Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Ripples over bedrock in Bull Creek

with 51 comments

On my way to Stone Bridge Falls on July 10th I wore rubber boots so I could walk up the creek. In several shallow areas the patterns of the flowing water as it rippled over the bedrock caught my fancy and I gladly took a bunch of pictures. When you’re aiming straight down at such an abstract subject there’s no “proper” orientation; I turned this way and that as I looked to fill the frame in attractive ways. Here are two of them.

Our unrelated quotation for today comes from American humorist Will Rogers (1879–1935):
“I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.”

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 6, 2020 at 4:30 AM

51 Responses

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  1. In truth, watery ripples never are plain; they’re always fancy, in one way or another. The color here is especially appealing, and unexpected. I’m glad you paired the photos. The diagonal lines in the second are quite different from the patterns in the first; they make it my favorite of the pair. The larger photo brought to mind the webbing on a cantaloupe; the second seems more like honeycomb.


    August 6, 2020 at 7:39 AM

    • And because watery ripples aren’t plain, they make subjects for photographic abstractions. In fact I took about 40 pictures of the patterns, then had a hard time deciding how many and which ones to show. (I figured more than two would begin to seem repetitive.) I find that diagonal lines, as in the second picture, often induce a sense of dynamism, as compared to the horizontal and vertical lines that match our normal and therefore more static orientation. I’m with you in being able to see a honeycomb; a cantaloupe doesn’t come as easily to mind.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 6, 2020 at 7:59 AM

  2. I’m fascinated with both of these images. I cannot pick a favorite, and I’m glad you did not post more of them or I’d be very late getting to chores. It’s funny how I get distracted with images like these – they take me to a Zen zone!


    August 6, 2020 at 8:26 AM

    • Having to look through more of these ripple images would have constituted an extra chore that I’m glad I didn’t impose on you. That said, it’s good that abstract images like these send you into a Zen zone.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 6, 2020 at 11:14 AM

  3. Ripples of water flowing over bedrock are a fascinating sight. What I find surprising in your two pictures is the yellow colour. The water must have been very shallow allowing the bottom to determine their golden appearance.

    Peter Klopp

    August 6, 2020 at 8:27 AM

    • You make a good point about the color. Just last night we watched a science program on television that showed how colors other than blue soon disappear as you descend into deeper water. You’re right about the shallowness: the water was only inches deep where I took these pictures.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 6, 2020 at 11:17 AM

  4. Oh, I just love ripples. Fabulous shots, my friend!

    marina kanavaki

    August 6, 2020 at 9:52 AM

  5. These are excellent, Steve. I imagine you’ve got quite a few variations.

    Steve Gingold

    August 6, 2020 at 2:26 PM

    • Yes, I ended up with about 40 abstract views of the ripples. Some of those others are worthy, too, but I didn’t feel like I should show more than a couple at one time.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 6, 2020 at 6:53 PM

      • There can always be a ripples redux.

        Steve Gingold

        August 6, 2020 at 7:00 PM

        • There could be, maybe someday, but I’m so backlogged with recent pictures of a zillion other things that I can only show a small fraction of them.

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 6, 2020 at 9:34 PM

  6. If one didn’t know about the ripples and the water, one might mistake this for tree bark.


    August 6, 2020 at 6:17 PM

    • Good point. I wonder if we can extend the concept of convergent evolution to something inanimate, in this case the creek.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 6, 2020 at 6:55 PM

      • Maybe you could work on that in your free time, in between taking photos. 🙂


        August 6, 2020 at 9:42 PM

        • Converging on photography is already a full-time affair.

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 6, 2020 at 9:44 PM

          • I think that’s a cop-out on your part, Steve. Maybe you could evolve to be able to pursue 2 full-time affairs in parallel universes. That sounds like a challenge worthy of you.


            August 6, 2020 at 10:00 PM

            • Hmm. If you show me how to get into one of those parallel universes, I might take you up on your suggestion.

