Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A northern red, white, and blue

with 29 comments

Sunset Clouds over Lake Michigan 6792

Following a mini-tradition of showing pictures with red*, white, and blue in them to celebrate the Fourth of July, here are a couple of views from the shore of Lake Michigan in Zion, Illinois, on June 5. It was our first evening of five there, and as we ate supper in the restaurant of the Illinois Beach Resort and Conference Center the wind outside picked up and the sky turned increasingly ominous. Below is a mostly upward view in the opposite direction a minute later.

Clouds 6799

* We’ll invoke poetic license by allowing red to shade into orange.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 4, 2016 at 12:01 AM

29 Responses

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  1. Wonderful!

    Roland Theys

    July 4, 2016 at 12:55 AM

  2. Beautiful clouds!

    Traveling Rockhopper

    July 4, 2016 at 1:02 AM

  3. Well done 😄


    July 4, 2016 at 1:35 AM

  4. Better than fireworks. 🙂


    July 4, 2016 at 4:54 AM

    • Speaking of fireworks, tonight there’ll be displays in downtown Austin and several other places in the area.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 4, 2016 at 5:29 AM

      • Will you go out to watch them?


        July 4, 2016 at 6:52 AM

        • We haven’t decided yet. Over the years we’ve gone to the big one downtown a couple of times, but the traffic in and out and the parking are a deterrent. Some friends in Round Rock, a suburb of 106,000 people on the north side of Austin, suggested we come and watch their town’s fireworks.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 4, 2016 at 7:12 AM

  5. The beginning of a stay in Illinois, the end of a stay in New Zealand — you do manage to find some remarkable, and remarkably beautiful, skies. There’s something distinctively midwestern about these colors, too; at least, I’ve always thought so. When I visited the Tallgrass Prairie in Kansas, I brought back a large print of this July rain shower, taken by a friend of a friend. Even apart from the similarity in colors, yours have the same feel: nature’s grand gestures on full display.


    July 4, 2016 at 6:40 AM

    • It’s good of you to remember the end of New Zealand and to make the link to the beginning of Illinois. I also played with patterns on several Lake Michigan beaches, but nothing rose to the best in New Zealand.

      That’s quite a picture you linked to. I’d gladly have photographed clouds like those. Too bad we never see such grand gestures in Austin, where we rarely even have a great sunset.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 4, 2016 at 7:20 AM

  6. Wow, gorgeous!


    July 4, 2016 at 10:01 AM

  7. Some grand clouds. Of course, Happy Independence Day and just as importantly…Happy Birthday, Steve.

    Steve Gingold

    July 4, 2016 at 10:50 AM

  8. These two photos are stunning – I can almost feel the weather and atmosphere watching them……
    And also they are beautiful!


    July 4, 2016 at 3:17 PM

    • You’re fortunate than in Denmark you’re never too far from the sea. Being by the shore of Lake Michigan (which is like the sea) was a great opportunity for me.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 4, 2016 at 3:32 PM

  9. Those are the type of clouds usually seen in an oil painting of George Washington, accepting victory on some battlefield while clutching the reins of his white horse. That image is so strong that I suspect the photographer is making a sly connection between the clouds and July 4. [Check out the clouds in the window in the Washington portrait by Stuart, or the background in “Crossing the Delaware” by Leutze, etc.]


    July 4, 2016 at 9:14 PM

    • That’s a great observation. I see what you mean in Gilbert Stuart’s Lansdowne portrait of Washington and Leutze’s “Washington Crossing the Delaware” The last time we were in New York we visited the Metropolitan Museum and gazed on the huge Leutze painting there.

      To tell the truth, for once this photographer (c’est moi) wasn’t alluding to anything historical, metaphorical, or birthdayorical.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 5, 2016 at 5:50 AM

  10. The wonderful drama of nature … and these are all moments in time captured, two minutes before or after, those skies would have been quite different!

    anna warren portfolio

    July 5, 2016 at 3:10 AM

    • If I can judge by myself, photographers are only too happy to encounter drama in their prospective work. I was surprised by the amount of blue sky still visible in the second view, which followed the first by just a minute.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 5, 2016 at 5:54 AM

  11. […] so large that from most places along the shore you can’t see the other side. That was true in the photograph you saw that looked east from Zion, Illinois, on a stormy evening. It would also be true in this June 17th […]

  12. Beautiful pictures Steve and yes, I can see why you found similarites!


    August 21, 2016 at 10:39 AM

    • There’s something universal about the sea and other very large bodies of water. We have the last Ice Age and its colossal glaciers to thank for the Great Lakes in North America.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 21, 2016 at 11:01 AM

  13. […] the Fourth of July four years ago and two years ago I showed photographs with red, white, and blue in them. This year the blue blew away, so to speak, […]

  14. […] I’ve sometimes done for the Fourth of July, today I’m offering up a red, white, and blue photograph. It shows […]

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