Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Back to my roots on the Bojo River

with 36 comments

Okay, so I don’t have family roots along the Bojo River in Aloguinsan on the island of Cebu in the Philippines, but I do have pictures of some wonderfully intricate tree roots from our December 17th boat tour of the river.

Did you notice the snail under the frontmost limb in the third picture?
Click below for more detail.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 30, 2020 at 4:39 AM

36 Responses

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  1. amazing captures, Steve – thanks for the closer look at the snail


    January 30, 2020 at 4:52 AM

    • You’re welcome. I didn’t want people to miss the snail, which otherwise might have seemed part of the tree.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 30, 2020 at 5:28 AM

  2. Oh I love these. They are so rooted.


    January 30, 2020 at 9:05 AM

  3. A very exotic-looking world, the density and semblance of writhing are kind of hypnotic.

    Robert Parker

    January 30, 2020 at 9:06 AM

    • It is exotic, and I was glad we finally got to see more of nature on this trip to the Philippines—just as long as the trees did the writhing rather than me.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 30, 2020 at 10:02 AM

  4. Well done, Steve! I like the return to your roots. Their reflections in the river are astounding.

    Peter Klopp

    January 30, 2020 at 9:22 AM

  5. Plants do some amazing things with root growth. Love the snail!

    Lavinia Ross

    January 30, 2020 at 10:26 AM

    • I’ve yet to learn why such dense root clusters benefit the trees. Whatever the reasons, these roots make for excellent photo subjects.

      As for the snail, I often find smaller ones that have climbed up plant stalks in central Texas. They’re much less common here on trees.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 30, 2020 at 10:55 AM

  6. This is incredible. Thank you for sharing!

    Shayleene MacReynolds

    January 30, 2020 at 11:03 AM

  7. Do you think the cycle of tides allows the water level to reach that snail’s current perch, or do you think it climbed the whole root to get there? That would be quite a feat (or, rather, foot).


    January 30, 2020 at 1:35 PM

    • My guess is that the snail climbed there because I don’t think that the water gets that high. Yes, it’s quite a foot feat.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 30, 2020 at 3:38 PM

  8. Incredible roots and agree good to pick out the snail too. Wonderful camouflage.


    January 30, 2020 at 2:09 PM

  9. These images are rooted in good photography.

    Steve Gingold

    January 30, 2020 at 6:31 PM

  10. I love the variety among the photos: each so different from the others. I enjoyed the closeup of the ‘fringe’ I was interested in, and the snail in that same photo. In the first and last images, the roots remind me of the tangle of vines I sometimes come across, but my favorite of the group is the second photo, just because it’s so unusual. I’ve never seen anything like it. It looks like some strange sort of creature, stalking along the bank.

    As a whole, the photos reminded me of this poem by Mary Oliver:

    “Can you Imagine,
    for example, what the trees do —
    not only in lightning storms
    or the watery dark of a summer’s night
    or under the white nets of winter
    but now, and now, and now – whenever
    we’re not looking? Surely you can’t imagine
    they don’t dance, from the root up, wishing
    to travel a little, not cramped so much as wanting
    a better view, or more sun, or just as avidly
    more shade – surely you can’t imagine they just
    stand there loving every
    minute of it, the birds or the emptiness, the dark rings
    of the years slowly and without a sound
    thickening, and nothing different unless the wind,
    and then only in its own mood, comes
    to visit, surely you can’t imagine
    patience, and happiness, like that.”


    January 30, 2020 at 8:58 PM

    • It’s not hard to extend Mary Oliver’s anthropomorphic take on trees to the trees in these photographs. I believe the one in your favored photo, the second, is some kind of mangrove. Like you, I imagined it striding, and that reminded me of the striding brooms in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice segment of Disney’s Fantasia. The left edge of the second picture also offers another glimpse of those strange pancake root structures. Some of Texas’s vines can indeed form dense tangles, but over here I’ve never seen anything like the roots of those trees along the Bojo River.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 30, 2020 at 9:45 PM

      • I thought of those brooms, too. I swear that scene in that movie was the scariest thing I saw during my childhood. I think it’s indelibly impressed on my mind.


        January 30, 2020 at 9:51 PM

  11. These are roots anyone could be proud of, Steve.


    February 1, 2020 at 10:02 PM

  12. Great shots Steve .. got that snail 🙂


    February 4, 2020 at 12:09 PM

  13. Oh, these are marvelous! You really took to this subject – and I’m impressed that you could pull something like this off, creating such beautiful images of a subject you’re not deeply familiar with – while traveling. I just love the flattened perspective in the first photo, those horizontal bands of color and texture with so much delicious detail. The second is gracefully composed, the reflections in that milky water contrast nicely with the bright leaves. Thanks for pointing out the snail in the third image. The fourth & fifth add more to the party, with that extreme density of root activity.
    I love the tropics and these images say “Tropics!” loud and clear.


    February 6, 2020 at 11:10 AM

    • Yes, tropics loud and clear! The first roots picture was probably the favorite among a group of local photographers to whom I showed these photos a few weeks ago. The extremely dense roots toward the end greatly intrigued me. You’re right that I was unfamiliar with my subjects; I still don’t know what they are and probably never will. What made the pictures possible was that Eve and I were the only two passengers in the small boat, and the guide was quite willing to stop in the places I pointed out where I wanted to take pictures.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 6, 2020 at 2:44 PM

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