              Steve Schwartzman

              August 6, 2020 at 10:13 PM

              • Hey, you are the one with the mathematical skills, which are the basics for physics, which will help you transcend time and space. It’s way over my head.


                August 6, 2020 at 10:27 PM

                • As much as I’d like to be so enlightened, my posting of nature pictures is better described as trans-send-ance than transcendance.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  August 7, 2020 at 6:34 AM

                • I’m not sure I agree with your assessment, Steve. Moments in nature can be transcendent, and some of our photos are able to capture and relay that sensation.


                  August 7, 2020 at 3:07 PM

                • Then so much the better!

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  August 7, 2020 at 3:18 PM

  7. Very cool pix– I love light and water intermingling … looks like reptilian skin.
    Apropos quote – some things never change!

    Eliza Waters

    August 6, 2020 at 8:38 PM

    • Yes, light and water intermingling is magical. I like your vision of reptilian skin. Apropos of that, I’ll have a good view of amphibian skin coming up next week. And as for the quotation, you’re sure right that some things never change—or as the French put it: plus ça change et plus c’est la même chose; the more things change, the more they stay the same.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 6, 2020 at 9:49 PM

  8. Perfect abstract fodder. I always pay special attention when crossing a little waterway like this, as the possibilities are practically limitless. The structures you’ve brought us in the upper-right of your second image are so reminiscent of dragonfly wings.


    August 7, 2020 at 2:51 AM

    • The upper right corner of the second image especially appealed to me, too. Another commenter felt that area could be tree rings, and now you’ve added the rhyming dragonfly wings. Tree rings and dragonfly wings, these are a few of our favorite things.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 7, 2020 at 7:15 AM

  9. Both remind me of reptile skins. Cool abstracts. It’s interesting how we each see different things, isn’t it?


    August 7, 2020 at 9:26 AM

  10. I love the pattern of sunlit rippling water! beautiful images, Steve!

    Lavinia Ross

    August 7, 2020 at 10:41 AM

    • Thanks, Lavinia. For a long time sunlit ripples like these have fascinated me, and you too, based on what you said.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 7, 2020 at 11:04 AM

  11. I like these, great eye. They bring to mind snake skin. Looking back up through the comments I see another who saw them similarly.

    Todd Henson

    August 8, 2020 at 8:54 AM

    • Thanks, and yes, you’re the second beholder to see snakeskin. I can see it that way now, too, even if I didn’t initially.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 8, 2020 at 1:58 PM

  12. I love the patterns of light on water. These are especially lovely and I could stare at them for ages!

    Ann Mackay

    August 9, 2020 at 4:33 AM

    • I’m glad to hear that. Just don’t do it when you’re driving or operating machinery.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 9, 2020 at 6:19 AM

      • Hehe! OK, I promise! (I’d love to be looking at some cool water patterns right now…)

        Ann Mackay

        August 9, 2020 at 11:57 AM

        • In Texas at this time of year cool water patterns of the temperature type are in short supply, but not those of the photogenic type.

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 9, 2020 at 6:23 PM

  13. Beautiful patterns in your photos and a hilarious laugh out loud quote. Thank you again.


    August 11, 2020 at 5:31 PM

  14. We need Will Rogers back! :-0 Wonderful ripples and rocks, Steve. So well done!


    August 17, 2020 at 12:17 PM

  15. Great! I have done some of these water abstracts too … very fun and results can really vary from place to place. These are really nice ones. Did you use a wide angle?


    August 18, 2020 at 12:33 PM

    • Glad you like them. I took a whole bunch but didn’t want to show more than a couple at one time. In answer to your question, I would have said that I used a wide angle. However, when I checked the metadata on these two, I found that I took them both with the 100mm macro, which I used as a regular 100mm lens. In fact I discovered that I took almost all the abstract ripple pictures that day with the 100mm lens. I’m glad you asked.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 18, 2020 at 4:21 PM

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