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Bubbles at Base of Small Waterfall in Creek 7986

Doesn’t this flowing water at the base of a small waterfall in Great Hills Park on July 18, 2014, look like ice?

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 18, 2018 at 4:43 AM

69 Responses

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  1. When I first saw it I thought it was ice!


    July 18, 2018 at 4:58 AM

    • And yet ice produced by nature in the heat of the Texas summer would be quite a prodigy.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 18, 2018 at 6:06 AM

      • Quite so! I’d homed in on the photo before reading anything. Remarkable looking photo!


        July 18, 2018 at 6:14 AM

        • I’ve taken plenty of other high-speed (in this case 1/800 of a second) photographs of flowing water over the years. Why this one should have come out looking so much like ice, I can’t say, but I welcome the illusion.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 18, 2018 at 6:25 AM

        • And it’s good to hear that you saw the water as ice before you read any suggestion in words. It’s good I didn’t mention ice in the title.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 18, 2018 at 6:27 AM

          • Hahaha! Yes! That’s a very good point. I suspect if it had been my photo I’d have done exactly that – it’s much more fun the way you’ve titled it 🙂


            July 18, 2018 at 6:31 AM

  2. wow, it really does –


    July 18, 2018 at 5:05 AM

  3. Yes.


    July 18, 2018 at 5:11 AM

    • Now that gets right to the point.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 18, 2018 at 6:07 AM

      • I am from Yorkshire.


        July 18, 2018 at 6:37 AM

        • I take it people from Yorkshire are known for speaking succinctly.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 18, 2018 at 7:10 AM

          • I think it’s called taciturn Steve! Some people in Southland NZ are very similar LOL 🙂


            July 18, 2018 at 7:34 AM

            • Ah, a turn toward the taciturn. Maybe a disproportionate number of people from Yorkshire settled in Southland. Or maybe the cold Southland winters lead people to conserve energy by speaking less.

              Steve Schwartzman

              July 18, 2018 at 7:40 AM

              • You’re on the right track… a disproportionate number of Presbyterians from Scotland settled in Southland. Ha! I love the second hypothesis!


                July 18, 2018 at 7:47 AM

                • Are Presbyterians or the Scottish known for being taciturn? If both groups are, that would be a double whammy.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 18, 2018 at 7:56 AM

                • My impression is that the Scots have a tendency toward taciturn and that the strict Presbyterianism of the early settlers would have enhanced that.


                  July 18, 2018 at 8:34 AM

          • 😀


            July 18, 2018 at 8:40 AM

  4. The temp here seems to be heading towards freezing point. My birdbath may resemble your photo by morning.


    July 18, 2018 at 9:14 AM

  5. We’ve had some very muggy weather, and this is a welcome, refreshing illusion.
    If you’re branching out, from your customary flowers and landscapes, maybe next time, instead of a waterfall, you’ll do scotch on the rocks? or a Presbyterian (scotch and ginger ale), or whiskey-and-branch?

    Robert Parker

    July 18, 2018 at 11:01 AM

    • In the days ahead I’ll be giving you some rocks, no doubt about it, but without any scotch or Scotch on them. And there are bound to be some branches, but again sans whiskey (and let me branch off to say that I had to look up the drinking-related sense of branch). In short, the only spirits are likely to be those stirred by nature.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 18, 2018 at 6:07 PM

      • I saw someone at a hotel bar get a shot, and a tiny pitcher of water, almost doll-size, and heard them say “bourbon and branch,” but I think it’s a pretty dated expression. I’ll look forward to some spirited writing from you

        Robert Parker

        July 18, 2018 at 7:01 PM

        • I think it’s a geographic expression. My dad drank “bourbon and water” — that was the midwestern way of saying it. On the other hand, my folks’ best friends, in Kentucky, used the phrase “bourbon and branch” — probably because they were accustomed to water from a branch, which was what we called a stream or creek.


