles northeast of our house. After 42 years in Austin I’d never heard of Mills Pond, even though I’ve photographed places close to it. That alone was a good reason to check it out. Here are four pictures from our visit.

A few trees were beginning to green out along the pond’s shore.

A very different color drew attention to this redbud tree (Cercis canadensis).

Look at the trees reflected in the creek leading to the lake.

Focusing on the breeze-rippled surface of the creek rather than on the tree reflections gave a different effect.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 6, 2019 at 4:37 AM

More from nature on December 25, 2018

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Here are more things I encountered west of Morado Circle on the morning of December 25, 2018.
It’s not unusual to find a hole in the pad of a prickly pear cactus (Opuntia engelmannii).

Look at the complexity in the dense branches of a dead Ashe juniper tree (Juniperus ashei).
Some seed-capsule-bearing limbs of a Mexican buckeye tree (Ungnadia speciosa) reached in from behind.

Why this patch on the top surface of an otherwise dark rock was so light, I don’t know.

The bright fruits of a yaupon tree (Ilex vomitoria) in front of
an Ashe juniper may strike you as appropriate for the date.

And look at the wireweed that had sprouted in the power lines overhead.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 28, 2019 at 4:57 AM

Varieties of foggy experience

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Last December 17th I did a post called “Subtleties of fall.” The following day was still fall, and after getting up and seeing some fog, which isn’t common here, I decided to go out and take photographic advantage of its subtleties. My first stop came just half a mile from home along the dip on Floral Park Dr. from which I could look into the southern part of Great Hills Park with a telephoto lens.

Then I went on to Riata Trace Pond.

One of my favorite foggy finds there was a greenbrier vine (Smilax bona-nox) that had climbed high on a black willow tree (Salix nigra) whose now-fallen leaves revealed what they had so recently concealed.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 9, 2019 at 4:38 AM

Posted in nature photography

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