Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Etwas anderes

with 38 comments

This post’s title, which is something different because it’s in German, means “something different.” That applies to the post’s photograph, which is also something different in these pages because it doesn’t show nature (at least not unless you consider geometry a part of nature). Oh well, I hope you won’t mind if once in a while I jump out of my box. The subject, which I photographed with an iPhone at the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan on May 29th, is the Oculus, designed by Spanish-born architect Santiago Calatrava.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 9, 2018 at 4:40 AM

38 Responses

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  1. Hi Steve, I started following you years ago when researching some wildflowers for photos I had taken. In addition to that, another interest I have is travel, so any photos you take while exploring this world, are a welcome addition! Thanks for sharing 😊


    July 9, 2018 at 6:59 AM

    • Hi. I remember you. Thanks for your interest in this. While I’m fond of traveling, too, and have done a bunch of it over the past few years, a picture like today’s will probably remain an exception in a blog nominally devoted to wildflowers and more generally nature.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 9, 2018 at 7:51 AM

  2. It is an awesome building.

    automatic gardener

    July 9, 2018 at 7:12 AM

    • That’s the way I found it, outside and in-. Have you been there?

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 9, 2018 at 7:54 AM

      • Yes and I arrived early when it was nearly empty.

        automatic gardener

        July 9, 2018 at 2:00 PM

        • That’s the best way to do it. Given the constraints of where we were staying (in Westchester County) and the rush hour, we didn’t get there till well into the morning, when things were getting crowded.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 9, 2018 at 2:08 PM

          • Ah, Westchester County, my old stomping (not that I ever really stomp) ground. I hope it treated you well.


            July 10, 2018 at 6:00 AM

            • It did. We stayed with my sister in Larchmont. We went with her to the Oculus and other places, including the town on Long Island where she and I grew up.

              It’s hard to imagine you stomping. If you ever decide to stomp, someone will have to make a video of it.

              Steve Schwartzman

              July 10, 2018 at 6:35 AM

  3. No green in these shadows, although it’s impossible not to see the same graceful, fern-like curves as in your previous post.

    I laughed at the title, which reminded me of what used to be the well-known Etaoin Shrdlu. There’s a good explanation of the term and some interesting comments in this piece from a 1998 tribute to the great newspaper columnist Herb Caen.


    July 9, 2018 at 7:40 AM

    • Now that you mention it, this does seem an appropriate follow-up to yesterday’s fern patterns. When I searched just now for “building that looks like a fern,” the hits showed either ferns or buildings but not what I wanted.

      After reading the Caen that you linked to, I found this in the Wikipedia article on the subject: “The letters on type-casting machine keyboards (such as Linotype and Intertype) were arranged by letter frequency, so e-t-a-o-i-n s-h-r-d-l-u were the lowercase keys in the first two vertical columns on the left side of the keyboard. When operators made a mistake in composing, they would often finish the line by running a finger down the first two columns of the keyboard and then start over. Occasionally the faulty line of hot-metal type would be overlooked and printed erroneously.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 9, 2018 at 8:04 AM

    • By the way, even though I’d been familiar for most of my life with “etaoin shrdlu,” the post’s title of “Etwas anderes” would never have reminded me of it because when I see “Etwas anderes” I don’t see nonsense but rather a phrase the makes sense. The fact that you found it incomprehensible confirmed that I’d picked a good phrase, one that few would understand—something different, indeed.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 9, 2018 at 9:20 AM

  4. It’s difficult when armed with a phone camera not to capture such curious surroundings. It’s nice to get out of the box sometimes. Feel free to do it again!


    July 9, 2018 at 7:42 AM

    • Carrying an iPhone sure is more convenient than carrying my usual 15-lb. camera bag, which I wouldn’t have been allowed to take inside the World Trade Center Memorial we were there to see. In retrospect, I probably should’ve carried just my camera and an all-purpose zoom lens so I could have had better-quality pictures.

      I’ve probably averaged one jump a year outside the box over the seven years I’ve been posting here. Who knows when the next one will be?

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 9, 2018 at 8:20 AM

  5. Great lines, great play of light and shadow: gut gemacht!


    July 9, 2018 at 7:47 AM

    • Danke sehr. Speaking of light and shadow, the light outside my window now is subdued and there are no shadows. Hooray for the rain! Hope you get it too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 9, 2018 at 8:13 AM

      • Yes, we did get some rain. It’s still overcast, which makes it cooler, and there’s a little drizzle still. Hoorah!


        July 9, 2018 at 10:52 AM

        • It’s good to hear you got some too. Here, three hours later, the day seems to be brightening, so that may be it for us. The rain did come down for a while, though, so we’re grateful.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 9, 2018 at 10:58 AM

          • We’re grateful for every single drop, aren’t we? Here, it looks like it’s been all we’ll get for the next ten days at least.


            July 9, 2018 at 11:02 AM

          • I’m happy to report my last comment was wrong. The sky gradually re-darkened and for the past 15 minutes we’ve been getting more rain.

            Steve Schwartzman

            July 9, 2018 at 1:29 PM

  6. Nice to see this view again!

    Marcia Levy

    July 9, 2018 at 8:02 AM

  7. WOW!

    Jenny Meadows

    July 9, 2018 at 8:28 AM

  8. One of my favorite places and the design transports you into a special place and the mind of a brilliant architect. And by the way his design on the outside is bird-like. Nature does inspire him.


    July 9, 2018 at 8:53 AM

    • Another blog had tipped me off to this building, so when I visited New York I made sure to go and see it. I took most of my abstract pictures outside, and mostly personal pictures inside. I get what you mean about looking bird-like.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 9, 2018 at 8:58 AM

  9. I love the light & shadow arch superimposed on the vertical ribs, it’s a very neat shot. It’s wonderful when a public building is something beautiful and uplifting, and not just a utilitarian mass of concrete. This is almost like a secular cathedral.

    Robert Parker

    July 9, 2018 at 9:31 AM

    • A secular cathedral: that’s an excellent way to put it. Geometry, mathematics, logic: those are secular religions for some people. You’ve reminded me that a main purpose of Gothic cathedrals, with their great height, was to symbolize spiritual uplifting. Near the end of this trip we also visited Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Fallingwater,” which for many people has long been an architectural mecca, if I can mix religious metaphors.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 9, 2018 at 9:41 AM

      • I made the Hajj to Fallingwater, and expected to be underwhelmed, after seeing so many pictures of it. But I was wrong, it still has the power to “Wow!” and we loved it.

        Robert Parker

        July 9, 2018 at 10:03 AM

        • I wasn’t sure what to expect there, given that, like you, I’d seen so many pictures of it. And like you, we found the visit worthwhile. Unfortunately for me as a photographer, no pictures were allowed inside the house, and even the river below the house was off limits; that’s where I’d have needed to go to get a good angle looking up at the waterfall and the house. Oh well, I did what I could, and will probably have a post about it in a few weeks.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 9, 2018 at 10:15 AM

  10. It could be a nature photo. An abstract shot of tropical fern shadows in a glasshouse. I’m happy to see some box jumping xx


    July 9, 2018 at 5:26 PM

  11. This may be something different but the lines hint at natural forms. I am thinking whale bones.


    July 10, 2018 at 6:01 AM

  12. Most unlike you, I wondered if I had the right blog 😉 Top shot btw


    July 14, 2018 at 12:42 AM

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