Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Waterfall abstraction

with 19 comments

Base of Waterfall Abstraction 3975

In contrast to yesterday’s colorful wildflowers in a cemetery, here’s a mostly monochrome view from April 20th, when I spent some time by a little waterfall that’s part of the prairie reconstruction along Tom Miller St.

For the photographic cognoscenti among you, I’ll add that I used a shutter speed of 1/25 of a second. For the artistically minded, I’ll add that the somewhat blue cast in this abstract photograph is due to the shade that still covered the falls at the time in the morning when I visited.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 28, 2015 at 5:30 AM

19 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. That looks refreshing 🙂 I’d love to hear more about the prairie restoration there.


    May 28, 2015 at 5:43 AM

  2. An appropriate post considering the weather in Texas at the moment.


    May 28, 2015 at 6:27 AM

    • We got no rain in our northwestern part of Austin yesterday, but I saw on television that 2 inches fell on the far southern reaches of town. We’ve got another dull and grey day so far this morning.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 28, 2015 at 7:16 AM

      • An opportunity for more monochromatic photos.


        May 28, 2015 at 10:36 PM

        • I’m afraid the monochrome I saw this morning was bright green as I mowed the lawn, where the grass had grown up quickly from all the rain.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 28, 2015 at 10:40 PM

  3. Given recent (and on-going) weather events, I suspect many similar waterfalls are contributing to what we might call waterfulls. (In some places, unfortunately, they have wateroverfulls.)

    But I’ll confess my first thought was of Clematis drummondi, especially photos like this.

    And while there’s that lovely blue cast to the water in the lower part of the photo, there’s also a patch of yellow in the upper left. Maybe you were photobombed by a sunbeam.


    May 28, 2015 at 7:24 AM

    • On television I’ve seen some of the wateroverfulls in Houston that followed the ones in central Texas. I’d say it’s a good thing we traveled back to Austin on Sunday, because by Monday we might have encountered road closures.

      As usual, you have a good imagination, one that this time likens feathery Clematis drummondii strands to water in motion. I suspect you wouldn’t have seen things that way if the water hadn’t been softened down by the slow shutter speed.

      I noticed that yellowish area too, and I think you’re right that it came from an errant bit of sunshine. The area right above the top of the waterfall was already in full sun.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 28, 2015 at 8:05 AM

  4. This has a wonderful abstract look to it. Did you use a tripod or hand hold the camera?


    May 28, 2015 at 8:04 AM

    • Lazy me handheld the camera. I did lots of experiments, all by hand, with shutter speeds fast and slow. In this view there were no rocks or other stationary features that would have come out blurred by too slow a shutter speed. I think on other occasions I managed to get as slow as a quarter of a second when I steadied myself against a tree.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 28, 2015 at 8:09 AM

    • Let me add that it can be helpful to set the camera to what used to be called motor drive, which is to say that as long as you hold the shutter button down, the camera will keep taking pictures (until the memory buffer fills up, anyhow). On my Canon 5D Mark III, that means up to 6 frames per second in raw mode (which I always use).

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 28, 2015 at 9:12 AM

  5. Interesting photo, I love the detail you captured. It is such an engaging image.

  6. I’ve just read the blog of a friend in Oklahoma. She’s having major flooding. That’s how I heard that Texas was experiencing floods. It’s really not something I associate with your area. I think desert and heat when I think Texas but your blog has certainly shown me that Texas encompasses so much more. I appreciated this waterfall abstract, Steve. It looks more like a painting. The top part reminds me of fireworks or those dazzling fibre optic lamps. It contrasts with the softer smooth flowing water below.


    May 28, 2015 at 8:59 PM

    • Central Texas, the part of the state where Austin is located, is infamous for flash floods. On Monday we had flooding downtown, as you can see here:


      Much worse was what took place that day about an hour west of here, when the Blanco River rose 31 feet in an hour and damaged or demolished over 70 homes and killed a dozen people, some of whom haven’t yet been found after three days.

      There was also flooding in parts of Houston over the next two days as the storms moved eastward and kept dropping rain.

      In contrast to all that destruction, this little waterfall was peaceful. I purposely used a slow shutter speed to create a soft and more painterly effect.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 28, 2015 at 10:15 PM

  7. Nice. Right now I think that you have a better chance for a nice waterfall shot than I. We have not had a decent rain in over 6 weeks and whatever snowmelt there was is long gone. Drip, drip. Of course, I am not sure we would want the rain you have had either. It would be nice if we could split the difference.

    Steve Gingold

    May 29, 2015 at 4:21 PM

    • I saw on television a couple of days ago that this has been the wettest Austin on record—and then we had some more rain yesterday. I’m not complaining, though, because until the recent downpours Texas had had a rain deficit for several years. We may still be on the minus side for the period as a whole. And we could quickly go right into another period with little or no rain, as you’re experiencing now.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 29, 2015 at 4:29 PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: