Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Color comes to Costco

with 17 comments

Cedar Elm Turning Yellow with Wispy Clouds 4889

Click for better clarity.

Why am I showing you just a part of this cedar elm tree, Ulmus crassifolia, turning its reliable yellow on December 3?

1) That’s all there was of the tree. Naah, trees don’t grow in parts like that. Read on.

2) So I can be artsy and talk about things like negative space and complementarity. Well, you can believe that if you want to, but…

3) If I’d aimed any farther to the right, the picture would have included an edge of the large and boxy building that houses the discount warehouse called Costco. I had no desire to show that, nor have you to see it.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 4, 2014 at 7:26 AM

17 Responses

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  1. I don’t need to see the building. We have one not far from us. As far as big box stores go, I prefer them to some others. But, they sure do highlight the excess levels of consumption of society.

    btw…the orange positive space of the half-tree juts nicely into the negative space of the blue sky. Is that a ufo pulling a banner with your name on it? 🙂

    Jim in IA

    January 4, 2014 at 7:34 AM

    • Costco has good prices on some items that we like, and the local one is only a couple of miles from home, so I find myself shopping there on average once every couple of weeks. Architecturally speaking, big box stores are unprepossessing, but I’ve managed to find a few appealing bits of nature on the property outside, including




      This cedar elm is next to the bays where people get tires put on their cars, and I knelt in various places on the pavement in that area to take my pictures. None of the customers seemed to pay me any mind.

      I grew up on Long Island, so my family spent many a summer afternoon at beaches on the Atlantic Ocean. Low-flying small airplanes pulling banners were more common there than I’ve seen them anywhere else, probably because advertisers could count on having thousands of people outside with nothing to block their view of the banners.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 4, 2014 at 8:18 AM

      • Those banner pullers are a fixture – and a bane – of life around Galveston Bay. Car dealerships. Hooters. Big box stores. Everyone wants into the act. My cousin in Mena did it for a while, but quit. He said the risk of injury, damaging or losing a plane or even death wasn’t as high as for crop dusters, but it was right up there. I do wonder about the cost/benefit ratio. Everyone I know hates the things, mostly because of the noise.


        January 4, 2014 at 9:20 AM

        • And insidiously it’s that very noise that gets people to look up and see the banners. Unfortunately for me, the world continues to get noisier. Even on an “educational” network like PBS it’s gotten to the point that many scientific and historical shows have so much gratuitous noise (especially percussion) added to the audio that I end up turning off the shows.

          As for the banner planes around Galveston Bay, maybe you could start a campaign of having people contact the advertisers and say that they’ll never buy the products being so obnoxiously marketed.

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 4, 2014 at 10:05 AM

  2. For grins, view the image rotated 90 degrees to the right. The wispiness of the clouds and blue sky softly complement the tree’s extensions. Nice to not have a building spoil the image.


    January 4, 2014 at 7:56 AM

    • I tried what you suggested, Wanda, and the rotated view looked to me just like the top of a tree rather than the side of one: click here for the rotated view.

      The wispy clouds appealed to me, and I included them in other nature pictures I took in the neighborhood that afternoon.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 4, 2014 at 8:39 AM

  3. Framing the shot may not be everything, but it’s right up there. This is lovely, and your commentary makes it clear that the same principles could be applied to everything from a blog post to the clothing selections of young kids. Learning what not to show can be fairly important.


    January 4, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    • You’ve framed it well: background and framing are as important as the subject. Also, as you point out, it’s important to know what not to include, and I expect that all of us who have blogs have contended with that. There are parts of posts I’ve removed before posting, just as there are posts that I’ve killed in their entirety.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 4, 2014 at 10:18 AM

  4. What a terrific suggestion from Whilldtkwriter – you would never know the image was rotated.


    January 4, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    • I’m grateful to her for suggesting it. Sometimes when I go back through my archives I find pictures that I don’t know how to orient. My recent cameras have had a built-in gravity sensor, but that doesn’t always work if I aim straight down, straight up, or at an unconventional angle.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 4, 2014 at 10:23 AM

  5. There’s that ‘best policy’ again! D

    Pairodox Farm

    January 4, 2014 at 5:35 PM

    • The saying that comes to mind is “Honesty is the best policy.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 4, 2014 at 6:07 PM

      • Yup … and you, my friend, were being honest about composition and the intruding presence of the Costco!
        PS: Thought of you this morning when I looked over the upcoming weather report to learn that our high on Monday will be near 40 and the low, that night, will be nearly -5! Yikes. Talk about ups and downs … they’re tough on the animals AND the farmers.

        Pairodox Farm

        January 4, 2014 at 6:24 PM

        • And the photographers! The weather forecast here is predicting 16° Tuesday, not cold by your standards, but frigid for us. Who knows, maybe I’ll find some ice somewhere to take pictures of.

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 4, 2014 at 7:24 PM

  6. Amen, brother!

    Kathy Henderson

    January 5, 2014 at 12:08 PM

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