Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘wildflowers

Purple fall asters flowering

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Asters are typically the last of Austin’s wildflowers to appear in quantity each autumn. These are Symphyotrichum oblongifolium at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on October 25th.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 14, 2017 at 4:34 AM

Above and beyond the call

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Above and beyond the call of yellow put forth in the lower foreground by camphorweed (Heterotheca subaxillaris), you’ll find leanings and standings of Maximilian sunflowers (Helianthus maximiliani). Reaching in from the bottom left are some branches of paloverde (Parkinsonia aculeata).

This fall prairie display graced an undeveloped property along Joe Barbee Dr. in far north Austin on October 12th. I occasionally saw other Maximilian sunflowers around Austin through November. Just two days ago I found a few in the northern suburb of Cedar Park; while the bit of snow we’d had left their ray flowers bedraggled, the plants still stood erect.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 11, 2017 at 5:28 PM

Out of season

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Botanical field guides tell us the time(s) of the year when a species normally flowers. “Normally” is the operative word, based on observations over decades. Often what has proved true keeps on being true: books say that our prickly pear cacti bloom in the spring, and sure enough, I’ve never seen a prickly pear flower here in any other season. Some other species are freer in their stirrings, and that was the case with the firewheels I found on December 3 along the Colorado River at Loop 360. Gaillardia pulchella is described as blooming in the spring and occasionally into the summer, but here I found a small group that had put out some very healthy-looking flowers just three weeks before Christmas.

I’d gone out that morning to try for some pictures of fog, a rare occurrence here. I didn’t get any good fog pictures, but the firewheels made up for that. The low light led me to use an uncharacteristically wide aperture of f/2.8. That accounts for the photograph’s shallow depth of field, with only the nearest ray and the closest part of the central disk coming into good focus. At the same time, the limited depth of field caused distracting background details to graciously dissolve into amorphous areas of muted colors.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 8, 2017 at 4:46 AM

Do you see it?

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Here from my neighborhood on October 21st are some buds and flowers of Ageratina havanensis, known as shrubby boneset, white mistflower, and Havana snakeroot.

Did you notice the little visitor?

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 25, 2017 at 4:43 AM

Spittlebug on resin bush

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My first visit in a good while to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center came on October 25th. During that photo foray I noticed a resin bush (Viguiera stenoloba) with plenty of spittlebug spittle on it. For a closer look, click the excerpt below.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 21, 2017 at 4:54 AM

Two closer looks

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Here you have two closer looks than last time at Baccharis neglecta, a shrub or slender tree known as poverty weed, which in the fall produces no poverty of fluff.

The yellow in the background of the second picture came from Maximilian sunflowers, Helianthus maximiliani, and goldenrod, Solidago spp. Notice the characteristic herringbone pattern of the small branches.

I took these photographs in a “vacant” lot on the west side of Grand Avenue Parkway north of Royston Ln. on October 12. If this is a vacancy, no one need apply to fill it.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 18, 2017 at 4:52 AM

A colorful autumn scene on the Blackland Prairie

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West side of Grand Avenue Parkway north of Royston Ln. on October 12.

Fluffy white: poverty weed, Baccharis neglecta.

Nearer yellow: goldenrod, Solidago spp.

Farther yellow: Maximilian sunflowers, Helianthus maximiliani.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 17, 2017 at 4:53 AM

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