Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

The water without the lilies

with 23 comments

The previous post showed you water lilies at the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge on October 6th. One adjacent span of water interested me in its own right because of its rippled surface. Funny, I don’t even remember a breeze, yet without one I couldn’t have recorded this textured abstraction.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 7, 2019 at 4:30 AM

23 Responses

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  1. that is such an interesting texture, especially without the benefit of wind


    November 7, 2019 at 5:04 AM

  2. …and the breezes were from different point of the compass, the reason for the complex pattern.


    November 7, 2019 at 5:08 AM

  3. Clearly, some wind was involved, but it wouldn’t have needed to be much to create these miniature standing waves. I see them often in my marina, occasionally on the bay, and I’ve seen them twice offshore, which was more than enough for me.

    Given the enclosed nature of the pond, this is what I suspect happened. Wind coming from one direction set up a wave train. The waves met some obstacle that sent them back against the wind-created waves, et voilà! Standing waves — or, in this case, wavelets. The science is as interesting as the image is engaging.


    November 7, 2019 at 7:12 AM

    • Your linked article has a good, clear animation. When I read the sentence “To create a standing wave, all you need to do is send a wave train across a confined container against its wall,” I couldn’t help animating the wave itself, and I wondered if sending the wave train across a confined container was done against its will.

      The top half of the photograph in this post showed water lilies and the bases of bulrushes beyond them. I cropped to eliminate those things and leave nothing but wave, a photographic equivalent of nothing but net.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 7, 2019 at 7:31 AM

  4. You are so right: no wind no ripples. Great abstract photo, Steve!

    Peter Klopp

    November 7, 2019 at 8:03 AM

    • This degree of abstraction isn’t to everyone’s taste, but I was taken with the image and I’m glad you are, too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 7, 2019 at 8:07 AM

  5. The degree of abstraction is entirely and exactly to my taste. Bravo.

    Michael Scandling

    November 7, 2019 at 11:33 AM

  6. There have been times when I arrived at a pond thinking it was smooth as glass only to recognize the slightest of breezes creating ripples. Your image looks like there may have been breezes from more than one direction. It’s a very interesting pattern.

    Steve Gingold

    November 7, 2019 at 7:03 PM

    • Linda proposed a related explanation a few comments earlier. Whatever the cause, I was the photographic beneficiary.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 7, 2019 at 8:30 PM

  7. This picture would make a lovely fabric design, especially a wool fabric.

    Marie E. Laing

    November 7, 2019 at 9:16 PM

  8. I like the texture with a wonderful degree of abstraction.


    November 8, 2019 at 5:05 AM

    • Me too! The upper half of this image included some water lilies and beyond them the bases of some bulrushes. I decided to crop the top half of the picture off to leave an abstract view of the water in its own right.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 8, 2019 at 6:15 AM

  9. This reminded me of science class when we were studying waves. It made me viscerally uneasy too because I’ve seen water like that during an earthquake, and also once I saw some impressive standing waves on the Dead River when it burst the sandbar out into Lake Michigan. Linda’s explanation makes perfect sense, and your photo is disturbingly interesting.


    November 26, 2019 at 9:03 AM

    • “Disturbingly interesting” is an interesting way of putting it. I understand—at least intellectually—how having experienced an earthquake would influence your perception. For me it was just a pretty picture.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 26, 2019 at 9:24 AM

      • It was surprising to me how visceral my reaction was…an internal “uh-oh!”.


        November 27, 2019 at 9:20 AM

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