Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A tear about to fall

with 35 comments

Click for greater clarity.

And here’s a more abstract view of a “widow’s tear” about to fall from the tip of a spathe of a dayflower, Commelina erecta. You can see upside-down trees inside the drop of liquid, which acted like a lens.

Like the last two photographs, I took this one near Lake Travis on July 19. Unlike yesterday’s picture, not all of the spathe is sharp this time, as I chose to focus on the drop, which is the most important element.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 17, 2012 at 6:15 AM

35 Responses

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  1. OMG, that is absolutely stunning!!!! I love the reflections in the water droplet. I think you should frame that one :).


    August 17, 2012 at 6:24 AM

    • Thanks for your quick (and favorable!) comment. I certainly was fascinated by the reflections too: what a world in a drop of liquid.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 17, 2012 at 6:30 AM

  2. Steve, your photograph speaks volumes for its own worth. I especially like the way the eye is drawn down into the droplet of beauty that mirrors its surroundings.


    August 17, 2012 at 6:32 AM

    • Thanks, Sally. You’re right that the tapering of the spathe and the vertical streaks in the upper part of the drop draw the viewer down into the drop itself. I like your verb mirrors.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 17, 2012 at 6:43 AM

  3. What a beautiful image – the reflections in that tiny water drop are stunning.


    August 17, 2012 at 7:19 AM

    • I could say, borrowing the verb from the second comment, that yours mirrors the first one. I’m pleased that this image resonated with all of you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 17, 2012 at 7:31 AM

  4. I find it interesting that the seeming motion of the top half of the drop draws the eye to the base and fixes your view to that point. Your eye cannot rest for long on any other feature! It’s beautiful, Steve!
    ~ Lynda


    August 17, 2012 at 8:30 AM

    • I can’t say I planned all that, Lynda, but they say that fortune favors the prepared, and I seem to have been prepared that day. As is often the case, that meant getting down on the ground.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 17, 2012 at 12:53 PM

  5. Wow another stunning image.


    August 17, 2012 at 9:20 AM

  6. Lovely, lovely, lovely!


    August 17, 2012 at 9:21 AM

  7. Oh, aarg. Now this song will be playing in my mind all day long –
    “Many a tear has to fall
    But it’s all
    In the game:

    But seriously, this is a terrific picture. I prefer yesterday’s though for some reason. Maybe the shape of the leaf?


    August 17, 2012 at 9:24 AM

  8. Beautiful. Stunning. Love it.

    Mind Margins/Run Nature

    August 17, 2012 at 10:34 AM

  9. Oh my – love it, a drop of magic.


    August 17, 2012 at 10:51 AM

  10. I am with the general consensus that this is stunning! I love the image in the drop!

    Michael Glover

    August 17, 2012 at 12:35 PM

  11. Wow! I love this!!


    August 17, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    • It’s something new for most people, and I think that novelty is part of the picture’s charm.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 17, 2012 at 2:32 PM

  12. One of the photographers over at Vision and Verb just purchased an oculus after seeing another photographer use one. Their photos using their oculi were the first thing that came to mind when I saw this photo – “Nature’s Oculus” would be a fine title. I’m amazed that you managed to capture both the movement of the drop and the sharp image. It’s just wonderful.


    August 18, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    • I know the Latin word oculus as ‘little eye,’ so I’m inferring from what you wrote and from the references I saw on Vision and Verb that in this case it’s something like a large, clear marble. Water or glass, the reflective properties would be the same or similar, so I can see why this picture reminded you of that.

      I’m glad that you find the image wonderful but I think you might be giving me too much credit. Although the drop was getting ready to fall, at the moment when I took the picture it must have been stationary or mostly so. I’m guessing that the tension in the stretched upper portion of the liquid created those vertical lines on the surface that give the impression of rapid movement even when there was only a little motion or perhaps even none. Whatever the explanation, I still like the result, and I’m pleased that you find it effective.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 18, 2012 at 3:45 PM

  13. Stunning 🙂


    August 18, 2012 at 3:56 PM

  14. Beautiful Steve. Great image and observation on your part.

    Brian Comeau

    August 19, 2012 at 8:58 AM

  15. […] my other blog a while back I showed a photograph of a native plant that sometimes goes by the name widow’s tears. We know that the Spanish word for tear is lágrima, but sound changes have obscured the fact that […]

  16. Steve, thanks for the link to yet another amazing photo. The photographer in me would love to know how in the world you take such amazing photos. Of course, there is no simple answer other than try, try, try, right? Again, thanks for sharing with me. Simply amazing!

    Bayou Woman

    April 15, 2013 at 6:48 AM

    • You’re welcome. Unlike the split-second photographs of Harold Edgerton, this one shows an event that played out over several seconds. The drop gradually lengthened before falling, so I had enough time—though still not a lot—to focus and compose. And as you say, if one attempt fails (which happens often enough), try again.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 15, 2013 at 8:11 AM

  17. […] It was good luck for me, because I got this dynamic picture. […]

  18. […] bona-nox. The vertical stripes in this column of ice remind me of similar though shorter lines in a lengthening drop of water I showed here a couple of years […]

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