Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Outdoors indoors

with 20 comments

Thorncrowne Chapel 8283

Click for greater clarity.

The attendant at the glass-walled Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, told us when we visited on November 8th that we’d missed the peak color by from several days to a week. As a result, the “standard” horizontal panoramic photograph taken inside the chapel looking toward the front, whether with green or gold foliage visible through the glass, was out of the question. Instead, I went for this unconventional view in which opposite outsides merged: the outside behind me was reflected in the glass in front of me at the same time that the outside in front of me was visible through the glass. Also notice the way the straight lines of the chapel’s architecture contrasted with the forms of nature, in which straight lines are rare, and the way the brown of the wood used for the chapel’s interior harmonized with the colors of the tree trunks and the drying leaves outside.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 23, 2013 at 6:03 AM

20 Responses

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  1. That is a dynamic picture with a lot going on. Nice job.

    Jim in IA

    November 23, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    • Thanks for appreciating it, especially when it’s an exception to my usual policy of excluding human elements and showing only nature—or maybe that’s part of the dynamic you cited.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 23, 2013 at 11:02 AM

      • The dynamic was largely within my mind trying to make sense of the scene. I switched attention from the fore and aft reflections and the wood framing on the windows. It is an unusual arrangement the brain has little frame of reference for that.

        Jim in IA

        November 23, 2013 at 11:20 AM

        • It was the unusual spatial arrangement that made this special for me: the three-dimensional outdoor realities in front of me and behind me collapsed into the pane (and also plane) of the glass, which of course is also the plane of the photograph.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 23, 2013 at 11:25 AM

  2. I always love a good reflection. Nicely captured, Steve~


    November 23, 2013 at 11:17 AM

  3. Hmmm…no Steve. Are we a little shy? Cool combination of reflection and reality.

    Steve Gingold

    November 23, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    • Good observation: you can see that I aimed slightly upward to eliminate reflections of pews and other things (including myself) that would have distracted from the picture’s concept.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 23, 2013 at 11:57 AM

  4. Je trouve cette photo fantastique Steve avec tous ces reflets.


    November 23, 2013 at 12:24 PM

  5. i see † s


    November 23, 2013 at 9:19 PM

  6. Yes, yes, pattern and repetition and geometry playing with organic shapes and textures.


    November 24, 2013 at 8:53 PM

  7. The larger version really brings all the virtues of this photo into clearer focus. As with your gold leaves, I’m taken with the way the sky permeates this image.

    After looking at it for a while, I realized what I find so compelling is that it seems to be the trees outside the chapel that have their branches uplifted in prayer. It’s a beautiful photo on several levels.


    November 24, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    • The bright blue sky that day (and again on the return trip two days later) made the autumn foliage stand out all the more, much to my pleasure. This is one of those photographs that excited me when I looked through the camera’s viewfinder, and there’s so much going on here that I’m not surprised you were able to read what you did into it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 24, 2013 at 9:55 PM

  8. I do remember this one. Still love it. Sometimes when the option to do the expected and hoped-for thing fails to appear, something better happens in its place.


    July 8, 2014 at 6:31 AM

    • And thanks for taking advantage of the unexpected opportunity to comment twice, more than seven months apart, on the same picture.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 8, 2014 at 7:53 AM

      • Back again to say, maybe *you* were the one who *first* got us thinking about this place and Crystal Bridges! 🙂 Thanks for that, along with the lovely images!


        September 27, 2016 at 1:30 PM

        • You’re welcome. It’s a pleasure to spread the word about worthy places to visit. I do hop you’ll get to go there soon.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 27, 2016 at 1:51 PM

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