Thursday, August 27, 2009

Going to the Sun Road Glacier National Park

A really Favorite Drive.
One of the top 10 in the United States.
As listed by many magazines, and myself.

Click on the photos for a really magnificent vista !!

Lower section climbing out of the valley.
No travel trailers allowed on this road.

Middle section, well above the valley
Enlarge, and look at the pickup on the right,
for a sense of perspective.

These photos don't do justice to the scope of the view.

Near the summit

They have a magnificent Visitors Center
at the summit and some great trails.

Have you been there?
Leave a comment.

Note: all of these photos are "as photographed".

For other SWF posts,
see the SkyWatch site here


Thursday, August 20, 2009



The sky makes a great background sometimes to see the detail of plants.

Eryngium leavenworthii
Be sure to click on the photo to see the detail.

There are a lot of different species of Eryngo, which may be found in nearly every state.

Distribution for leavenworthii

Range Map:
USDA, NRCS. 2009. The PLANTS Database . National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

Please, leave a comment here and
Be sure to visit our new 'Nature Only' blog, named 'I C U Nature'.
Your opinion is important !!!
Tell us what you think about the format and appearance
of the new site at WordPress.

Click here to see I C U Nature.

For other SWF posts,
see the SkyWatch site here


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hot Texas Sun


It was hot this day, 100+ °F. in the shade.

I was on a Nature Hike at the Ft. Worth nature Center & Refuge with Michelle Villafranca. We were in the "Prairie Barrens" area and I was interested in studying the plant communities on the 'barrens' a little more closely. This photo is near the edge of a barrens area approaching some glades.

click on the photo for a better view

This photo is an example of a statement that I have said in previous posts. When you take a photo, try to remember not only what it looked like, but the weather, what birds you were hearing (titmice, or other sounds), time of day, what smells were in the air (dry hot grass in this instance), any breezes stirring the air, anything unusual about the geology, etc.. It will enhance the pleasure of viewing the photo later.

Note the characteristic color of 'Little Bluestem' on the left.

Google 'prairie barrens' for more information.

For other SWF posts,
see the SkyWatch site here


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wild foxglove

Digitalis is found in some
We were out looking for Celestial to photograph when we found this lone Wild Foxglove. Alas, the Celestials were long gone, but there were some interesting wildflowers and insects to photograph. More of these to come over the next few weeks. Click here to see last year's Celestial.

Click on the photo for a better view.
Leave a comment if you like the photo.

Penstemon cobaea Nutt.
Wild foxglove, Prairie penstemon, Foxglove penstemon, False foxglove, Large-flowered beardtongue, Large-flowered penstemon, Prairie beardtongue, Cobaea penstemon
Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)
USDA Symbol: PECO4
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.

When in bloom, large, tubular flowers line at least half of cobaea beardtongue’s 1-2½ ft. stems. It is typically found on rocky, calcareous soils in the Hill country of Texas. The flowers are white with dark purple lines inside the floral tube. One to three stout stems rise from a woody rhizome and bear thick, 2-3½ in. paired leaves which become smaller up the stem. The leaves have a waxy, shiny luster and are coursely toothed. The lower leaves have often withered by the time of flowering.


This penstemon attracts a variety of moths.

Ft. Worth Nature Center & Refuge, May 2, 2009.
Canon G10, f/4, 1/125 sec., ISO 100, 11:30 AM


Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Native Plant Database.

Marshall Enquist. 1987. Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country. Lone Star Botannical, Austin, TX, 275 pp.

PS: There is an interesting internet reference on digitalis obtained from two other species of Common Foxglove, Digitalis purpurea, found here.

Troy and Martha

Monday, August 10, 2009

My World Tuesday

My World Texas,
Based in Ft. Worth, Texas

Today in Texas
Cowboy Boots

What do you do with your old Cowboy Boots here in Texas,
when they are all worn out?

Why you hang them out on the fence of course.....

Photograph taken in a light rain, cloudy day, from the inside of the car.

Click on the photo for a better look.

If you like the photo, leave a comment,
and scroll down and see some of the other Texas posts lately.

Please visit "That's my World" for other great places of the Earth.Troy & Martha

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Harlequin Bug nymphs

There is always one to take charge and be the leader.
Just out of the egg cases.

Murgantia histrionica

You have to click on the photo to see the story.

I believe he is saying, "Hey guys, come on, I see some small leaves up there that we can hide in".


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ft. Worth Nature Center Marsh

Sky Watch
Looking for the Rain

120° Panorama

Boardwalk at the Marsh

Click on the photo and scroll back and forth
to see the receding water and drying marsh.

A skywatch for a serious reason. Looking for needed rain.

For other SWF posts,
see the SkyWatch site here


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Sad Story of a Weevil


or "A Good Photography Refresher Tip"

First, The Good News......
I made a nice photograph of a cool weevil while on an insect walk with Laura Veloz,
at the Ft. Worth Nature Center & Refuge. A broad-nosed weevil at that.
At first glance, I tentatively ID'd this as an Ophryastes sp., maybe varius.

Now, The Bad News......
After posting on one of my favorite sites, 'Bug Guide', the ID is now in doubt.
v.belov, a contributing editor of 'Bug Guide', tends to think it may be Epicaerus texanus.

Poor weevil. Now he/she will never be a famous star in an Entomological journal.
Without a proven bloodline or lineage, no acceptance.
You know how picky these Editors are.

The moral to the story, or lesson learned, is.....
Always take several photographs from various angles.
According to v. belov, a plain dorsal photo may have decided the confirmed idenity.

It doesn't cost any more to make twenty shots than one. I was just lazy.
I took 3 shots (all from the same angle) and all looked in focus.

Have you ever done this?
Leave a comment


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Cryptic Camouflage

One of the examples of camouflage is cryptic camouflage or 'blending into the background'.

Cryptic camouflage is an attempt to blend into the environment and become effectively imperceptible. To do this, the camouflaged object must minimize observable differences between itself and the background with respect to the senses of the target observer.

The definitive example of camouflage is a cryptic camouflage designed to match the visual appearance of the expected background, generally using a mottled pattern of greens and browns to match ground and foliage color and break up the outline of the camouflaged object.

This Catocola Moth is Catocala maestosa. The pattern is very well adapted to dim lighting. This photo is a much clearer image than seen by the eye in the subdued light along the forest trail. My flash seems to bring out the colors and separate her(?) from the bark.

Click on the photos for a closer look,

Discovered while on a trip to explore the Prairie Barrens at
Ft. Worth Nature Center & Refuge with Michelle Villafranca
The moth is the piece of bark in the center of the tree trunk between the vines.

The overall pattern simulates bark texture and grain.
Notice how the dark semicircles break up the overall wing shape,

An older name found in many books is Catocala viduata.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

August Whale Calendar


It's August......

Have you made and printed your August Calendar yet?

Click on the photo and scroll to see all of the calendar

This was a fun photograph to make.

Rocking boat, moving pretty fast
Choppy waves...lots of vibration
Heavy overcast, shooting ISO 400
Anticipating the breach location

Nikon D200
18-200 mm Vibration Reduction Lens
1/640 sec, f/13, 200 mm focal length

After all the heat here in Texas, Alaska would be nice again.

Leave a comment and have a great August.