Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for December 2nd, 2014

I found the Lost Maples

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Bigtooth Maples Turning Colors 6693A

All right, so the lost maples aren’t really lost. That’s just a Texas way of talking about the bigtooth maples, Acer grandidentatum, along the Sabinal River in Lost Maples State Park and Natural Area, about 160 miles west of Austin. When I visited on November 14th the sky was overcast and a grayish white that’s terrible to aim a camera up into, so I couldn’t take many of the pictures I otherwise would have. I hadn’t been there for decades and didn’t know when I’d be there again, but in spite of the bad sky the maples were turning bright colors and calling out to have their pictures taken, so I found ways to oblige, usually by aiming sideways and sometimes, as here, including elevated backgrounds that blocked the sky.

Notice all the ball moss, Tillandsia recurvata, on the dead branches.

If you’re interested in photography as a craft, you’ll find that points 15 and 18 in About My Techniques apply to this photograph. While we’re on that subject, let me add that this photograph keeps reminding me of Chinese landscape paintings, especially the vertical ones, even though these fall colors are much brighter than anything I’m aware of in the Chinese tradition (but I know almost nothing about that). Here are some interesting observations I just found in the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History:

By the late Tang dynasty, landscape painting had evolved into an independent genre that embodied the universal longing of cultivated men to escape their quotidian world to commune with nature. Such images might also convey specific social, philosophical, or political convictions. As the Tang dynasty disintegrated, the concept of withdrawal into the natural world became a major thematic focus of poets and painters. Faced with the failure of the human order, learned men sought permanence within the natural world, retreating into the mountains to find a sanctuary from the chaos of dynastic collapse.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 2, 2014 at 5:34 AM

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