Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘wildflowers

Snow on bare stalks: horizontal and vertical formats

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Back to the January 10th snowfall in the northeast quadrant of Mopac and US 183.
The stalks below were Maximilian sunflowers, Helianthus maximiliani.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 23, 2021 at 4:36 AM

Prairie verbena flowers in winter

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Glandularia bipinnatifida; January 6, 2021; far north Austin.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 22, 2021 at 4:08 AM

Despite the snow and sleet

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Despite the snow and sleet that came down from the morning into the afternoon on January 10th, this is still Austin, and the very next day I noticed that a goldeneye bush (Viguiera dentata) in my neighborhood was putting out new flowers. As is true for various composite flower heads, the opening was asymmetric. In case you’re wondering, the background brown came from leaves on the ground that remained conveniently featureless at my macro lens’s widest aperture, f/2.8. And if you’re also wondering whether I’m already done showing snow and ice pictures, I’m not.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 12, 2021 at 4:32 PM

When they signed up to be Maximilian sunflowers, did they sign up for this?

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The post’s title is the curious thought about Helianthus maximiliani that came into my head while I wandered in the northeast quadrant of Mopac and US 183 as the snow continued into the afternoon on January 10th.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 12, 2021 at 4:32 AM

Wildflowers at the end of the year

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On December 29th I went over to the strip of land between Arboretum Drive and the Capital of Texas Highway to photograph some Mexican hats (Ratibida columnifera) that I figured would be there. And they were there. The sky was heavily overcast and the breeze didn’t stop blowing, but you do what you can with what you get. I set a shutter speed of 1/640 to contend with the wind, which actually blew some of the ray flowers into uncharacteristic positions that allowed for novel portraits. Because the light was low I used flash; that sometimes left the clouds looking unnaturally dark, which created the extra drama you see above. As time passed the sky remained overcast but turned lighter shades of gray, as shown in the picture below of a different Mexican hat flower head about half an hour after the first one.

Adjacent to the Mexican hats, most of the goldeneye bushes (Viguiera dentata)
had gone to seed but a few were also still pushing out new flowers:

And so this fatal year has reached its final day.
Are better times to come? It’s “yes” we hope to say.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 31, 2020 at 4:36 AM

There’s no month of the year when Austin doesn’t have wildflowers

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Yup, the title’s true. Here’s a December 15th portrait of an aster (Symphyotrichum sp.) in Great Hills Park as an example. Because the aster was growing in forested shade I had to use flash, and because the light from a flash drops off quickly, I aimed sideways so that distracting things in the distance obligingly went black.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 19, 2020 at 4:35 AM

Green and orange in the fall

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The leaves of the black willow (Salix nigra) tend to turn yellow in the fall, as you recently saw. On November 26th at the Southeast Metropolitan Park in Del Valle I was pleased to find several of those trees with some of their leaves taking on orange hues. Notice the fuzzy goldenrod (Solidago sp.) seed heads in both pictures.

And if you’ll allow orange to shade toward tan and brown, then how about this long colony of slenderpod sesbania (Sesbania herbacea) stretched out along the edge of another pond at the site? The trees lined up parallel to them are paloverdes (Parkinsonia aculeata).

Here’s a closer look at the thorny green from the opposite side:

If you’d like some quotations about the color orange, you can find them in The Quote Garden.

The history of the word orange is also interesting.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 10, 2020 at 4:37 AM

An octagon in the eleventh month that proclaims itself the ninth

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Hot on the heels of the out-of-season Indian paintbrush you saw last time, here’s another prodigy. It’s the Engelmann daisy, Engelmannia peristenia, a spring wildflower that normally has done its thing no later than July, but that I photographed in northeast Austin on November 13th. Engelmann daisies typically have eight ray flowers, as in this picture, and there’s a tendency for them to curl under, as you also see here.

If you’re wondering why September, October, November, and December, whose names indicate that they’re the seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth month, are actually the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth month, it’s because the Roman calendar originally began in March. January and February got added later, bumping the already-named months two places further down the line. And here’s another related tidbit: before July and August got appropriated for Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar, those months had been called Quintilis and Sextilis, whose names proclaimed them the fifth and sixth month in the original calendar.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 1, 2020 at 4:35 AM

Red of a sort that shouldn’t be here now

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The warm autumn in Austin this year led to the blooming of some plants that normally wait till spring. Among those were three Indian paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa) that we found in the wetland pond section of Barkley Meadows Park in Del Valle on November 12th. Below is a view looking straight down.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 30, 2020 at 4:35 AM

Thankfully some Maximilian sunflowers are still flowering

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“Linger,” said the warm weather to the Maximilian sunflowers, and they listened. You’re looking at Helianthus maximiliani along Impact Way in Pflugerville on November 20th.

A happy dose of sunshiny yellow to you all.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 26, 2020 at 4:45 AM

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