Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Chopping an Onion

with 29 comments

Submerged Rocks in Wind-Swept Onion Creek 2666

The wind, that is, chopping up Onion Creek at McKinney Falls State Park in southeast Austin on January 21. I’d been to the site plenty of times, but never with so strong a breeze, which gave this broadly open part of the creek a surface texture like none I’d seen on it till then. The resulting photographs, with their interlocking patches of color, differ from any I recall taking, whether there or elsewhere, and appeal to me in their abstractness.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 8, 2016 at 5:02 AM

29 Responses

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  1. Great title for the photo!

    Chas Spain

    February 8, 2016 at 5:13 AM

  2. I can’t take my eyes off that picture! Just fantastic. And I agree with Chas re the title: a great play on words.
    Have a wonderful day,


    February 8, 2016 at 6:41 AM

    • I’m happy to see the scene working its magic on someone else as well. There have been times when I got excited by a scene or object that others didn’t express a lot of interest in, so I appreciate hearing that it got to you the way it got to me. Likewise I appreciate your validation of the play on words.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 8, 2016 at 7:34 AM

  3. Terrific capture that reflects nature’s abstractions.


    February 8, 2016 at 6:41 AM

  4. Our shallow, limestone-bedded creeks really can provide some delightful surprises, and this is one of the best I’ve seen. I especially like the way the varying depths and light have combined to provide so many unusual colors. The wind-created ripples are lagniappe, especially that little collection of rhombus-shaped ones in the lower right.

    I was relieved to see the photo, and understand the play on words after I saw the image. With only the title, I was thinking of the less formal expression, “cuttin’ onions”: a euphemism for being moved to tears. I’m glad you only were moved to take a photo. It’s nice to see Onion Creek so soon after reading about it.


    February 8, 2016 at 7:42 AM

    • This time you’re ahead of me on the geometry, at least the small-scale geometry. I’ve been so taken with the Gestalt of this creek scene that I haven’t paid much attention to details, even mathematical ones. Just yesterday, though, I was watching a panel discussion on television. Behind the speakers was a logo that included a large W abstracted into several pieces. I noticed that two of them were trapezoids, and with a little counting of sides I determined that the biggest piece of the W was a decagon (though quite different from a stereotypical decagon).

      The bed of limestone a little below the water, as you pointed out, gets a lot of the credit for making this scene special. As for Onion Creek, it’ll be back tomorrow in quite a different guise.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 8, 2016 at 8:06 AM

  5. Amazing effect.


    February 8, 2016 at 8:26 AM

  6. Love the title! And that ‘abstract’ would look good on a wall.


    February 8, 2016 at 10:51 AM

    • Yours is the third vote in favor of the title.
      If I can reinterpret your suggestion, this landscape would be a wallflower in a good sense, even with no flowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 8, 2016 at 11:22 AM

  7. ¡Qué maravilla! Es una imagen muy hermosa.

  8. It’s also appealing to me for the same reasons. The combinations of shapes and reflections is very unusual. There also appears to be a sharpness/pointedness to some of the wave crests which I rarely see. Very interesting capture, Steve.


    February 8, 2016 at 5:20 PM

    • Good of you to point out the crispness of those crests, when crests of any sort are an unusual sight indeed on a creek. I’ll probably never see such a thing in that place again, so I was fortunate to have gone there that morning.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 8, 2016 at 10:47 PM

  9. Stunning


    February 8, 2016 at 5:58 PM

  10. The wind sure was blowing Steve. Great colours to go with the movement ..


    February 9, 2016 at 12:11 AM

    • Yes, it was a great confluence of colors, shapes, and textures. That creek is better known, or infamously known, for flash floods, as the next post will show.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 9, 2016 at 12:15 AM

  11. […] Creek in south Austin, which you saw wind-whipped last time, has a history of flash floods that have knocked down large trees, ruined houses, washed away […]

  12. Lovely colours and textures, but to continue the word game, the lighter areas could be seen as having a tripe like appearance, and most tripe recipes are made with onion. I happen to love tripe, properly prepared, but I won’t go any further. I don’t want to churn anyone’s stomach.


    February 10, 2016 at 6:53 AM

    • Better indeed to churn the surface of the water than people’s stomachs.

      I can’t remember whether I’ve ever found wild onions growing along Onion Creek, but someone presumably did.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 10, 2016 at 7:51 AM

      • Or the namer of the creek thought there were many layers to it, like an onion.


        February 10, 2016 at 8:42 PM

  13. Great combination of windblown texture and colors, Steve. In a way, it reminds of Yellowstone’s thermal pools for their wild coloration…not that I have been there.

    Steve Gingold

    February 13, 2016 at 7:13 PM

    • I saw the thermal pools at Yellowstone, but that was almost 20 years ago, so I’d like to go back with my current camera and lenses. I caught some of that sort of thing last year in New Zealand, but Yellowstone has lots more.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 13, 2016 at 8:51 PM

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