          July 18, 2018 at 7:40 PM

          • I assume the term “branch” originally got applied to a branch of a larger creek or river. Perhaps for some people a branch eventually came to refer to any creek, even if it wasn’t actually a branch of a greater watercourse.

            In my previous Austin neighborhood I sometimes took pictures along Tannehill Branch:


            Steve Schwartzman

            July 18, 2018 at 7:57 PM

        • Spirited writing is something I’m happy to attempt. As proof, I promise I’ll even aspire to 200 proof.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 18, 2018 at 7:51 PM

  6. I was so sure you’d photographed ice, I thought it was a photo from your northern travels. It certainly looks cool — even as water. Could it be that the clarity of the water is part of the reason for the icy illusion? It almost makes me eager for winter.

    I’d left a half-empty gallon of Ozarka on a boat yesterday, and when I went to work this morning, I noticed that condensation had formed hundreds of tiny droplets on the inside of the bottle, above the water level. They looked remarkably like these bubbles. I’m not quite sure how to get a photo of the inside of a bottle, but it might be fun.


    July 18, 2018 at 7:46 PM

    • The temperature was in the 40s on our first few days in Canada, but fortunately never got below freezing. Why the water in this little waterfall in my neighborhood looked so much like ice remains a mystery. I can’t say the water was clearer than any other water I’ve photographed here. When it comes to being eager for winter, Texas in July makes a lot of people feel that way.

      I’ve seen lots of bubbles inside a bottle, just as you described. I don’t know how you’d photograph that. I’ve also seen lots of condensation bubbles on the inside of a glass lid over a pot of liquid. There at least you could lift the lid and photograph the zillions of bubbles from below. In fact I vaguely recollect having done something like that once. Let us know if you try something of the sort.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 18, 2018 at 10:07 PM

  7. Yes, it does!


    July 19, 2018 at 8:48 AM

    • Welcome to the club of summer ice-seers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 19, 2018 at 9:22 AM

      • Maybe we are all wishful-thinkers. Actually, we are enjoying a cool spell and at the moment I have cicadas rattling away in my garden. I love that.


        July 19, 2018 at 9:24 AM

        • No cool spell here, with highs around 100°.

          Related to temperature, and using your cicadas as a point of departure, I remember as a child reading in Ripley’s Believe It or Not that you could estimate the temperature by the number of times a certain kind of cricket chirped in a given amount of time. I searched just now and found this:


          Steve Schwartzman

          July 19, 2018 at 9:31 AM

          • I’m trying to remember what the singing insect expert I recently heard speak said about that. I seem to remember he pooh-poohed it. Most cricket species, of course, are not pests.


            July 19, 2018 at 9:36 AM

            • Yeah, I also noticed the “pest” in that site. I searched again just now and found a page hosted by the Library of Congress that upholds the chirp~temperature relationship:


              Steve Schwartzman

              July 19, 2018 at 9:46 AM

            • And some of them are pretty tasty!

              Robert Parker

              July 19, 2018 at 9:51 AM

              • The Spanish word for cricket is grillo, which leaves open the way for a cross-language pun about how to cook crickets.

                Steve Schwartzman

                July 19, 2018 at 9:56 AM

              • LOL! My son and I were just talking about that. I’m not sure I’m that hungry yet but I’m receptive to the idea. In abstract.


                July 19, 2018 at 11:03 AM

                • My sister & I have tried them a few times, not bad, but definitely bring dental floss, their little legs do tend to get stuck between your teeth. 😦

                  Robert Parker

                  July 19, 2018 at 11:06 AM

                • To which I will charitably say: Yukk.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 19, 2018 at 1:28 PM

                • Oh, dear! Crunch I can deal with. Legs stuck between my teeth, I’m not so sure about! Did you see the movie Hidalgo? I loved the scene where he and his horse sort of shrug and start eating the locusts that are sweeping over them.


                  July 23, 2018 at 9:22 AM

                • No, I’ll have to rent it, Viggo Mortensen is a good actor. But I’ll check the popcorn carefully before I start watching.

