Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Condensation is a natural process

with 35 comments

Let me inaugurate this new year with a different sort of picture from my usual ones. You’ve probably noticed how steam from cooking condenses into drops on the inside of a pot’s lid. When I saw that happening one day, I carefully turned the lid over and laid it on my kitchen counter so I could distill that natural process into an abstract photograph.

When it comes to the new year, we’re all hoping 2021 will make a difference. In fact 2021 is a difference of two squares, 2025 – 4, which is to say (45)2 – (2)2 , and therefore 2021 = (45 – 2) x (45 + 2) = 43 x 47. So I wish you a happy 43 47 times, or a happy 47 43 times.

Years like 2021 in which the second half of the number is 1 bigger than the first half are uncommon, occurring only every 101 years. The previous one was 1920 and the next will be 2122. Very few people live to the age of 101, and only a small fraction of them get to say they’ve been alive in two such years. Anyone still living today who was born in or before 1920 can make that claim. Had actress Olivia de Havilland lived half a year longer she could have, but she died on July 26th of what is now last year at the age of 104.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 1, 2021 at 4:49 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , ,

35 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. 🥳 Happy New Year 🎊


    January 1, 2021 at 4:55 AM

  2. May 2021 be “uncommonly” great too! 😉

    marina kanavaki

    January 1, 2021 at 4:59 AM

  3. Happy new year, love the perspective of this shot


    January 1, 2021 at 6:21 AM

  4. A different image – but also a really good one!
    All the best for 2021!


    January 1, 2021 at 6:25 AM

  5. The soft, muted colors in this image are soothing to the eye. How did you achieve color from a pot lid? I thought of you this morning when I stepped out to a winter wonderland. We had freezing rain, sleet and snow in the night. All of the landscape is cloaked in white. There is much to love about the photographic opportunities out there if one can tolerate the blustery wind and cold temperatures. I bet we’ll see some condensation on the windows this morning!


    January 1, 2021 at 7:15 AM

    • The colors seem to have gotten picked up from the fluorescent lights overhead. You’re right that I’d’ve been thrilled to brave the cold for the chance to get out and portray a winter wonderland of ice and snow. The closest those things came to Austin was about a hundred miles west, too far to drive on slick roads, though I’ll admit the temptation was there. The overcast of the past week has finally lifted this morning after we got a couple of inches of cold but much-need rain. Happy condensation on your windows, if you got it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 1, 2021 at 8:04 AM

  6. It reminds me of a wet cymbal. 😀 Happy New Year, Steve to you and yours!


    January 1, 2021 at 7:33 AM

    • Now there’s an analogy for you: a wet cymbal. Are you speaking from experience?
      Happy 2021 indeed.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 1, 2021 at 8:05 AM

      • My son played the drums for decades and was in a marching band during high school. I have seen wet cymbals. 😀 At the sight of your image that’s what popped into my head.


        January 1, 2021 at 9:30 AM

        • I figured you must have seen wet cymbals to put that forward as what the image reminded you of.

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 1, 2021 at 9:40 AM

  7. I would’ve guessed, it was a cymbal, the lights gave it a bit of a bronze/brassy color. I wish you a happy new year of mathematical calculations, I reckon and compute your posts will continue to rank high in our estimations.

    Robert Parker

    January 1, 2021 at 9:23 AM

    • So for you it’s a symbol of a cymbal, answers brassy me, reckless of any reckoning for saying so. I appreciate your esteem (which, like estimate, comes from the Latin word that originally meant ‘bronze’ and later ‘money’).

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 1, 2021 at 9:37 AM

  8. Happy 47 43 times, Steve! May the magic of numbers continue!

    Lavinia Ross

    January 1, 2021 at 10:08 AM

  9. I gotta admit I couldn’t follow the math in the second paragraph, but I like the pot lid! Today is 1 – 2 – 2 – 1 if you want to look at it that way. 🙂


    January 2, 2021 at 7:57 PM

    • A little trip down memory lane to your high school algebra days would bring back the concept of a difference of two squares and how it can be used to factor certain expressions. Regarding your second sentence, I toyed with doing a post today entitled 01-02-2021 but didn’t follow through on it. You could say I put a lid on it, even if not a pot lid.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 2, 2021 at 8:51 PM

  10. May yours be exceptionally flowery and fruitful, with lots of outdoor fog and not too much indoor condensation.


    January 2, 2021 at 9:07 PM

    • I’d gladly take a spate of outdoor fog, which is uncommon here. We did get some on a recent morning, though, and I’ll be showing it in a post a few days from now, so you’re right on topic. Happy 2021.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 2, 2021 at 9:10 PM

  11. It was just last week that condensation formed on the windows for the first time when a strong front rolled through; despite not being weather related, your post is aptly timed. When I saw the photo, my first thought was of a vinyl record, because of what appear to be concentric grooves. Then, I had a little fun trying to decide what song might have been recorded in those grooves. This was one of my dad’s favorites, and it certainly would do for the most familiar form of outdoor condensation.


    January 3, 2021 at 9:15 AM

    • Imaginative you turned a pot lid into a vinyl record. I’ve never heard or even heard of “Blue Rain” but the Glenn Miller sound is unmistakable. Did the condensation on your windows last week lend itself to any abstract photos? In winter I’ve remembered the frost we used to get on our windows in New York and have wished I could get some here to play around with photographically.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 3, 2021 at 9:43 AM

      • No, I haven’t picked up my camera since December 9. I’m going to head out this afternoon to see if I can at least find the ‘on’ button.


        January 3, 2021 at 9:55 AM

        • No one will fault you for not taking picture for four weeks, given the automotive tribulations you went through. I’m confident you’ll find that magic ‘on’ button.

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 3, 2021 at 11:18 AM

  12. You gave away what it was which became obvious once I knew. It would have been fun for people to guess. I like it and it shows interesting abstract images can be found everywhere.


    January 3, 2021 at 2:55 PM

    • I agree: abstraction is everywhere. Once in a while I’ve offered a mystery image but, as you saw here, I didn’t think to do that this time. Even so, one commenter imagined a vinyl record anyhow.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 3, 2021 at 3:07 PM

  13. How I wish I was better at math! Happy New Year Steve 🙂


    January 7, 2021 at 1:44 AM

    • Happy New Year back across the Pacific, Julie.
      While not many people are drawn to math, I believe most could be taught to do better with it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 7, 2021 at 7:41 AM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: