Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘white

Great white herons at the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge

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On the roof of a shelter at the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge on October 6th we saw a great white heron, Casmerodius albus. Half an hour later I got a lot closer to one that was unfortunately behind branches which had me struggling to aim through them for a clear shot. The busy background also fell short of ideal, but we photographers sometimes have to take things as they come to us. Now that I think about it, having my first and last initial come to me in the form of a heron’s neck isn’t so bad.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 5, 2019 at 4:33 AM

Hibiscus laevis

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From today’s date in 2018 at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center comes this opening bud of Hibiscus laevis, known as smooth rose mallow or halberd-leaved rose mallow. If you’re curious about the flower this kind of bud will open up into, you can check out a post from 2013.

The species name laevis is the Latin word for ‘light in weight.” It reminds me now of the first line in the opening stanza of poet Augusto Gil‘s “Balada da neve,” Ballad of the Snow,” which our teacher introduced us to in my first Portuguese class way back in 1965:

“Batem leve, levemente,
como quem chama por mim.
Será chuva? Será gente?
Gente não é, certamente
e a chuva não bate assim.”

“There’s a light, light tapping,
As if someone were calling for me.
Could it be the rain? Could it be people?
People it certainly isn’t,
And the rain doesn’t sound like that.”

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 26, 2019 at 4:41 AM

Texas milkweed flowers and buds

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On June 12th, after photographing spittlebug spittle, I began making my way back along the clifftop trail above the Colorado River on the west side of the Capital of Texas Highway. After a while I came to a fork. Rather than returning the rest of the way on the same trail I’d come on, I took the path less traveled by, and that made all the difference. It made a difference because I came across first one and then another wildflower I hadn’t seen in years. Both were in mostly shaded wooded areas, yet each was magically lit for a little while by light coming through openings in the canopy. The first was Texas milkweed, Asclepias texana, a perennial whose presence in Travis County botanist Bill Carr describes as “rare in and along margins of juniper-oak woodlands on rocky limestone slopes.”

UPDATE. With regard to the recent post showing spittlebug spittle, Wanda Hill suggested cropping down to the large bubble at the lower tip of the spittle and rotating it 180° so the sky would be at the top. I’ve done that, and if you’d like to see the result, check out the addition at the end of that post.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 12, 2019 at 4:37 AM

Spittlebug spittle

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On June 12th, for the first time in years, I hiked up the cliff on the west side of the Capital of Texas Highway overlooking the Colorado River. Arriving at the top and not seeing anything there for my purposes, I followed the path westward along the cliff for at least a quarter of a mile and did find some things to photograph. Probably the most interesting was this spittlebug spittle on the stalk of a fading zexmenia flower head, Wedelia acapulcensis var. hispida. The stalk on the right is lost in shadows, and I cropped in at the left so the wilting flower head wouldn’t distract from all the froth. Notice how the large bubble at the bottom acted as a convex lens that created a fisheye image of surrounding plants and blue sky.

UPDATE: On July 10th Wanda Hill made the excellent suggestion of cropping down to the large bubble at the lower tip of the spittle and rotating it 180° so the sky would be at the top. I’ve done that, and if you’d like to see the world in a bubble, just click the icon below for an enlargement.

Spittlebug Spittle Tip Inverted 1689

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 8, 2019 at 4:40 AM

The twining and the twined upon

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From June 24th in Great Hills Park here’s the tendril of a Texas bindweed, Convolvulus equitans, that had twined its way around a developing Mexican hat, Ratibida columnifera. (Unfortunately jpegging and WordPressing have made the background somewhat splotchy.)

And here’s what a nearby Texas bindweed flower looked like.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 2, 2019 at 5:00 PM

Far West

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Near the far west end of Far West Blvd. in west Austin on June 1st I found a twistleaf yucca (Yucca rupicola) leaning out and flowering beyond the leaves of an evergreen sumac (Rhus virens).

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 30, 2019 at 4:48 AM

More on elderberry

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To atone for never having shown elderberry in the eight years of this blog, in the last post I featured the shrub’s bright white flowers. Today let me atone some more and show what the buds look like. Because the open flowers are small, just 1/8–1/4 of an inch across (3–6mm), the buds are even smaller, yet they already show the fiveness of the flowers. (The leaf at the bottom right is from a mustang grape vine.)

And now let me take the post’s title literally. Click the tiny box below to see the commensurately tiny creature I found on some adjacent elderberry buds.

If you’d like to know what that colorful nymph is, you can go to the appropriate page at Bug Guide, which identified it for me. Thanks, Bug Guide.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 7, 2019 at 4:37 AM

Posted in nature photography

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