Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 14 comments

You can decide for yourself whether this longtime correspondent of yours is erratic. What’s indisputable is that the Big Rock isolated near Okotoks, Alberta, is an example of a glacial erratic. That phrase tells you that during the last ice age glaciers carried this boulder southward and then dropped it in its current location when the ice melted. There it had stood conspicuously for millennia, unlike anything on the prairie around it, when we visited it a year ago today.

Contrasting with the weighty boulder was a small white feather caught in a spiderweb at the base of the rock.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 28, 2018 at 4:28 AM

14 Responses

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  1. You may be erratic in your wandering but that makes you very unlike this erratic which perhaps should now be named a glacial static.


    August 28, 2018 at 4:39 AM

  2. The eternal boulder and the ephemeral spider web. A beautiful contrast, Steve!

    Lavinia Ross

    August 28, 2018 at 10:53 AM

    • Little did I expect to find a contrast like that. I was out to photograph the boulder and lucked into the spiderweb at its base.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 28, 2018 at 11:43 AM

  3. It’s a wonderfully compelling pair of photos. When I was at Crystal Bridges, I took the trail that leads past the crystal-encrusted rocks, and found a spider happily living its life in the midst of the crystals. There wasn’t a web that I could see in that instance, but I was happy to see the spider. Was it shadow that caused part of the web to ‘disappear’? I’m assuming so.


    August 29, 2018 at 7:24 AM

    • At the left edge of the picture you can still faintly see the “missing” part of the web. At this date, a year later, I no longer remember what the lighting was like. I’d go with your guess that the boulder blocked the sunlight from reaching that part of the web.

      Too bad you didn’t have a web to play off against the crystals at Crystal Bridges. I remember those crystals there.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 29, 2018 at 8:37 AM

  4. Errant feather on erratic? 😊


    August 29, 2018 at 1:04 PM

  5. Of course, when it comes to the subject of erratics we probably both think of that bubble one.

    Steve Gingold

    August 31, 2018 at 6:51 PM

    • I didn’t know about the one(s) in Maine a year ago when we visited Alberta. I sure know now.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 31, 2018 at 6:53 PM

      • They are all over the mountains of New England. Almost like the glacier left them behind like a bunch of bread crumbs for when it returns.

        Steve Gingold

        August 31, 2018 at 6:57 PM

        • Living where you do, in an area that the glaciers used to cover, you do get to see a lot of those. Our last two trips took us to ancient glacier lands. The trips themselves weren’t erratic but we did see some erratics.

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 31, 2018 at 10:54 PM

  6. Erratics fascinate me. Just think of the grinding, scouring power of the glaciers to pick up such huge boulders and deposit them elsewhere. Your second image, of the delicate web contrasting with the massif, is delicious.


    September 29, 2018 at 9:29 PM

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