Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘wildflowers

When pink is white

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Last June, after arriving home from a sight-filled trip to the Chicago area, I wondered if it was too late for the season’s mountain pinks (Centaurium beyrichii) back in Austin. It wasn’t, as I showed in a post entitled “I would have missed them if I’d missed them.” This year, after we returned from our latest American road odyssey, I wondered the same thing. On June 21st I went out to check the likely places along Capital of Texas Highway, which swings a big arc through the hilly country on the west side of Austin. Although I found the expected mountain pinks, they looked a bit past their prime, or possibly 2017 was a meager year for them. Still, I did take some pictures, and while I was doing so a young Chinese guy walked by and asked if I’d seen the naturally white variant of mountain pinks nearby. When I asked where, he pointed and said they were about a hundred feet down the road. He walked on, and I went in the opposite direction, to the place he’d indicated. Sure enough, I found several mountain pink plants with white flowers.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 28, 2017 at 4:00 AM

Plains zinnia

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On May 27th, the third day of the trip and the first on which I took any pictures, we hit our first national monument: the Alibates Flint Quarries in the Texas Panhandle north of Amarillo. There I encountered some flowering Zinnia grandiflora, known as plains zinnia, yellow zinnia, Rocky Mountain zinnia, prairie zinnia, and little golden zinnia. By whatever name, these flowers provide a welcome dose of bright yellow.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 21, 2017 at 4:45 AM

Finally

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My first pictures at the “vacant” lot in Cedar Park on May 6th were of the coreopsis colony that had brought me there on that sunny morning. Then I looked around to see what else was growing on the property. One find was a species I’d seen for years in Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country but had never encountered in person: cut-leaf germander, Teucrium laciniatum. In the second photograph, the yellow-orange daubs in the background came from coreopsis flowers.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 12, 2017 at 4:58 AM

Looking and looking back

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When I knelt to photograph a yellow bitterweed flower head (Helenium amarum var. amarum) in Cedar Park on May 6th and looked through my camera’s viewfinder I found a bug staring straight back at me.

If you’re interested in photography as a craft, I used point 11 in About My Techniques to create this image.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 31, 2017 at 4:55 AM

Dodder on the prairie

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On the Blackland Prairie in Pflugerville on April 30th I stopped in several places to photograph dodder (Cuscuta spp.), a parasitic plant that sucks the life out of other plants. Victims in the downward-looking photograph above include square-bud primroses (Calylophus berlandieri), firewheels (Gaillardia pulchella), and antelope-horns milkweed (Asclepias asperula). Here’s a much closer view from the side showing dodder attacking a square-bud primrose:

Parasites repel people, and that’s understandable, but dodder’s yellow-orange-angelhair-pasta-like tangles offer a visual complexity it’s hard for a nature photographer—at least this one—to pass up.

If you want to know more, come read an article of mine about dodder that the Native Plant Society of Texas just published.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 24, 2017 at 4:55 AM

Kansas: one out of five

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Last month we drove up to Kansas City for the wedding of a former student of mine. On the way back home on April 25th we came south through Kansas along US 169, and after I saw some wildflowers I felt compelled to stop in two places. I ended up photographing five species, of which only one turned out to be native. That’s a terrible average, but I guess I should be thankful for the one native: Baptisia australis, known as wild blue indigo, blue wild indigo, and blue false indigo*. One characteristic I noticed about this species is that the plant’s stems feel stiff and rubbery.

Last year I posted two pictures of Baptisia alba, white wild indigo, from our visit to Illinois.

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* Those names are zero for three in color accuracy, at least for me, because my eyes and brain see the color of these flowers as violet or purple.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 18, 2017 at 4:49 AM

New Zealand: Koromiko flowering

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Another plant we saw at the Orokonui Ecosanctuary northeast of Dunedin on February 27th was this flowering koromiko bush (Veronica salicifolia, formerly Hebe salicifolia). A raised walkway let me look straight down onto the top of this attractive shrub. Thanks to Sue Hensley, head guide at the Orokonui Ecosanctuary, for identifying the species.

If you’d like a closer look at a flower spike from another Hebe species, you can check out a photograph from our first visit to New Zealand.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 16, 2017 at 4:47 AM

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