                  Robert Parker

                  July 23, 2018 at 9:41 AM

                • I’d say an unpopped kernel is a much greater risk, but you never know.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 23, 2018 at 10:42 AM

                • 🙂 🙂


                  July 24, 2018 at 3:27 PM

                • No, I haven’t seen that movie. I do, however, know the etymology of the Spanish word hidalgo, which surprisingly means ‘son of something.’ The idea was ‘belonging to a family of some substance.’

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 23, 2018 at 10:46 AM

                • Yes, I think that was the idea. It was the name of the horse, a mustang descended from conquistador horses.


                  July 24, 2018 at 3:26 PM

                • Now if I can just get me a conquistador camera.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 24, 2018 at 3:30 PM

                • With shiny silver spurs. I think that would add quite a bit of weight, though.


                  July 24, 2018 at 4:32 PM

  8. It sure does look like ice… kind of made me feel all coolie in this triple digit heat!


    July 19, 2018 at 3:14 PM

  9. Without your description/explanation, I would never have recognized this as a waterfall.


    July 20, 2018 at 10:43 AM

    • Sometimes it takes words, and sometimes I’m happy to offer up those words. Although I’ve often enough taken high-shutter-speed pictures of falling water, I don’t know why the water here ended up looking so much like ice. Whatever the reason, I’m glad it did.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 20, 2018 at 10:48 AM

      • On our recent RailTrailsRopadTrip I tried high-shutter-speed of waterfalls, but even at the highest setting my Nikon D500 allows [1/8000s] they didn’t turn out the way I had hoped for: still too blurry. Slow-shutter-speed pictures turned out fine.


        July 20, 2018 at 10:53 AM

        • I often take pictures of a waterfall at various speeds because it can be hard to know what’ll work the best. Of course if you’re going for a cottony, hazy look you have to use a slow shutter speed—but even then the question is how slow to go to get the best look.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 20, 2018 at 12:34 PM

          • I did various shutter speeds, too. I still have to look at those pictures closely and see which are the best. I’ll put some on my blogs when I have come to those. I’m very slowly making progress with all those pictures I took on our recent road trip. Just now I’m revising and editing pictures from day 5. The waterfalls were on day 6 [Tallulah Gorge] and on day 9 [Looking Glass Falls, NC].


            July 20, 2018 at 1:15 PM

            • I wish you well with your sorting and editing. I recently bought a matching pair of 6TB hard drives to store the photographs from 2017 and 2018. Both years will fit on one drive, and the other drive will serve as the backup.

              Steve Schwartzman

              July 20, 2018 at 2:07 PM

              • 6TB?! Wow! My desktop has 3, and I still gave plenty of space. For back-up I use a Western Digital 3 TB hard drive, directly connected to my router. This way it serves as a “personal cloud” which I can access from wherever I have internet access. Very helpful when travelling. I prfer this version of “cloud” storage because it always is under my control.


                July 20, 2018 at 2:11 PM

                • I empathize with you about having a ‘cloud’ that you control.

                  My camera takes 50-megapixel photographs, so the files are rather large. That said, a 6TB drive will still hold more than the photographs from 2017 and 2018, maybe even all the ones I’ll take in 2019. So far I’m averaging fewer pictures this year than last year, which was unusually travelsome and included New Zealand, the central part of the U.S. up through South Dakota, and the Canadian Rockies.

                  In any case, the price for storage keeps declining. I bought the 6TB drives on sale at Costco for around $120 apiece, and each came with two free months of Adobe’s photography bundle.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 20, 2018 at 2:23 PM

                • It is really amazing how cheap storage has become, and how small the devices are nowadays. I still remember my first 80 MB!! hard drive: it was the size of a goodish brick!
                  My Nikon D500 produces way smaller files. So I don’t think I’ll run out of storage space any time soon.


                  July 20, 2018 at 3:52 PM

  10. It does, I thought it was ice! Gorgeous!


    July 20, 2018 at 9:47 PM

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