Category Archives: Spring
Strawberry Pitaya Cactus Bloom
One of the reasons I traveled so far to visit Big Bend National Park, Texas, in late April, was to view and photograph the blooming cacti. I don’t know what it is about being so excited to see these lovely flowers as opposed to any other spring wildflower. Perhaps it’s because I am always so amazed to see something so prickly and painful produce something so colorful and delicate.
Englemanns (?) Prickly Pear Cactus Bloom
Eagle Claw Cactus Blooms
Pollen-Laden Bee and Prickly Pear Cactus Bloom
Claret Cup Bloom
Strawberry Pitaya Cactus
Tree Cholla Bloom
Bee and Cholla Bloom
Two Bees in a Prickly Pear Bloom
Prickly Pear Bloom
Bird’s Nest in a Blooming Cholla
I used several different methods for achieving these blooming cacti shots – all without the use of a dedicated macro lens:
- Canon 70-200 or Canon 100-400 telephoto lens zoomed in at their longest focal length
- Canon 40mm “pancake” lens with a close-up filter attached
- Pentax WG-3 point & shoot using its macro mode
- Canon 24-70mm at the 70mm focal length with the image ultimately cropped
Blooming Prickly Pear and Chihuahuan Desert Scenery in Big Bend National Park
Being on vacation, I’d totally forgotten that my latest photography article has been published in the National Parks Traveler website. It deals with photography in the spring. Go on over and check it out!
Yesterday, I drove out toward Texas hill country to capture some images of the bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, and other wildflowers – like this field of gold wildflowers (whose name I need to look up). It was a beautiful day and I managed to get some great shots, more of which will be in a future post.
If you are currently in the southeast/central part of Texas, drive Hwy 290 over to Chappell Hill and then take 1155 from there toward Washington-on-the-Brazos state park to see some lovely carpets of blue, red, and yellow covering the fields as well as much smaller spots of scenery.
I wrote a post awhile back about Brazos Bend State Park in the winter. This post is about Brazos Bend State Park in the spring – well, almost spring – I visited 3 days prior to the official first day of spring (March 20). I wanted to see if anything had changed since my winter visit. Plus, I didn’t have to return the Canon 100-400mm rental lens for two more days.
First thing I noticed: water. More of it. In all the places that had been high and dry before. In case you were not aware, Texas has been experiencing a horrendous drought. Everything that should be wet and swampy, instead was dull brown dirt covered over with clumps of green dry slime that reminded me of nori (seaweed). For this visit, everything looked as it should look in a swampland.
I saw more spring flowers, like these primroses,
and this herbertia,
and these spider lilies,
and this sweet little purple flower which I can’t identify (I’m not very good with wildflower identification, even with two Texas wildflower books in my possession). Anybody know what this flower is? The photo at the very beginning of this post is a wider-angle shot.
I saw Indian paintbrush, blowing in the wind.
And these yellow flowers (which I can’t identify, either), in the swamp waters.
There were more alligators. I overheard one set of walkers tell another set of walkers that during the mating season in April, the alligators get quite aggressive and can sometimes be seen clamped to each other’s necks, rolling over and over in the water or even along the pathway. Now that would be a photograph! All I saw were alligators lounging in the still, reflective swamp waters, posing for the tourists and looking menacing; it really doesn’t take much for an alligator to look menacing, and woe betide the person who so close as to elicit a low, rumbling growl from deep within, as the alligator’s jaws gape open to warn the hapless visitor to back off.
I saw lots more birds. It’s ironic that my photos of the alligators turned out better than my photos of the birds, since the birds were the main reason I drove to the park that day (0f course, alligators don’t’ move much, while birds move a lot). I saw three different little blue herons (you can tell they are the little blues by their brilliant blue beak),
Taking the plunge.
Crawfish catch of the day:
I saw a number of snowy egrets,
roseate spoonbills (way off in the distance, so it’s not exactly a stellar image),
one moorhen in its breeding plumage (none of my photos turned out very well), and a number of other little birds that I could not identify nor could I photograph very well (they just won’t stand still for me, dammit!).
The next time I visit will be later in the summer. We’ll see what other changes (if any) have occurred during that season.