Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 44 comments

Channeling my inner Steve Gingold, on the morning of September 4th I left home while it was still dark outside and drove to Mills Pond in Wells Branch to see what dawn might bring. The sunrise was pleasant, even if not as dramatic as what we’re used to seeing from Massachusetts. In part that’s intrinsic: Austin isn’t known for great sunrises and sunsets the way some parts of the country are. The fact that the pond is on the prairie and surrounded by a neighborhood means a photographer has no chance to get up high for a broad view that includes only natural scenery. Confronting those drawbacks, I went for a silhouetted sunrise.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 20, 2019 at 4:42 AM

44 Responses

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  1. haha.. and you’ve achieved a lovely shot!

    Ms. Liz

    September 20, 2019 at 4:46 AM

  2. How wonderful that the water ripples cooperated with your sunset composure! Early morning is my fav for soaking in the views. It’s usually quiet ta boot.


    September 20, 2019 at 6:43 AM

    • Yes, I kept my composure as I composed my sunrise pictures. You’re right that things were quiet, other than the occasional passing car and the steps of the surprisingly many people out for a pre-dawn or dawn walk.

      Speaking of soaking, it seems you survived the flooding in your area.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 20, 2019 at 7:17 AM

      • Yet another annual deluge. 15” in three hours doesn’t beat ‘01 Allison, but it sure as heck beats Harvey.


        September 20, 2019 at 7:23 AM

        • It’s hard to believe 15″ in three hours. We saw pictures of the flooding on the local television news yesterday. Meanwhile Austin has slipped into the classification “severe drought.” We haven’t profited at all from the heavy rain that was so tantalizingly close.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 20, 2019 at 7:38 AM

  3. Best part of the day


    September 20, 2019 at 7:08 AM

  4. In spite of the limitations of the less than favourable location, you created a dramatic sunrise with your photo, Steve.

    Peter Klopp

    September 20, 2019 at 8:01 AM

    • All things considered, this dawn view turned out pretty well. I’m glad I went to the pond that morning.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 20, 2019 at 9:08 AM

  5. Very nice, in a calm sort of way. I like how you arranged to have ripples centered in the water.


    September 20, 2019 at 8:22 AM

    • “Arranged to” is the operative phrase. I cropped off a strip at the right edge in order to center the ripples.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 20, 2019 at 9:11 AM

      • I figured as much.


        September 21, 2019 at 8:41 AM

        • It would’ve been hard to get exact centering of the expanding ripples at the time I took the picture. I often end up cropping pictures at least a little, even when no movement is involved, because reality doesn’t alway fit nicely in a frame with a 3:2 ratio.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 21, 2019 at 10:54 AM

          • Ha, so true. That sounds like a meme in the making.


            September 23, 2019 at 8:52 AM

            • Photographers have been discussing that for decades. Some took the opposite position from mine and made what I would call a fetish out of never cropping. In the days when we used photo enlargers, we’d put a 35 mm negative into a metal negative carrier with a 36 mm x 24 mm rectangular opening in it for the enlarger’s light to shine through and cast the enlarged negative’s image onto the photo paper below. Some photographers went so far as to use a metal file to file out the edges of the 36 mm x 24 mm rectangular opening and make it bigger so that in the resulting photographic print viewers could see by the irregular black area around the picture that the photographer had included everything that was in the frame.

              Steve Schwartzman

              September 23, 2019 at 9:22 AM

  6. Drawback or not, the silhouetted pond edge helps to keep the focus on the ripples, which are especially lovely. At first, I assumed they’d been caused by an obliging fish rather than a diving bird. Then, it occurred to me that an impulsively tossed pebble could have produced the same result. You weren’t practicing your pebble-pitching, were you?


    September 20, 2019 at 8:55 AM

  7. A rock? My illusions are shattered. Shattered I tell you. Seriously, it’s a great shot.

    Michael Scandling

    September 20, 2019 at 9:58 AM

  8. Beautiful composition, Steve! Good catch!

    Lavinia Ross

    September 20, 2019 at 10:21 AM

  9. Beautiful image Steve! It’s always great when things come together like this.

    Pete Hillman

    September 20, 2019 at 10:24 AM

  10. It’s a neat shot, with all those circles, adding some motion to the scene was a good idea, rock on!

    Robert Parker

    September 20, 2019 at 11:43 AM

  11. Well worth the early morning departure, Steve!

    Ellen Jennings

    September 20, 2019 at 5:01 PM

    • I’d also gone to a different lake for the previous morning’s sunrise, with poorer results. I’m often up early enough to head out and wait for dawn somewhere; the problem is where to go.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 20, 2019 at 6:13 PM

      • Same here, no good locations near home for sunrise/sunset.

        Ellen Jennings

        September 21, 2019 at 8:51 AM

        • In the low country of South Carolina you’re more elevation-deprived than I am in central Texas. My side of Austin is actually hilly but the pond I went to is in a pretty flat area. With more research I might find a hilly place with a good view of sunsets.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 21, 2019 at 10:51 AM

  12. And once again it pays to click the image for a better view! Lovely. I am wondering what it was that caused the concentric circles on the surface? Bubbles from the deep, a hungry fish or turtle, or perhaps a rock? No matter, it certainly makes for intrigue.


    September 21, 2019 at 8:42 AM

    • I’m happy to hear you were intrigued and looked at a larger version. As for the ripples, check above for my reply to Linda-with-an-i.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 21, 2019 at 10:48 AM

  13. Well done, Steve. The camera naturally sees the silhouette with brighter light in the sky, making it easier to hide unwanted buildings, and providing you with a very nice morning image. Whatever created those concentric ripples gave you a wonderful foreground element.

    Steve Gingold

    September 23, 2019 at 3:56 AM

    • As you noted, I could make out a building or other manmade element here and there beyond the trees. By exposing for the sky I ended up with those things so dark they got lost. A rock to generate ripples came as an afterthought.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 23, 2019 at 6:19 AM

  14. A great silhouetted sunrise .. super ripples in the pond


    September 25, 2019 at 6:04 PM

  15. […] a narrow, winding road that didn’t allow parking anywhere nearby. Finally on January 19th at Mills Pond I was able to push my way through stalks and branches in the woods and cautiously ease myself into […]

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