Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘wildflowers

Blowing in the wind

with 21 comments

One of the highlights in the cemetery at Christ Lutheran Church in New Berlin on March 18th was the Nueces coreopsis (Coreopsis nuecensis), whose range doesn’t reach Austin and that I get to see only when I travel south. The wind made closeups difficult but I did my usual thing of getting on the ground, setting a high shutter speed, and taking enough pictures that a few of them would likely be okay.

The orange in the background came from Indian paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa) and the blue from bluebonnets (Lupinus spp).

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Advertisements

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 22, 2019 at 4:41 AM

Texas being Texas

with 42 comments

In the spring Texas does wildflowers.

Prompted by reports of good sightings a little over a hundred miles from home in Cestohowa, we headed south on March 18. We began finding good things just past Seguin and even better ones after we detoured a little from our route to check out New Berlin. In fact the wildflowers were so bountiful on some of the properties in that area that we never got any farther. Sorry, Cestohowa.

We’d first stumbled on the flowerful cemetery at Christ Lutheran Church of Elm Creek in 2014, and this year proved its equal. Here’s an overview:

To my mind, every cemetery should be covered in wildflowers.

The tombstones are interesting, with the oldest ones dating from the 1800s and inscribed in German (remember, the town is New Berlin). Still, as this blog is devoted to nature, here are a couple of photographs that focus on the profuse wildflowers in their own right. The colonies were so intertwined that I was able to frame the flowers in lots of ways. The bright yellow ones are Nueces coreopsis (Coreopsis nuecensis).

The red flowers are Indian paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa) and the others are bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis), the state’s official wildflower. You saw a closeup of one way back in early February.)

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 21, 2019 at 4:44 AM

Another first appearance here for a wildflower

with 21 comments

Way back on February 18th I found a bunch of stemless evening primroses, Oenothera triloba, flowering in a lot along Balcones Woods Dr. I don’t recall ever photographing (or at least identifying) this species before, so naturally this is its first appearance here. The two things in the first photograph that look rather like chili peppers are buds. Aiming straight down is the stance I least often adopt when doing portraits in nature because so much that’s on the ground around the subject shows up and often distracts from it. In this case it seemed okay because the flower was so much brighter than the leaves and stems below it.

For the second photograph I lay down and aimed sideways to take advantage of the backlighting that rendered the flower translucent and cast the shadows of its inner parts toward me, and now also toward you.

To see the many places in the United States where this species grows, you can check out the USDA map. The scroll bar to the left of the map lets you zoom in to the county level.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 12, 2019 at 4:30 AM

Southern dewberry flower and bud

with 27 comments

While at Mills Pond on February 24th I found my first southern dewberry flowers, Rubus trivialis, for 2019 (and I’ve continued seeing others since then). In case you’re wondering about the scale, each flower in this species is about an inch (2.5cm) across. Can you tell that this little wildflower is in the rose family?

When I got closer for a few portraits of the flowers I noticed a bud that had begun to open.

As my skin keeps confirming, southern dewberry canes (stems) are very prickly, another resemblance to rose bushes. In the lower left corner of the bud picture you get a side view of one prickle, softened not in reality but by appearing out of focus. In contrast, what look like dark red “claws” on the bud aren’t prickly. Notice also that the prominent pink in the bud has faded to a faint trace in the open flower.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 10, 2019 at 4:22 AM

Maximilian sunflowers in February!

with 36 comments

Maximilian sunflowers (Helianthus maximiliani) are fall-blooming wildflowers—except when they decide to bloom in February. More precisely, the date was February 27th, and the place was the northeast quadrant of Mopac and US 183. In this perennial species even a plant with dead leaves was giving rise to new flowers.

In both photographs the droplets attest to a morning that had been misty and occasionally even drizzly. In fact I’d gone out hoping to photograph some fog but it had dissipated by the time I reached this site. Speaking of which, I’ve photographed Maximilian sunflowers on this plot of land in their traditional season, and I’ve also photographed common sunflowers there. It was on one of those that I took a picture of a tiny bee fly that got Freshly Pressed in just the second month of this blog way back in 2011. Maybe you’ll be freshly impressed if you take a look at it.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 8, 2019 at 4:33 AM

Time again for Texas mountain laurel, and hardly the normal time for something else

with 51 comments

By February 18th I was already finding flowers on the Texas mountain laurels (Sophora secundiflora) in Austin. These two views are from the Southwest Greenway at the Mueller development in east-central Austin.

If it was time for Texas mountain laurel, mid-February was months before the normal time
for the common sunflower (Helianthus annuus), one of which I also found flowering there.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

UPDATE: I see the scientific name for Texas mountain laurel has been changed to Dermatophyllum secundiflorum.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 24, 2019 at 4:48 AM

Time again to say that spring has sprung

with 22 comments

Yesterday morning’s weather forecast predicted that by afternoon the temperature would go above 80°F, so before it got too hot we went over to the Southwest Greenway at the Mueller development in east-central Austin, where we confirmed that spring had indeed arrived. One token of that was some agarita bushes (Mahonia trifoliolata) flowering away, as you see in a broad horizontal view above and in a closer upward view in the following photograph.

The Mueller development occupies the site of the old Austin airport that closed in 1999. It’s likely that at least some of the wispy clouds we saw yesterday coincidentally came from diffused airplane contrails, so I’ve decided to follow that theme and add a non-botanical photograph from the Southwest Greenway: it shows Chris Levack’s “Wigwam.” Six years ago I semi-broke botanical ranks and showed his adjacent “Pollen Grain” sculpture.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 16, 2019 at 4:44 AM

%d bloggers like this: