Archive for August 2014

August 2014 print: Flooded summer meadow

First print 08/2014 (1)

Here is my print for August 2014 - for once a photograph that I have created very recently and not yet shown on my website (it has been added to the "nature details" gallery). Our summer has been unusually wet and many people have suffered not only psychologically, but also physically. In the composition above, the flowers of a summer meadow next to the Weitsee, instead of houses, have been flooded. Only the topmost parts of the purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) inflorescences poke out of the water, while the yellow loosestrife (Lysimachia vulgaris) and all the grass and herbs are inundated. I really like how the cloud reflections, particularly in the upper third of the frame, add a mystic quality to the scene. In contrast, the foreground shows the weightlessly floating blades of grass in great detail.
It is the goal of my monthly print project to print at least one photograph per month in order to improve my printing skills and also to develop my appreciation for prints. If you have a favorite photograph of mine, you are welcome to suggest it as the print for next month (and to obtain the print free of charge). Also, check out the prints that I have created so far.

2014/08/30 by Unknown
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Flora: Wild tulip - Tulipa sylvestris ssp. australis

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug Wild tulip (Tulipa sylvestris ssp. australis)

Earlier this year, we went on holiday to the south of France and I had particularly envisioned  photographing spring flowers on this trip. The plant I was most interested in finding was the wild tulip. Most of us know tulips very well because they grow in gardens and appear in flower shops in a plethora of colors and flower shapes (examples were shown in earlier posts here and here), but there are several wild forms, some of which occur in Europe (even in Switzerland). However, I had never seen a wild tulip and on our trip we did not discover a lot of wildflowers except fir one particular afternoon. We had hiked all day long through the Gorges du Verdon, on the Sentier Martel, and had almost made it back to the parking lot at Pointe Sublime, when I stumbled upon the beautiful yellow wild tulip shown here; its scientific name is Tulipa sylvestris ssp. australis.

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The petals of Tulipa sylvestris ssp. australis have a reddish line.

In the photograph above, the "classical" structure of a flower belonging to the lily family (Liliaceae; the group of plants the tulip belongs to) is easily recognized. It consists of three sepals (the outer ring of yellow "leaves") and three petals (the inner ring of yellow "leaves"), which look almost identical in most tulips. However, in the two photographs below you can see that the sepals and petals in this wild tulip differ in their color. Moving further towards the center of a typical lily flower follow six stamen, which are again arranged in an outer and an inner group of three. Finally, the stigma in the center is typically tripartite. This flower structure and also the overall shape of wild tulip plants closely resembles their cultivated descendents, but the wild relatives look like miniature versions of the bred cultivars. At least the specimen that we have encountered was much smaller, inconspicuous, and rather difficult to spot.

Sepals and petals of Tulipa sylvestris ssp. australis.

Tulipa sylvestris ssp. australis, the particular subspecies of tulip that we encountered and that is shown here, is one of over 70 species of wild tulips. Their natural range extends from Spain and Portugal all the way to China, while the largest number of different species are found in Central Asia. Tulipa sylvestris ssp. australis is characterized by the reddish color on its sepals and petals, which can easily be distinguished in the photograph above. The outside of the sepals is covered by a reddish color, while the petals only have a thin red line. 

2014/08/24 by Unknown
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Watercolors 5: Cloudy Rhône-Arve confluence

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Today's watercolor example is atypical for this series: It was captured from far away (from the Pont de la Jonction) and the striking colors are caused by the waters of the rivers Rhône and Arve in Geneva; not by reflections and distortions. At this point, the waters of the Rhône have just flown out of Lake Geneva and are therefore clear, while the cloudy waters of the Arve carry along silt and sand from the mountains in France. In this photograph, I particularly like the cloud patterns on the two rivers. On the Rhône (left), the cloudy sky is reflected, while the clear Rhône waters entering the Arve create cloud-like turbulence on the right.

2014/08/11 by Unknown
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