Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Trails and tribulations

with 19 comments

Mud Dauber Tubes, Spiderwebs, Rocks 4010

I didn’t have any tribulations along the Shoal Creek Trail below 32nd St. on February 5th, but the two-letters-reversed version of “trials and tribulations” was too good to pass up as a title for a post. Actually the trail in this area runs beneath an overhang of rocks created by aeons of high-flowing water, and to this day heavy rains and floods can render the path dangerous.

In this mostly upward look at the overhang, two features that had gotten added to the colorful rock stand out. One is the extensive cobwebbing, the other the adjacent sets of tubes created by mud dauber wasps. Click the excerpts below for closer views of those features.

Cobwebs on Rocks 4010

Mud Dauber Tubes 4010

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 16, 2016 at 5:06 AM

19 Responses

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  1. If the weather forecast is accurate, there could be some tribulation on that trail over the next few days as the rain moves in. The spiders and mud daubers that left their mark are smart. Build on the ceiling, and you increase your chances of having your construction preserved.

    When you mentioned mud daubers, the first thing that came to mind was your wonderful photo of the mud tubes that’s linked in the related posts section above. I still think of that photo from time to time when I see photos of Mesa Verde.


    April 16, 2016 at 7:08 AM

    • I’ve noticed over the years that you have a good memory for posts. I’d thought of putting a link to the one with the mud dauber tubes, but WordPress did it for me. Why the suggestions aren’t visible when we preview our posts, I don’t know. That creates the habit in me of rarely looking to see what related posts WP has suggested after a post appears.

      It’s indeed cloudy this morning, so we’ll see if the predicted rain over the next few days causes any tribulations. Yesterday I visited McKinney Falls, where Onion Creek was flowing well but showed no signs of anything untoward from last week’s 4 inches of rain.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 16, 2016 at 8:18 AM

  2. The mud dauber closeup resembles the Martian surface in some respects. http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/wiredscience/2014/01/curiositytracks.jpg

    Jim Ruebush

    April 16, 2016 at 7:52 AM

  3. And trails and tributaries comes to mind. I attribute it to the wonderful abstract photos here.


    April 16, 2016 at 11:09 AM

    • I appreciate your tribute to the abstract photos here. Some this year have shown algae patterns in tributaries of Bull Creek that I got to by following trails, occasionally with tribulations along the way.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 16, 2016 at 11:15 AM

  4. wow. so very beautiful.


    April 16, 2016 at 10:01 PM

  5. I like the two close ups a lot. Nature’s detail is beautiful.

    Steve Gingold

    April 18, 2016 at 6:04 PM

    • I’m pleased that you’re pleased with the closeups. The original photo is large enough that if it were presented in its full resolution you’d be able to see the details of the spiderwebs and the mud-dauber tubes without needing separate excerpts. To get the closeups, I went back to the full-resolution version and cropped out the two features of interest.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 18, 2016 at 7:26 PM

  6. Oh those are great!! Spiders are the most incredible architects 🙂 Funny that there’s already been mention of space and other planets as the webbing has a certain nebulous look to it! I think you could play a bit in photoshop and create something galactic with this one. Which leads me back to your title which my geek brain instantly read as Trials and Tribble-ations, one of the best EVER Star Trek episodes 😉 I sometimes refer to our cat, Luna, as Tribble because she has purrfected the sound they make! And she’s trouble too. Rambling now….

    • So you had your own “creative” reading of the familiar alliterative phrase. Star Trek came out when I was living in Honduras, and perhaps that’s why I never watched the show, although of course I’ve heard about it and seen occasional clips from it.

      You’re the second commenter in a row this evening (Texas time) that really liked these abstractions. Naturally I’m glad to hear that, being as fond as I am of abstractions. You noted that a previous commenter made a comparison to the Martian surface, and you’ve upped that to a cosmic connection.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 18, 2016 at 7:40 PM

      • I long to do astrophotography and other scientific imagery!! I love the way natural shapes form in similar patterns whether they’re on the microscopic or cosmic scale 🙂 The web also looks quite a lot like cells under immense magnification! Would you be interested in sending me the high resolution image and letting me create an imaginative scene with it? A collaboration 🙂

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