Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Long and slender shadows

with 24 comments

In mid-June of 2017 the last stop on our return from South Dakota was at Monahans Sandhills State Park in west Texas. Look at the long and slender grass shadows cast by a morning sun that was at an angle of elevation close to that of the sand slope shown here.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 18, 2018 at 10:03 AM

24 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Absolutely lovely. Sun and shadow play…


    June 18, 2018 at 1:11 PM

  2. It looks like sand dunes on the beach.


    June 18, 2018 at 2:02 PM

    • And yet it was in arid west Texas, far from any beach. Coincidentally (or not), after I first visited this place in 2014 I wrote a post entitled “You don’t need an ocean to have sand dunes.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 18, 2018 at 2:10 PM

      • The Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco are out in the ocean and the famously cold juicy fog of San Francisco, but are geologically related to granite peaks of the harshly hot and dry Mojave Desert. They are pieces that were torn off as the cost migrated to the north. It is weird how they ended up in such a ridiculously different environment.


        June 18, 2018 at 2:20 PM

        • I recently watched some geology DVDs and saw how much land masses have moved around during the earth’s history. From what you say, the Farallon Islands are a good example of that.

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 18, 2018 at 4:38 PM

          • The Shannon Fault went right through the house two doors down from where I lived in town. The soil in our neighborhood was quite variable. The vegetable garden had very good soil, but just a few yards away, where the fig tree grew, it was very rocky and completely different. The roadway tore open and busted the utility pipes during the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989. In our neighborhood, the strata might have come from Mexico, Guatemala, or who knows where.


            June 18, 2018 at 6:18 PM

  3. Great composition!


    June 18, 2018 at 5:32 PM

    • I appreciate the composition and shadows more now than I did when I took the photograph a year ago. Monahans, about 300 miles WNW of Fredericksburg, is worth visiting if you get the chance.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 18, 2018 at 5:42 PM

      • I agree: well worth visiting.


        June 19, 2018 at 8:55 AM

        • Are you speaking from experience or from anticipation?

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 19, 2018 at 9:19 AM

          • Anticipation. It’s on our bucket list.


            June 19, 2018 at 12:06 PM

            • Fortunately the bucket in this case is relatively close to you. We stopped there on our way back from Carlsbad Caverns; you could reverse the order.

              Steve Schwartzman

              June 19, 2018 at 12:08 PM

              • Well, as we still want to have a “RailTrailsRoadTrip” taking us westward, through New Mexico, and then northward, both are within easy reach.


                June 19, 2018 at 12:15 PM

  4. Nice Steve! Love the thin shadows!

    Reed Andariese

    June 18, 2018 at 6:43 PM

  5. The sand almost appears to have been raked, Steve. Nice effect!


    June 19, 2018 at 7:24 PM

  6. The grassy dunes surely are as smooth as those in the background, and yet the shadows make them appear textured. It’s a wonderful illusion — and how fortunate you were to be there at just the right time to capture it. It’s interesting to see such different plant life on these dunes. Generally speaking, were the grasses shorter there?


    June 20, 2018 at 9:40 PM

    • As always, you’re a good observer. You noticed the sand in the foreground seems to show more texture than that in the background. In this case the different appearance was due to distance; in fact, the sand in the background was just as textured. The reason for the texture in the foreground wasn’t the shadows, as you conjectured, but the rain that had fallen the previous afternoon. By the morning of our visit, the wind hadn’t yet had a chance to dry out and therefore also smooth out the sand’s surface.

      You can get a better look at the pock-marked sand in a post from last year:


      As for the grasses there, I can’t remember whether they were all as short as the ones shown in the current post. Maybe another visit is in order, preferably not in such hot weather.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 21, 2018 at 10:32 AM

  7. This is a very elegant photo.


    July 13, 2018 at 9:48 AM

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 )

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: