Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 31 comments

Click for greater detail.

Which way is up in this image? From the fact that trees normally branch as they rise, you might think that the picture is upside down, but that’s not the case. Here’s the story. On the morning of January 4th I’d come walking along the north bank of the north fork of the San Gabriel River near Tejas Camp in Williamson County, and at one point I encountered the remains of a long-dead and much-deteriorated tree, an Ashe juniper I think, that had fallen down and was jutting horizontally over the top of the rock strata that lined that stretch of the river. The embankment was just high enough that I could recline part-way on my back against it and still have enough room to lift the camera overhead to take the photograph you see here. The picture, then, looks straight upward. Now that that’s settled, we can go on to acknowledge that there were some wonderfully wispy clouds above me and above central Texas that Wednesday morning.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 12, 2012 at 5:07 AM

31 Responses

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  1. I needed to read twice to understand! lol

    Bonnie Michelle

    January 12, 2012 at 6:12 AM

  2. The color and texture are exciting. One transient and the other fixed. ~ Lynda

    Upon hearing that the Entwives might be traveling abroad Quickbeam, being a bit hasty, visited Texas in his search for them. He was unprepared for the drought I fear.


    January 12, 2012 at 7:37 AM

    • That’s a good observation about the contrast between the transient and the fixed (and I guess I’ll have to number myself among the transient).

      I haven’t seen any Entwives or Ents in these parts, but I have photographed some ants.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 12, 2012 at 9:21 AM

  3. Beautiful. Almost looks like something out of Utah.

    Mind Margins

    January 12, 2012 at 7:58 AM

    • In around 1994 I flew over Utah and was so intrigued by what I saw in the land below me that I resolved to go back and explore at ground level, which I did a few years later. I’d love to go back there now.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 12, 2012 at 9:24 AM

  4. The detail of this image is fantastic: I just want to reach in and feel the surface of the tree.


    January 12, 2012 at 7:59 AM

    • I’m glad you find the details in the image so vivid. Maybe someday our technology will allow for the sending of touch and feel the way we can now send sights and sounds.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 12, 2012 at 9:26 AM

  5. I sometimes photograph an object upside down on purpose. It teaches me new things about an object I “think” I already know. 🙂 Nice orientation on this shot, and that sky is a stunner.


    January 12, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    • As a pure abstraction, upside down is sometimes more appealing than rightside up. I’ve heard that in some art classes students are told to draw with the subject in a reversed or upside-down orientation so that they’re not influenced by the way they’re used to seeing the thing.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 12, 2012 at 9:30 AM

    • I forgot to add that wispy skies like that are my favorite kind. I remember taking pictures with that sort of a sky even in my first years in Austin in the late 1970s. Here’s a link to a portrait I did back then, not of a wildflower but of a woman, with wispy clouds as a backdrop.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 12, 2012 at 10:18 AM

      • Nice picture – wispy clouds are lovely to just sit and watch as they paint and repaint the sky.


        January 12, 2012 at 9:14 PM

      • I’m with you on that, Dawn.

        Steve Schwartzman

        January 12, 2012 at 9:45 PM

  6. What a great aspect in this image! I like images that make you think about things like direction and angles. Nice capture!


    January 12, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    • As a photographer (and you probably do this too) I often find myself thinking about directions and angles. In my case there may be some carry-over from my years of teaching math.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 12, 2012 at 10:16 AM

  7. Pretty tricky! I thought the clouds looked funny…


    January 12, 2012 at 12:13 PM

  8. I find the colors amazing, the contrast between the colors is also wonderful, but what I really like is the textures.


    January 12, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    • It was the textures that first attracted me to this fallen tree, but I’d already been walking and eagerly recording the wispy clouds, so it was natural to combine the two.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 12, 2012 at 2:35 PM

  9. Very nice image! I love the sky and old wood!

    BoJo Photo

    January 12, 2012 at 6:36 PM

  10. Great photo!

    Susan Scheid

    January 12, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    • Thank you, Susan. WordPress mistakenly put your comment in my spam folder and I discovered it only today. Sorry for the delayed reply.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 26, 2012 at 11:46 AM

  11. I love the color contrast and what a great way to capture it! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and for your kind words!


    January 12, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    • Yes, the contrast worked in my favor, even if I had to put in some back-bending work to capture it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 12, 2012 at 10:23 PM

  12. This really does make a great stand-in for Delicate Arch. Fascinating image…love that sky too!


    January 12, 2012 at 11:16 PM

  13. I must agree with Pixilated: from this perspective this beauty is wonderfully evocative of Ent legs. It’s also a beautiful tree trunk in and of itself, deserving of admiration for its impressive and distinct texture and fantastically shaped ‘legs’!


    January 12, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    • You and Pixilated had me at a disadvantage because I hadn’t seen Lord of the Rings. Now can the two of you arrange for me to get a modest percentage of the movie’s royalties?

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 13, 2012 at 2:00 AM

  14. Cool photo!


    January 13, 2012 at 9:48 AM

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