Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

More from Enchanted Rock

with 20 comments

In both of these April 12th views at Enchanted Rock you see intrusive seams in the rock.
For me the clouds in the top picture are anything but intrusive.

Here are three world geography questions for you.

Which river touches the greatest number of countries?

Which country is the least densely populated?

Which country touches the most other countries?

I’ll post the answers in a couple of days.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 27, 2021 at 6:15 AM

20 Responses

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  1. So often, I fuss over haze that obscures the sky, but that second photo makes it attractive in a way that equals the blue sky and clouds in the first photo. It’s different, for sure, but I like both. In fact, there’s a kind of glow in the second image that seems unusual. I suspect it’s partly a result of the absence of a vivid blue sky; it allows the green and brown to really shine.


    April 27, 2021 at 7:21 AM

    • Normally I strongly favor the type of clouds in the top picture. Adobe Camera Raw (a component of Photoshop / Lightroom) has a Dehaze slider that can sometimes work wonders in recovering detail, though at the expense of added grain—occasionally so much of it as to be prohibitive. Your words “a kind of glow” reminded me of “There’s a kind of hush all over the world,” a song written by Les Reed and Geoff Stephens that Herman’s Hermits popularized in 1967.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 27, 2021 at 8:02 AM

  2. That first shot makes me feel like I could jump off the edge of the earth! The second image is just magnificent… I love the landscape beyond.


    April 27, 2021 at 7:52 AM

    • We wouldn’t want to lose you, so fortunately there’s no actual edge for you to jump off in the first scene. Were you to continue forward from where I took the picture, you’d gradually reach the top of the broad dome. In the direction the second picture shows we learned that a new trail had opened up. On a return visit I’d like to go that way and find out what enchanting things it offers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 27, 2021 at 8:08 AM

  3. What a fascinating place to visit! Your pictures underline the remote beauty of this place. I would not have expected that places like this exist in the populated state of Texas.

    Peter Klopp

    April 27, 2021 at 8:19 AM

    • It’s true that some parts of Texas are densely populated, notably the Austin, Houston, El Paso, San Antonio, and Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan areas. At the same time, Texas has the second largest area of any state in the country (after Alaska), so at about 268,000 square miles, much of Texas is rural. That’s especially true in the western part of the state, which is more arid. In fact Loving County, which covers 677 square miles, has under a hundred residents and is the least populated county in the United States:


      Enchanted Rock, in the middle of the state, has geological features we’re more likely to associate with parts of the country farther west.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 27, 2021 at 8:58 AM

      • Thank you so much for the elaborate explanation, Steve! Very much appreciated!

        Peter Klopp

        April 28, 2021 at 8:28 AM

        • My impression is that people who haven’t been to Texas often have misconceptions about it. Again, that’s at least partly because the state is so large and encompasses so many climates and geographical zones. I’ve read that Big Bend in west Texas is the most isolated national park in the United States (excluding Alaska).

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 28, 2021 at 8:41 AM

  4. I really think I need to get there again some time (soon).


    April 27, 2021 at 9:50 AM

    • You’ll have to reserve an entry time slot on the TPW website. We didn’t have any trouble finding a slot during the week, but weekends sell out well in advance. Anyhow, since you’re so close, you can arrange to go early on a weekday morning when the temperature is still low. Happy hiking.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 27, 2021 at 10:06 AM

      • Thank for the advice, Steve. Lately we’ve always booked a time with state parks etc.


        April 28, 2021 at 2:09 PM

  5. I’ve visited three of the most densely populated places (Hong Kong, Macau, and Singapore) but not the least populated. I’d guessed Mongolia but a web-search indicates Erik the Red would dispute that. And guessed Russia for the most foreign borders, but is it China? And waltzing down the Danube you could visit a whole lot of countries, which I’d remembered from a Viking River Cruise brochure, so there’s those Vikings again.

    Robert Parker

    April 28, 2021 at 5:49 AM

    • It’s clear you’re Mr. World Geography! The Danube River it is, with 10 country contacts to its credit. There’s a tie for the number of contacts with other countries, with Russia and China coming in at 14 apiece. Being big has its advantages in that respect.

      As for the least densely populated country, it depends on what you mean by “country.” If you mean independent country, you’re right that Mongolia is the least densely populated. Greenland has a much lower population density but Denmark claims the place; we could’ve had that privilege if Trump had had its way and Denmark had agreed to sell us Greenland.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 28, 2021 at 7:28 AM

  6. The Danube River. That is the only one I know. It seems like the Nile River gets around more though.
    China must have more neighbors than any other country because it touches most countries in Southeastern Asia, and there are several. Russia might touch as many countries in Eastern Europe.
    Now that I see your answers, I would not have guessed Greenland, since I did not consider it to be a distinct country. Does that include Denmark? I would have thought that a Polynesian country would be less densely populated if the area of water were included.


    April 29, 2021 at 1:29 AM

    • The Danube River it is. Likewise for China and Russia, which as you’ve seen are tied at 14 each.
      The figure I’ve seen for the population density of Greenland doesn’t include Denmark. My sense is that population density calculations do not include the area of water surrounding land.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 29, 2021 at 6:26 AM

  7. The texture of that rock is enchanting. Nice clouds in the upper.

    Steve Gingold

    April 30, 2021 at 7:41 AM

  8. […] we’d hiked most of the way back down from the main dome at Enchanted Rock on April 12th, Eve called my attention to a brightly colored lizard the likes of which I […]

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