Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Enchanted Rock, part 4

with 35 comments

Artists in general and photographers in particular sometimes like to depict the same person or thing in various ways. The Cubists got excited about showing multiple views of a subject simultaneously, as in Marcel Duchamp’s famous “Nude Descending a Staircase.” At Enchanted Rock on November 1st I took a more-conventional approach, making separate photographs showing different aspects of an intriguing boulder formation that looked like huge jugs or flasks with short hoodoos in lieu of stoppers. The first photograph gives you an overview of the formation.

The second view isolates part of the formation that was central in the first image.

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t include some closer and more-abstract takes on these formations,
the first of which gives you a better look at the orange and yellow lichens on the boulder above.

The two abstractions below continue playing up the rough texture of the weather-sculpted rocks.

You might think you’re looking at the ruins of some ancient civilization in a desert.

The wispy clouds that stayed with us the whole time made for excellent backdrops.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 5, 2019 at 4:47 AM

35 Responses

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  1. The natural forces at work can create art that humans have difficulty rivaling. All nice studies.

    Steve Gingold

    December 5, 2019 at 5:17 AM

    • This may be the most extensive set of variations on a subject I’ve ever shown here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 5, 2019 at 8:46 AM

      • There is something to be said for extensive coverage of a subject. Variety is a spice.

        Steve Gingold

        December 5, 2019 at 4:15 PM

        • I weigh that against boring people with pictures that are too similar to each other. I hope I hit a happy medium with this post.

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 5, 2019 at 6:58 PM

  2. Looks like a piece of modern sculpture. Going by the trees, a very large sculpture. I like the flask-like tops and your close ups of the textures.


    December 5, 2019 at 6:26 AM

  3. With the right kind of perspective, leaving no reference points for comparison, you can turn a small rock into a mountain. Great realization of this idea, Steve!

    Peter Klopp

    December 5, 2019 at 8:10 AM

  4. They do. This is such a cool rock formation. I love how you’ve shown it here but now that you mention it, a cubist take on it would be cool too. Can you do that with photography? I’d love to see that.


    December 5, 2019 at 8:24 AM

    • On previous visits to Enchanted Rock we’d always gone straight to the top of the main dome. Because we took a different trail this time, I found several formations that were new to me and that appealed to me photographically. This was one of them, and another will appear next time as a conclusion to this series.

      Yes, you can do a Cubist take photographically. In the days of film photography, people sometimes ended up with accidental double exposures when the film didn’t advance from one shot to the next. Some of the cameras I used in the 1970s and ’80s had a button I could hold to keep the film from advancing when I cocked the shutter, in case I wanted to make a double exposure on purpose. At the printing stage, a photographer could expose more than one negative onto a sheet of photo paper. With the digital world we’re in now, it’s much easier to mix images, and many photographers do so. At an art show a few weeks ago I was talking to a woman who does that sort of thing; when I asked her how many layers she ends up with in Photoshop when creating one of her pieces, she said she often has over a hundred layers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 5, 2019 at 10:06 AM

  5. Those are some fascinating formations, Steve.

    Lavinia Ross

    December 5, 2019 at 10:05 AM

    • I could hardly get enough of them, as you see here. I don’t think I’ve ever shown this many takes on a single subject in one post.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 5, 2019 at 10:11 AM

  6. It does look like remnants of an ancient civilization, huge old clay storage pots. Great pebbly texture.

    Robert Parker

    December 5, 2019 at 10:38 AM

    • I consider it quite a find, even if dozens of people walk past it each day. It’s a great example of faux archeology.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 5, 2019 at 4:05 PM

  7. I could easily take these for sculpture. These are fantastic. Literally fantastic.

    Michael Scandling

    December 5, 2019 at 10:49 AM

  8. Those are some very unusual formations. Also, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the sky in each of these images.


    December 5, 2019 at 7:52 PM

    • Yes, the clouds were wonderful the whole time we were there, and they served as great backdrops to play the boulders and trees off against.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 5, 2019 at 9:20 PM

  9. This would be a great motif to monitor throughout the year. You would be able to present Enchanted Rock Parts 1-365!


    December 6, 2019 at 9:39 PM

    • If I lived near there I’d monitor the place throughout the year, as you suggest. As for posting about it, I think I did well to stop at 1/73 of the number you suggested.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 7, 2019 at 6:37 AM

  10. These are fabulous images of an unusual formation, and I was glad for the variety of views. The rocks certainly do resemble stoppered jugs: perhaps a set of jugs sculpted by Henry Moore. Cast that first formation in bronze, and you’d have a glorious bit of public art.

    Clearly, you were enchanted by this new view of Enchanted Rock. Your mention of hoodoos brought to mind a song with lyrics that pick up on that kind of fascination:

    “Let me live ‘neath your spell
    Do do that voodoo that you do so well.”

    You certainly captured the voodoo of the hoodoos!


    December 8, 2019 at 6:06 AM

    • The formation is definitely unusual, at least in my experience; even in places like Utah and New Mexico I’ve never seen a similar one. Like you, I’d thought about Henry Moore’s work, but I have the impression his pieces are smoother, and it was the rough, sandy texture of these boulders that appealed to me, especially in the closer views.

      On other occasions I’ve been reminded of the hoodoo~voodoo connection that Cole Porter used so well in his song when he came up with the great line you quoted: “Do do that voodoo that you do so well.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 9, 2019 at 2:20 AM

  11. I don’t know about this place — I’d love to see it – – you did a beautiful job with these, Steve. What an appealing shape(s)!


    December 28, 2019 at 8:21 PM

    • Thanks. Enchanted Rock is well known in central Texas but probably not often heard of outside Texas.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 28, 2019 at 10:30 PM

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