Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Ancient Egypt visits the Big Bend

with 33 comments

Sandstone Formation Looking Like a Sphinx 0518

Last week Steve Gingold commented that some rock formations in Study Butte reminded him of a Sphinx. That in turn reminded me that after I’d started the long trek home to Austin on November 23rd I stopped one last time in Big Bend National Park to do a little wandering and picture-taking. Among the things I photographed were the ocotillo you saw last time and this sandstone formation that looked to me like a Sphinx, although in this view it seemed to be having a bad hair day. The structure also looks to me now like the front end of a streamlined locomotive from the mid-20th century.

With those fanciful visions we bid adieu to the scenic Trans-Pecos desert of west Texas. Tomorrow I’ll begin to catch you up on some of the things that have been going on in nature close to home for the past month.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 3, 2016 at 4:52 AM

33 Responses

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  1. A friendly looking sphinx, methinx.


    January 3, 2016 at 5:09 AM

  2. I can see it.

    Jim Ruebush

    January 3, 2016 at 7:32 AM

  3. The similarity to the Egyptian Sphinx is obvious, although this one seems a little pensive, and perhaps even melancholy, as though he’s thinking, “He gets all those pyramids, and all I have are these thorny plants and a view of some mountains.”

    Wouldn’t he be surprised to know the Great Sphinx sometimes thinks, “I wish I had some ocotillo, instead of all this sand.”


    January 3, 2016 at 8:28 AM

    • First I saw a camel and then the next day a sphinx, both in stone. I’d noticed the camel on my previous visit a decade earlier, but not the sphinx, which is smaller and not visible from the nearest road. Now you’ve made me wonder if people in Egypt or nearby country have imported ocotillo as a curious exotic.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 3, 2016 at 10:10 AM

  4. One could do worse than be an imaginer of rocks!


    January 3, 2016 at 10:46 AM

  5. It could be both, I think.
    Have a great week,


    January 3, 2016 at 11:51 AM

  6. I can definitely see a face there

    Raewyn's Photos

    January 3, 2016 at 12:18 PM

  7. I can certainly see the Sphinx .. And I don’t mind the hair either 😉


    January 3, 2016 at 10:19 PM

  8. I do see the Sphinx, but my first vision was a speeding train…speeding, of course, being part of imagination as the rock is obviously waiting at the station.

    Steve Gingold

    January 4, 2016 at 5:44 PM

    • I’m with you up to the train in the station part, but I’ll grant that the speeding is taking place down the tracks of your imagination—not a bad thing.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 4, 2016 at 7:15 PM

  9. A Sphinx, a stream-lines locomotive, a lion’s head. Very striking.


    January 6, 2016 at 2:43 AM

  10. Oh my gosh! That’s awesome.


    January 15, 2016 at 6:27 PM

    • This was a bit off the highway and not visible from it, so I’m assuming that unfortunately you didn’t get to see it. Next time.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 15, 2016 at 10:16 PM

      • With four kids, we pretty much stayed in the ‘fun’ places that the kids could explore and Mom and Dad could bird. Yes, maybe next time…probably in a couple of months. We can’t wait to get back.


        January 16, 2016 at 8:31 AM

        • I’m happy to hear you’ll be heading back so soon. That way you’ll get to see more wildflowers, both in Big Bend and along the way.

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 16, 2016 at 8:51 AM

      • I posted the BBNP piece. Only took a month. Nothing happens fast over here. 😀


        February 3, 2016 at 7:25 AM

        • Poco a poco se alumbra el foco, says the Spanish proverb (which I made up): The flashlight’s light slowly gets bright. Who needs immediacy, right?

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 3, 2016 at 10:14 AM

  11. It’s definitely Sphinx-like in my mind. A Sphinx that’s been sitting in an open top car going fast along the highway. That would explain the hair do. It also reminds me of pictures of dogs that have their heads stuck out of car windows – their ears are blown back and they have flattened cheeks from the wind blast. 🙂


    January 23, 2016 at 12:46 AM

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