Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

To Have and Have Not

with 41 comments

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Yes, once we had water. Ponds along whose banks I’ve taken pictures in years past have dried up. A week ago I went to Waller Creek, a place in central Austin where I’ve occasionally photographed, and found that it too was completely dry. I remember that I was there in the fall of 2006, when, looking down through my camera’s macro lens at bubbles and algae on the surface of the slow-moving creek, I could have repeated García Lorca’s words: “Verde que te quiero verde,” “Green how much I love you green.”

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 14, 2011 at 7:04 AM

41 Responses

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  1. What a stunning photograph! This should be framed on a wall somewhere, I just can’t stop looking at it.


    July 14, 2011 at 7:25 AM

    • Thanks, Shelly. I see those bubbles as little worlds of their own, little earths in water rather than space.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 14, 2011 at 8:19 AM

  2. Great image!

    Charles Ford

    July 14, 2011 at 7:47 AM

  3. I agree! This could be a painting. Definitely worth having on the wall.


    July 14, 2011 at 9:02 AM

    • Thanks, Sarah. I’ll say to you and Shelly that my sister has a different algae picture of mine hanging on a wall in her house in the Berkshires.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 14, 2011 at 12:07 PM

  4. Stunning image – it really is hard to believe it’s a photograph and not a painting. The art of nature!

    The Central Scrutinizer

    July 14, 2011 at 9:38 AM

    • There’s an overlap between photography and painting, as I mean to point out in tomorrow’s post; stay tuned (and notice how masterfully the blogger builds suspense).

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 14, 2011 at 12:09 PM

  5. Beautiful indeed!


    July 14, 2011 at 9:51 AM

    • Thanks, Michele. As Waller Creek is dormant, so too has this photo lain dormant till now, when it comes to green up our computer screens.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 14, 2011 at 12:18 PM

  6. What a stunning image of what used to be Waller Creek. It is nice to be reminded of “Verde que te quiero verde,” “Green how much I love you green.”

    P.S. Those who would like to do a little linguistic “verdifying” are welcome to check out the post from my other blog that led off with the García Lorca quotation, as well as the two posts that followed it (in one of which I even managed to sneak in a nature photo).


    July 14, 2011 at 9:55 AM

    • I like the way you say “what used to be Waller Creek.” Let’s have faith and call it a once and future creek, as rain is bound to return one of these days or weeks or months. For those of you familiar with Austin, I’ll add that I took this picture on the not-so-well-known and little-visited stretch of upper Waller Creek on the north side of Koenig Lane.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 14, 2011 at 12:15 PM

  7. Cool abstract! 🙂


    July 14, 2011 at 1:28 PM

  8. A surreal picture. Without explanation I would have considered it a painting too.

    That’s what an algae in a slow moving creek looks like, when you get close enough? I’d never have guessed. I see it is worth looking at some ordinary stuff much more closely.


    July 14, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    • Yes, those green strands aren’t visible from eye level when a person is standing up. I got down very close to the surface of the water, and then I saw a different world. A lot of “ordinary” things become extraordinary when looked at closely enough. Think of the thrill, several centuries ago, of the first people to look at everyday objects through a microscope.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 14, 2011 at 3:33 PM

  9. What a fantastic image resembling some kind of science fiction scene!

    Watching Seasons

    July 14, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    • Agreed. I can even think of a couple of titles for a science fiction movie: The Invasion of the Green Slime, or The Slime from Outer Space.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 14, 2011 at 3:35 PM

  10. The variegated greens and blues in your bubble universe beautifully reflect the light to create a fantasy for our eyes! Wait, I think that the bubbles are moving . . .

    Barbara Youngleson

    July 14, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    • Thanks for your vivid description of this “bubble universe,” Barbara. The bubbles are indeed moving, in your and now our mind.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 14, 2011 at 6:35 PM

  11. Such a lovely image – and I like your choice of quotes too! – I could also see this up on a bathroom wall 😉


    July 15, 2011 at 4:13 AM

    • Thanks, Lu. I’m glad you enjoyed the picture and the quotation. I mentioned in a comment above that my sister has a different algae picture of mine hanging on a wall in her house in the Berkshires; I believe it’s a bathroom wall.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 15, 2011 at 5:54 AM

      • Oops: my sister just informed me that an algae picture is not among the photographs of mine that are on her walls. Chalk my statement up to unintentional poetic license or creative misremembering.

        Steve Schwartzman

        July 15, 2011 at 6:39 AM

  12. Artistic abstract shot! Love it!


    July 15, 2011 at 6:31 AM

  13. Hi Steve!
    My thanks for sharing this picture. It is not only the picture itself which so intrigues me, but also your words. I instantly recall the colors of places I once visited and now long to return to them. In particular I see a small pond at which I spent so many hours when I was young.
    A saw this pond less than a year ago and its magic seemed to have waned. The light and colors were missing, or off, it was overgrown, seemingly strange to me then. I shall return though, and flavor my vision with all those fond memories.
    Thank you,

    Henrik Högberg

    July 16, 2011 at 2:09 PM

    • I’m pleased that this picture and its accompanying words led you on a journey back to the magical pond where you spent so many happy hours when you were young. Though the magic seemed to have flown away when last you visited, perhaps it will just as mysteriously reappear when you make the return visit that you’re already contemplating. Even if not, the flavor is as much in your memory as in the pond itself, as you intimated.

      And a return visit from Sweden to Texas is always welcome too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 16, 2011 at 3:48 PM

  14. very cool shot Steve – like it a lot!

    Sheila Creighton

    July 17, 2011 at 1:06 PM

  15. Fabulous photo, Steve. So sorry to hear about the heat bubble and drought in your area.


    July 28, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    • Thanks, Lynn. In spite of the drought, yesterday I found a few puddles that were replenished by a seep and that therefore hadn’t dried out. Once again I got the chance to photograph green bubbles, though there were many more of them and smaller than the ones shown here. Food for a future posting.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 28, 2011 at 6:09 PM

  16. Absolutely rich in the abstract. Amazing!


    July 29, 2011 at 9:31 AM

  17. Beautiful! Feels like another world. Love the depth you’ve achieved and the hints of sky reflecting in the bubbles.


    August 2, 2011 at 10:59 PM

    • Thanks for your comments, Shannon. They’re especially meaningful coming from someone so accomplished with abstractions. Readers, take a look at her site.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 3, 2011 at 6:34 AM

  18. Stunning – I would never have guessed.

    I love macro work – it teaches us to appreciate the small details so easily missed in life.


    August 3, 2011 at 7:32 PM

    • It takes a really close look to see the patterns on the bubbles; from normal eye height you don’t notice them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 3, 2011 at 7:50 PM

  19. oh, goodness, i’ve got to get me a macro lens…this is stunning!

    yi-ching lin

    August 12, 2011 at 2:05 PM

  20. […] thanks to Steve Schwartzman for putting the idea of algae into my […]

  21. […] apparently led to my photograph of algae bubbles in a local creek. Drinking that water, even on New Year’s Eve, is strongly […]

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