Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Autumn shorescape

with 22 comments

On the sunny morning of November 17th I felt compelled to stop for the first time in years at the northern end of Redbud Isle in the Colorado River when we were driving west and saw how good things looked there. The trees turning orange-brown are bald cypresses, Taxodium distichum. Below is a closer view looking up at a bald cypress; the darkish clumps on some of the branches are ball moss (Tillandsia recurvata).

Here’s a relevant quotation for today: “And all the lives we ever lived / And all the lives to be, / Are full of trees and changing leaves….” ― Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse, 1927

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 7, 2020 at 4:36 AM

22 Responses

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  1. Those acres shore are pretty! All I know is the Lower Colorado, and it doesn’t look a thing like this. I do love the bald cypress when they turn rusty. With any luck, my life will be full of trees and changing leaves today — but it will be along the Sabinal.


    December 7, 2020 at 6:58 AM

    • Those acres shore are pretty, says shoreacres. And shorely this part of the Colorado River differs from the stretch near the coast. The designation “Lower” in the Lower Colorado River Authority extends pretty far upstream and includes a range of the river that I would call “Middle.” Happy Virginia Woolfing along the Sabinal today. The name of that river reminds me of Sabinas Hidalgo, about half-way between Laredo and Monterrey.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 7, 2020 at 8:27 AM

  2. I enjoyed this colorful look at the Colorado’s bald cypress, Steve. How fortunate that you stopped and got this eyeful of beauty. I think bald cypresses are amazing trees, I don’t see them often, and most of the U.S. does not see them. Wonderful quote, too.

    Jet Eliot

    December 7, 2020 at 7:53 AM

    • Bald cypresses, whose amazingness I’ll willingly agree with you about, are common in central Texas along watercourses and around ponds and lakes. They’re one reliable source of fall color here, which is why I’m featuring them in this post that’s part of the recent series on fall foliage. I don’t believe I’d ever witnessed the particular ones shown here at this time of year.

      There have been times when I’ve written about the Colorado River that flows through Austin and some readers have assumed it’s the same river that formed the Grand Canyon. The Colorado River here makes its entire 862-mile journey entirely within the state of Texas.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 7, 2020 at 8:45 AM

  3. The water around the island is so still that the trees appear to merge into one huge colourful display with their reflection. A glorious fall photo, Steve!

    Peter Klopp

    December 7, 2020 at 9:04 AM

    • The epitome of fall is how that first view struck me. We were fortunate to have driven that way that morning, though we had no goal in mind.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 7, 2020 at 10:49 AM

  4. I love the vista shot, how you have the distant shore slanting away rather than straight across. This gives it a dynamic feel for me, and the balance between the reflections and the trees is wonderful. Just lovely. And the closeup is so interesting. It is fun to see plants I wouldn’t see here, such as the ball moss.

    Poor V. Woolf, she was such a tortured soul. I think she did believe we have multiple lives, which may not have been a happy thought for her.


    December 7, 2020 at 9:18 AM

    • There’s a certain slant, as Emily Dickinson wrote, and as you’ve enjoyed in the vista—even if she meant a slant of light, and you a slant of shoreline that gives dynamism to the view.

      As little as you see ball moss up there—actually not at all—that’s how common it is down here. We have some in the trees in our yard, and every so often a clump falls onto the ground.

      In researching the quotation I read about some of Viriginia Woolf’s mental problems. She ended up drowning herself.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 7, 2020 at 10:56 AM

      • She did indeed. I believe she had bipolar disorder, a very difficult condition to live with.


        December 8, 2020 at 9:29 AM

  5. Oh, I do hope trees are here always! I love the reflection image and lovely colors.


    December 7, 2020 at 10:09 AM

    • I think you’re in luck and that trees will always be here. The shoreline view was so appealing that we had to stop to enjoy it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 7, 2020 at 10:58 AM

  6. Beautiful photos, both of them, but I really like that first one.


    December 7, 2020 at 2:58 PM

    • Agreed. The first picture makes the post; the second elucidates, especially for people not familiar with bald cypresses.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 7, 2020 at 3:38 PM

  7. Lovely photos & quote, Steve! I’m a huge fan of trees and write about them regularly on my blog. Thanks for sharing! 🌞

    Lisa at Micro of the Macro

    December 7, 2020 at 10:03 PM

    • You’re welcome. I see you’re a fan of quotations, too.
      Regarding trees, you may be interested to know that Sanskrit dāru, which meant ‘wood, timber,’ is etymologically the same word as English tree. The word got doubled up in Greek dendron.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 8, 2020 at 6:53 AM

  8. I’m always excited to see ball moss getting along in nature!
    Do you find it easy to identify plants in the wild?

    Scott Dee

    January 18, 2021 at 3:29 PM

    • Ball moss is very common in central Texas, including on some of the trees in our yard.
      I’m not great at identifying plants in the wild. By now I know the most common ones, but there are many others.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 18, 2021 at 5:25 PM

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