Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

New Zealand: Native bush

with 22 comments

Native Bush in Hamilton Gardens 8167

From February 26th in Hamilton Gardens, here’s some native bush (at least I hope everything in the photograph is native).

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 10, 2015 at 4:30 AM

22 Responses

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  1. No beating around the bush here — this example of New Zealand bush looks fully as impenetrable as the Liberian bush. By the time you whacked your way through that thicket, you might well be ready for a Busch. (I found that the beer is related to your photo: etymologically, at least,)


    July 10, 2015 at 6:53 AM

    • You opened with an excellent bit of wordplay. Yes, Busch is the German cognate of English bush. The Germanic word became French bois and Spanish bosque (as in Texas’s Bosque County and New Mexico’s Bosque Redondo).

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 10, 2015 at 7:20 AM

  2. Have you tried rotating this photo 90 degrees clockwise? It’s like looking at the scene through a kaleidoscope. With a touch of a crop on the right side to match up those two pink “dots” just down from the top (once rotated), the photo takes on a whole new life. I was going to flip it 180 degrees to check the reflection, but I got halfway and stopped. It’s really amazing.


    July 10, 2015 at 12:49 PM

    • I hadn’t looked at this picture rotated 90° but I’ve occasionally seen other people post a photograph that way to minimize recognizability, increase abstraction, and emphasize symmetry. My line of sight when taking the photograph wasn’t quite perpendicular to the opposite shore (which wasn’t a straight line in any case), so the symmetry has imperfections, but here’s the rotated view:

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 10, 2015 at 1:13 PM

    • I should add that people have sometimes created symmetry where none existed in the original scene. All that you’d have to do with photo-editing software is erase half of a photograph, then fill the empty space with a mirror image of the non-erased half. Bingo: instant symmetry.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 10, 2015 at 1:20 PM

      • That’s interesting. It never would have occurred to me that sort of thing would be possible. And even though it’s possible, it doesn’t seem like nearly so much fun as discovering even imperfect symmetry in the real world.


        July 10, 2015 at 2:37 PM

        • One kind of imperfect symmetry that comes to mind is that of a human face, where the left and right sides aren’t quite mirror images of each other (especially when you take hair into account). People have used the technique I mentioned in my previous comment to make perfectly symmetrical faces. The one made from the left half and its reflection can be noticeably different from the one made from the right half and its reflection. At


          you can see examples of that.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 10, 2015 at 3:28 PM

          • Perfect symmetry in the face seems flawed, as in not quite right.


            July 11, 2015 at 2:35 AM

            • The ancient Greeks conceived abstract geometry as an ideal of perfection, but physical objects seem to be at best approximations of ideal forms.

              Steve Schwartzman

              July 11, 2015 at 3:58 AM

          • That’s quite a project. What I found most interesting is that I didn’t notice the asymmetry in the natural faces until after I’d seen the adjusted images. Sometimes we can spot it easily (a broken nose, a purposefully asymmetrical hairstyle) but we seem to see faces as a whole.

            Speaking of noses: when I lived in Liberia, I sometimes heard, “You white people all look alike.” Eventually, someone who’d been there for a while and who studied such things explained that Liberians use different cues to identify people. They’ll pay particular attention to noses and lips, while we tend to weight eye and hair color.

            And then there’s the genius who didn’t quite get the Golden Ratio. For once, the comments are worth a skim, too.


            July 12, 2015 at 7:42 AM

            • Good for the commenters who jumped right in and pointed out the misuse of the golden ratio.

              The difficulty that people of one race have in distinguishing individuals of another race has implications for courtroom testimony in which a witness claims to recognize (or not recognize) an accused person of a different race.

              Steve Schwartzman

              July 12, 2015 at 10:21 AM

  3. Lovely reflections. The flax reflects really well and makes for some interesting effects. Love your rotation too.

    Raewyn's Photos

    July 10, 2015 at 4:38 PM

  4. […] the way, if you scroll down into the comments section of yesterday’s post, you’ll see how different and how much more abstract that landscape photograph becomes after […]

  5. Seeing your image turned 90° reminded me of some images posted by another photographer that he called mandalas. They would be much like your suggestion of removing the bottom half of your turned image and then copying and reversing the upper to create even quarters. It looks pretty cool.

    How were you able to post an image within your comment? I’ve tried to find something in the WP interface to do that but have fallen short.

    Steve Gingold

    July 12, 2015 at 5:59 PM

    • I thought about also showing a four-part image with double reflection, as you mentioned, but in the end I decided not to because I didn’t know how much interest there would be. Maybe some other time I’ll do a post that features a mandala-like image of that sort.

      I remember you were recently pondering how to get a photograph into a comment. Here’s what I did in this case. Using the old version of the WordPress editor, I opened the draft for a post (any post, it doesn’t matter). I clicked the “Add Media” button, then clicked “Upload Files” in the upper left, and uploaded the photograph I wanted. Once WordPress uploads that file into its Media Library, the photo appears as a thumbnail with a check mark in its upper right. In the lower right corner of the whole window you’ll find a URL that provides a link to the photograph. In the case of my rotated image, the URL is what’s contained between the XXXs in


      and that’s what I pasted into my comment. WordPress then went the extra step of replacing the link in the comment with the actual image. Whether that always happens, I don’t know, but you can try the procedure and see if it works for you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 13, 2015 at 7:18 AM

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