Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Ripples and sparkles

with 22 comments

On November 25, 2020, we visited Russell Park on the northern shore of Lake Georgetown, where I made the picture of ripples shown above. On the first day of 2021 I inaugurated the new year photographically by going over to Bull Creek in my part of Austin for a different and closer take on ripples:

And if you’ll let me bounce back to Lake Georgetown on November 25th,
Jim Hogg Park provided the following photograph of sparkles:

The diaphragm in my Canon 100–400mm lens has 9 blades; multiplying by 2 would account for the 18 rays that emanate from each of the sparkles. Multiply me by two and I’d be four-armed; forewarn me and I’d be fore-armed. And in case you’re tempted to use forewarn, let me warn you that it’s redundant: the only way you can warn somebody about something is before it happens. At least that’s how it is now. A little research showed that an earlier meaning of warn was simply ‘to alert, to make aware,’ in which case forewarn was not redundant. Shakespeare’s Sonnet 71 provides an example of warn in its ‘alert’ sense:

No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world with vilest worms to dwell; 
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it; for I love you so, 
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot, 
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O, if (I say) you look upon this verse, 
When I (perhaps) compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse,
But let your love even with my life decay,
Lest the wise world should look into your moan, 
And mock you with me after I am gone.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 3, 2021 at 4:29 AM

22 Responses

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  1. The sparkle image is unusual and mesmerizing. It looks like a mass of small electric sea creatures, like tiny blue dragons.


    January 3, 2021 at 6:42 AM

    • In all the years I’ve photographed surfaces of water, no picture ever came out like that last one. I’m glad Eve pointed out the sparkles, which was my invitation to photograph them. The camera added the starbursts and now you’ve added electric sea creatures and tiny blue dragons.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 3, 2021 at 7:07 AM

  2. I like the last image with all the specular highlights all turned to stars with the help of your lens. It reminds me of the night sky.

    That’s such a sad, sad sonnet. Not one of me favorites. 😀


    January 3, 2021 at 7:58 AM

  3. The first two images are pretty — especially the lavender and gold in the second — but that last is compelling. It’s as though the ocean’s phosphorescence attached itself to some sort of strange sea anemone. I’d love to see that trailing along behind a boat.


    January 3, 2021 at 8:54 AM

    • “Compelling” is a good word for it. Who knows when something of that sort will come our way? No one, and yet new things do keep showing up. I leave it to nautical you to find similar sparkles trailing behind a boat.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 3, 2021 at 9:23 AM

  4. I really like the sparkles too~well captured.


    January 3, 2021 at 9:01 AM

  5. Those are all beautiful images, Steve, and as always, I learn many interesting things here.

    Lavinia Ross

    January 3, 2021 at 9:38 AM

  6. Nice shots full of dynamic.


    January 3, 2021 at 9:44 AM

  7. Great collection Steve. Ripples, reflections and sparkles on the water can offer a lot of abstract possibilities.


    January 3, 2021 at 2:51 PM

  8. Another set of gorgeous captures. Water is wonderful to photograph. Even with less stellar examples (ahem, like the ones I sometimes get), water surfaces are remarkably photogenic–it’s that movement thing, I think.


    January 3, 2021 at 5:05 PM

    • I’m with you on water being wonderful to photograph. At the same time, the “movement thing” that creates ripples also can make it hard to get good pictures, but we do what we can and in the long run some successes usually come our way.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 3, 2021 at 5:15 PM

  9. Hurray for your array of rays!


    January 3, 2021 at 10:02 PM

  10. The sparkle effect is amazing. Did you orchestrate it or was it something you spotted?


    January 4, 2021 at 12:40 PM

    • All I did was point the camera and photograph the sparkles, which Eve had pointed out and said looked good.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 4, 2021 at 4:34 PM

  11. Hey Steve love those ripples and sparkles …


    January 9, 2021 at 2:48 PM

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