Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

White egret standing on a grape vine

with 24 comments

Herodias alba; Lakewood Park in Leander; January 12.

And here’s an unrelated quotation for today: “There’s more mendacity in the way educated people in America talk to each other now than I have ever seen in my 54 years.” — John McWhorter in a recent interview.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 1, 2021 at 4:37 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , , ,

24 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I like this slightly silhouetted egret on a vine. Truly a majestic stance against the bright sky!

    Peter Klopp

    February 1, 2021 at 8:14 AM

    • Because the sun was on the far side of the egret, the portrait didn’t capture as much feathery texture as it would have with direct lighting. Oh well, as nature photographers we sometimes have to take what we get. I started photographing from farther away and fortunately was able to approach slowly and keep taking pictures as I advanced. Eventually vegetation stopped me from getting any closer, but I was close enough to be content.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 1, 2021 at 8:48 AM

  2. Well done with this silhouette! Excellent.
    And I agree to the thought expressed in that quotation.
    Have a great week,


    February 1, 2021 at 8:37 AM

    • Thanks; it is somewhat silhouetted, more than I wanted, but as I said in replying to the previous comment, the sun was on the far side of the egret.

      I heard the interview with McWhorter online yesterday and felt I had to add the quotation to my next post. There sure is a lot of mendacity out there.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 1, 2021 at 8:52 AM

  3. I like the lighting, particularly since the breeding plumes still are well-detailed. The barely opened beak is a nice touch, too. I wonder if he was pondering the thick vines as a possible nesting site.


    February 1, 2021 at 9:47 AM

    • Those wispy plumes across the legs compensated for what the rear lighting didn’t reveal on the near side of the egret’s body. I wouldn’t have known to call them breeding plumes. Like you, I wondered about the possibility of the grape vine mound serving as a nest.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 1, 2021 at 2:47 PM

  4. Great shot and great quotation not only for America I’m affraid….


    February 1, 2021 at 10:41 AM

    • You’re right that it’s true of other places too, but as America is my country I feel the devolution most acutely here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 1, 2021 at 2:50 PM

  5. Majestic Egret. They are hard to photograph because they kinda glow in the sun. You did a good job. I agree with the quote, it’s terrible, particularly on social media.

    Alessandra Chaves

    February 1, 2021 at 5:11 PM

    • You’re right that the white on these herons out in the bright sun can be dazzling, and there’s the possibility of overexposure. I always shoot in raw, and my camera tends to underexpose a bright scene anyhow, so it’s rare that any of my pictures have blown-out highlights.

      McWhorter’s point about mendacity is that surprisingly many educated people have turned politics into a religion in which, as true believers, they suspend their disbelief and profess certain things to be true that statistics and experience clearly show are not true.

      As for the word mendacity itself, it reminds me now of the Portuguese explorer and writer Fernão Mendes Pinto. Some (or a lot) of what he wrote seemed so far-fetched that people took to calling him not Fernão Mendes Pinto but “Fernão, mentes?— Minto.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 1, 2021 at 6:32 PM

      • Lol about Fernando. It’s not so much that people disagree, but how they express that. You write well. English has remained a challenge for me in all these years living in the us. And reading political posts on Facebook and Twitter, written by my educated colleagues and friends, has not helped me improve that. 🙄

        Alessandra Chaves

        February 2, 2021 at 8:01 AM

        • I understand how any foreign language is a challenge, but you write good English—better English than many Americans.

          I don’t find political comments on Facebook or Twitter to be useful. To be useful takes more than soundbites. It means accepting facts, and not refusing to accept facts that contradict your ideology. It means treating similar things in similar ways, and not treating a statement one way when it’s said by someone on your side but the opposite way when said by someone on the other side. In other words, it take fairness.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 2, 2021 at 8:46 AM

  6. No cause for regret for the lighting challenges of the egret. We do what we can with what we have. It’s an elegant silhouette portrait.


    February 2, 2021 at 1:04 AM

    • Yes, we do what we can. I could have added flash, but that most likely would have sent the egret flying away after one shot, so I remained flashless.

      As for the word elegant, you’ve reminded me of an irony from my childhood. As is still true in the world of spin, some business owners in those days figured that by choosing a fine-sounding name they’d put their business in a positive light. One way to do that is to use a French name (and you remember the quip from My Fair Lady: “The French don’t care what they do, actually, as long as they pronounce it properly.”) But the problem, then as now, is that people trying use foreign words often mess them up. And so in my town on Long Island we had a dry cleaner’s named Eleganté, which missed the accent on the first two vowels in French élégante and added one where it doesn’t belong, on the last vowel; there was also no reason to have added the final e, which took the adjective out of its generic (or masculine) form and into its feminine form. Hardly an elegant thing to do.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 2, 2021 at 4:42 AM

  7. It’s a nice backlight effect and there is enough detail around the edges to be satisfying.

    Steve Gingold

    February 2, 2021 at 4:29 AM

    • In other words, you’re saying I should interpret the double negative in “I can’t get no satisfaction” as a positive.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 2, 2021 at 4:46 AM

      • It’s generally accepted that a double negative can be interpreted as a positive. But can a double positive be interpreted as a negative? Some say nay. I say: Yeah, right.”


        February 3, 2021 at 2:40 AM

        • You’ve provided a unique example of a double positive having the force of a negative. Well done.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 3, 2021 at 9:23 AM

  8. I am always interested in the story of how you approach your subject and what it takes to get the shot. This image is lovely – I am especially drawn to the detail of the breeding plumage. I agree with the quote. The negativity is overwhelming to me most of the time.


    February 2, 2021 at 8:21 AM

    • I agree that the breeding plumage is a big plus for this egret portrait. You could say it’s the teacher in me that leans toward giving details about what I went through to get a picture. Sometimes that’s in the text, other times in replies to comments.

      Yes, the negativity coming from the media and academia can be overwhelming. Out in nature I can get away from it for a while.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 2, 2021 at 8:52 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: