Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘Waterton Lakes National Park

Golden-mantled ground squirrel

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How about this golden-mantled ground squirrel (Callospermophilus lateralis) nibbling on a dry plant in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, a year ago today?

UPDATE: Thanks to Tanja Britton for correcting my misidentification of this little animal as a chipmunk. I’m better at photographing than knowing what I’ve photographed.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 29, 2018 at 4:39 AM

Sometimes a negative is positive

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On August 29, 2017, we visited Cameron Lake in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta. Adjacent to the parking lot I noticed the curiously curved remains of a slender tree trunk that I felt compelled to take several pictures of.

While processing the photograph shown here, I accidentally hit a key combination that inverted the colors. I found the negative image pleasing, unreal though it was. Can you guess what it looks like? Try to imagine it, then click the blank frame below to see the fantasy forest.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 25, 2018 at 4:56 AM

What I didn’t know about fireweed

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To tell the truth, before the trip to the Rocky Mountains in Montana, Alberta, and British Columbia, I knew almost nothing about fireweed (Chamaenerion angustifolium). In nature shows on television I’d occasionally caught a glimpse of the plants flowering, and that was about it.

In addition to yesterday’s strictly “vegetarian” post, three previous photographs showed you fireweed flowers and animals. In one case it was with a bumblebee, in another with a ground squirrel, and the third with a caterpillar. What impressed me about the plant in its own right was its seeds. The reddish seed pods are long and narrow, and when they open, which surprisingly often happens from the proximal rather than the distal end, they release seeds attached to silky strands, much like milkweed seeds. At the moment when I took the photograph above in Waterton Lakes National Park on August 29th, the newly freed seeds still partly preserved the alignment they’d had just a short while earlier when compressed inside their slender pods. That same temporary clinging to the past is visible in the photograph below, which is from near the shore of Emerald Lake in British Columbia’s Yoho National Park on September 7th.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 24, 2018 at 4:52 AM

Eschscholtz’s buttercup

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When I came across this wildflower in Alberta’s Waterton Lakes National Park on August 29, 2017, I knew from the resemblance to native buttercups in Austin that I was looking at a relative. A little research has led me to believe that the flower in Alberta was an Eschscholtz’s buttercup, Ranunculus eschscholtzii. Other names for it are subalpine buttercup and spruce-fir buttercup.

This someone with an sch in his name has almost never encountered a name with two consecutive occurrences of sch. If you’d like to know more about the double-sch man, you’re welcome to read an article on Johann Friedrich von Eschscholtz. Look near the end for an unexpected connection between that early-19th-century naturalist and mid-20th-century nuclear weapons.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 12, 2018 at 4:57 AM

Claspleaf twistedstalk

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Now there’s a mouthful for you, whether you use the scientific name Streptopus amplexifolius or the vernacular name claspleaf twistedstalk. Because very little foliage had turned colors in Waterton Lakes National Park when we were there on August 29th, the yellowing leaves of this species that we saw in several places were a welcome sight. So were the little red fruits, about a centimeter long, one of which the second photograph gives you a closer look at on a different claspleaf twistedstalk plant. Here’s a site with more information about the species. Here’s another. And here’s still another that includes ethnobotanical uses.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 29, 2017 at 4:55 AM

Red and green redux

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Continuing with yesterday’s red-and-green theme, here’s an abstract picture showing the fruit and out-of-focus leaves of thimbleberry, Rubus parviflorus, in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, on August 29th.

The Rubus species that’s widespread in Austin is R. trivialis.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 26, 2017 at 5:00 AM

Red Rock Canyon

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On August 28th we entered Alberta’s Waterton Lakes National Park and checked out Red Rock Canyon.

Red Rock’s red rocks rock! Graceful grades of gray greatly enhance the red.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 6, 2017 at 7:45 PM

A different Gaillardia

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Because I’m familiar with several species of Gaillardia in central Texas, when I saw a little group of plants in Waterton Lakes National Park on August 29th I knew right away that I was dealing with some kind of Gaillardia. After returning home I consulted the BONAP maps for the genus and was relieved to find only one species marked for that area: Gaillardia aristata, known colloquially as common gaillardia, blanketflower or great blanketflower, and even (confusingly) brown-eyed susan, which I associate with a different genus in the sunflower family. In any case, I was taken with this Gaillardia flower head that had dried out and was part-way through producing and releasing its seeds. The curve of the stem added to its appeal.

Click for greater clarity.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 11, 2017 at 4:53 AM

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