Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘white

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

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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

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Elderberry

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How about this young elderberry bush (Sambucus nigra subsp. canadensis) that I found flourishing at McKinney Falls State Park on June 3rd? Individual blossoms are tiny, measuring just 1/8–1/4 of an inch across (3–6mm). As attractive as elderberry flowers are, somehow they’ve never appeared in these pages till today. And look at what a wide North American distribution this shrub has.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 6, 2019 at 4:45 AM

Takeoff

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As I approached the pond adjacent to Naruna Way on the prairie in northeast Austin on May 9th I noticed a white egret (Casmoderius albus) on the near bank. Hoping for a picture, I switched from a wide-angle lens to a 100–400mm telephoto and slowly advanced. As soon as I raised the camera to try for a photo, the egret apparently didn’t like my sudden motion and took off. The one picture I managed to get is at least dynamic. Notice the drops of water clinging to and falling from the bird’s toes.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 16, 2019 at 4:46 AM

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