Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘wildflowers

Phoebulous St. Edward’s Park

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You saw last time in two horizontal photographs that on June 11th I documented parts of the cliffs along Bull Creek in St. Edward’s Park. Today’s first picture is a vertical version of the previous post’s first picture. Perhaps you’re wondering how the large black willow mysteriously vanished; the answer is that I waded far enough into the creek to get out from under the tree and have a clear shot at the cliff.

At one point, as I zoomed in to the max (400mm) on the top of the cliff and began to compose an image, a little bird flew into the frame and landed. Later Shannon Westveer identified the visitor as an Eastern phoebe, Sayornis phoebe, which you can see a lot better in the crop below.

Click to enlarge.

After I’d prepared this post I came across a mention in David McCullough’s The Wright Brothers of the comic poem “Darius Green and His Flying Machine,” written by J.T. Trowbridge before 1870. It contains these lines:

“Birds can fly,
An’ why can’t I?
Must we give in,”
Says he with a grin,
” ‘T the bluebird an’ phoebe
Are smarter ‘n we be?”

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 27, 2019 at 4:44 AM

But I wasn’t finished with basket-flowers for 2019

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I did much of my basket-flower (Plectocephalus americanus) photography for this year on May 26th, which provided the pictures you saw of a colony and an individual flower head. On the morning of June 9th, as part of a mostly cultural jaunt to Dallas and Forth Worth, we sauntered up Flower Mound’s flower mound, where basket-flowers were still putting on quite a show. (Presumably the season was the reason, with spring coming a little later to the area 200 miles north of Austin than it does to central Texas). Some of the basket-flowers I saw there seemed different from what I’m used to in central Texas. Among the differences were baskets that seemed somewhat metallic, almost as if made with copper or brass.

Several of the basket-flowers struck me as more bundle-like than usual as they opened.

Some had florets of a richer purple than I recall seeing in Austin. Naturally I welcomed the novelties.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 24, 2019 at 4:32 AM

Some last pictures from Bastrop

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On June 6th we’d gone to Bastrop by traveling south and then east, so we spiced up the return to Austin by heading north from Bastrop and then turning west. The show-stopper (and me-stopper) along TX 95 was a colony of beebalm, Monarda punctata, interspersed with brown-eyed (also called black-eyed) susans, Rudbeckia hirta. Below is a view of some susans in their own right that I’d hung out with while still in Bastrop State Park. As you can confirm, the excellent wildflower spring of 2019 hadn’t yet quit by early June.

Oh, and do you see that bare dead tree in the upper left of the second landscape? I walked up to it, wanting to isolate it against the sky, but I couldn’t find a position from which it appeared completely by itself. Below is the best I could do; at least I got a puff of a cloud as an accompaniment.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 22, 2019 at 4:38 PM

Like the torch the Statue of Liberty holds aloft

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Soft goldenaster, Chrysopsis pilosa, in Bastrop State Park on June 6th.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 20, 2019 at 4:43 AM

Whorled milkweed

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How convenient for a photographer: growing right at the edge of the path we walked on in Bastrop State Park on June 6th were some flowers whose structure yelled out “Milkweed!” Not recognizing the species, I later looked in Michael Eason’s Wildflowers of Texas, which led me to conclude the plant was whorled milkweed, Asclepias verticillata. Below is a closeup showing a developing seed pod, beyond which you can again make out the characteristic color of the iron-rich earth in Bastrop.

While preparing this post I realized that five years ago I showed a picture of a milkweed in New Mexico with a slightly different scientific name, Asclepias subverticillata.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 18, 2019 at 4:49 PM

A pristine basket-flower

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A couple of weeks ago you saw a colony of basket-flowers (Plectocephalus americanus).
Now from May 26th along Burnet Rd. here’s a much closer view of a fresh one.
The ghosts in the background were horsemints (Monarda citriodora).
The traces of yellow-orange were coreopsis (Coreopsis sp.).

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 14, 2019 at 4:45 AM

Just your run-of-the-mill fabulous Texas wildflowers

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Meister Lane cul-de-sac on the Blackland Prairie along the border between Austin and Round Rock on May 26.

Red = firewheels (Gaillardia pulchella)

Yellow = sundrops (Oenothera berlandieri)

Yellow-green = prairie parsley (Polytaenia nuttallii)

Purple = prairie verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida)

Pale violet = horsemints (Monarda citriodora)

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 13, 2019 at 4:43 AM

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