Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A different point of view

with 23 comments


As you heard last time, late in the afternoon on October 21st we stopped in far northern Arizona at the Navajo Bridge over the Colorado River. I’d never heard of the bridge, which I found out was built way back in 1927-28. Its arch measures 616 ft., its total length 834 ft., and its height above the river 467 ft. In 1995 a new, stronger bridge was inaugurated parallel to the old one, which has remained open for foot and bicycle traffic. It’s a good place for a photographer to walk out to get an unobstructed look at the river and both sides of its canyon, as you see above. More interesting artistically, at least to me, is the abstract view from the middle of the bridge looking mostly down at one side of the gorge and the adjacent part of the river:


© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 12, 2016 at 4:47 AM

23 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. You are painting with photo camera. Beautiful colors, amazing textures.


    December 12, 2016 at 5:03 AM

  2. Both images are just stunning! So beautiful!


    December 12, 2016 at 6:42 AM

    • Cathedral Rock and the Colorado River canyon visible from the same place: what a great find it was.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 12, 2016 at 6:48 AM

  3. Breathtakingly humbling…I’ve spent much time in the Southwest and it astonishes the senses.


    December 12, 2016 at 8:14 AM

    • Astonish the senses it does. You’re fortunate to have spent a lot of time in the Southwest. After our visit two autumns ago I was eager to spend more time in the desert.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 12, 2016 at 8:18 AM

  4. It looks extraordinary- such rugged sculpted geology. Amazing how water can delve deep pathways through rock. Love the colours in the abstract.

    Nature on the Edge

    December 12, 2016 at 11:37 AM

    • Extraordinary is how I saw it, too. There are plenty of rugged scenes like the one in the top picture, but the abstraction shown in the second photo was unique among the many things I encountered on this trip.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 12, 2016 at 11:48 AM

  5. Wow!

    kathy henderson

    December 12, 2016 at 12:33 PM

  6. Is this the same bridge as the Navajo Bridge? Near Marble Canyon / Lees Ferry?


    December 12, 2016 at 12:54 PM

    • Thanks for catching my mistake, which I’ve corrected in the text. I don’t know what made me write Apache instead of Navajo, when my photo archive has it labeled Navajo. I saw the other day when I looked at your blog that you passed by on your visit through the Southwest:


      Steve Schwartzman

      December 12, 2016 at 1:55 PM

      • I just thought maybe it had several names! A wonderful region. I loved all that space and nobody in it. Crazy rocks and crazy colours.


        December 12, 2016 at 5:34 PM

        • Unfortunately, as you’ve heard, when I was at Zion and the Grand Canyon and some other places, they were far from having nobody in them. Even so, I was thrilled to be back in the Southwest.

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 12, 2016 at 11:04 PM

  7. I don’t recall ever being here and I’ve been so many places in the southwest. Your second photo makes me lose my perspective. I have revisited it several times today and can’t quite fix it in my mind. I love the water as it reminds me of painting done on the backside of glass. You must have been very high up when you took this shot?


    December 12, 2016 at 9:36 PM

    • The distance from the camera pretty much straight down to the water in the second photograph was about 470 feet. And you’re right about the water looking as if it was painted on the back of glass; I’d never have thought of that. I’m glad to hear you lost your perspective, because that’s what an abstraction should do to an onlooker.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 12, 2016 at 10:57 PM

  8. Am I correct in my assumption that the light-brown band is the river bed diffused by the undulating surface of the moving water? Also, I can’t identify the fascinating texture of the bluish band in the lower frame. What is it, please?


    December 14, 2016 at 10:00 AM

    • That’s what I take the light brown band to be.
      The blue puzzles me. It would be easy to believe we’re looking at clouds reflected in the water, but there were no such clouds overhead at the time, as the first picture confirms. Whatever caused the mysterious visual texture, I love it. This photograph has become one of my all-time favorite abstractions.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 14, 2016 at 10:31 AM

  9. I hadn’t seen this abstraction earlier today when I mentioned some of your other dramatic photos. This one’s just as compelling — and beautiful. The colors remind me of a rainbow, even though they’re arranged differently.

    I saw the blue and brown portions quite differently than you and Gary. I assumed the brown was reflection from the upper part of the canyon wall. Whether that’s true or not, the water color reminded me of hill country rivers. When I went looking to see what kind of rock made up the canyon, I discovered that the bridge is located at Marble Canyon, which isn’t marble at all, but limestone.

    The funny texture on the surface of the water reminded me of a phenomenon I’ve seen in limestone-bedded creeks and rivers in the hill country when springs are active because of rain, and water rising up from the ground mixes with water flowing over the ground. On a hunch, I went looking, and found a scientific paper that seems to support my hypothesis that active springs and/or groundwater mixing were the cause of the funny texture. I could be wrong, of course — this is pretty far outside my comfort zone — but the more I read, the more sense it made.


    December 14, 2016 at 1:08 PM

    • Your interpretation of the light brown band also makes sense. If I’d realized the ambiguity in this picture I’d have paid more attention while I was still there. On the other hand, in an abstraction we don’t need to know what caused what, and we may even be better off not knowing (but I’m not sure the teacher in me is happy with what the artist in me just said).

      It’s great that you found an article offering a possible explanation of the patterns in the water. I’d never have imagined water from below coming up into the river’s flowing water.

      In any case, I’m glad to have stretched the string of three “hits” into a foursome. It’s so much easier to be dramatic in the Southwest than it is in Austin—which is why I feel ready to go back for a third trip.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 14, 2016 at 1:27 PM

  10. […] * Coincidentally, Marble Canyon is the name given to a stretch of the Colorado River in Arizona. A couple of pictures from that area appeared here a year ago. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: