Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A colorful limestone overhang

with 41 comments

I live in northwest Austin’s Great Hills neighborhood, which is home to the unsurprisingly named Great Hills Park. An isolated arm of the park, seldom reached because getting there entails walking in a creek and pushing past various obstacles, houses a long limestone overhang. Given the geography and the position of the sun throughout the year, direct light doesn’t fall on the overhang’s ceiling or most of its back. An approaching visitor will initially see the inside of the overhang as very dark, though eyes do get somewhat accustomed after a person has been under the overhang for a bit. Even so, the dimness makes it hard to appreciate the ways in which seeping water over eons has colored the stone. I used flash to light up the formations and reveal the pastel colors that you see in these two images, both from June 10th.


Did you hear about the family in Edinburgh that has six living generations?

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 18, 2021 at 4:37 AM

41 Responses

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  1. Beautiful colours. Is this a place known to only the most dedicated of photographers? I didn’t know about the family in Scotland. My Scottish ancestors came from very large families but I don’t know how many generations were living at the same time.


    June 18, 2021 at 6:03 AM

    • I can’t say how many other photographers have taken pictures there; few, I expect. In recent times I’ve gone there at least once a year, and I’ve occasionally led other people to the place. Getting there is easiest after a sustained period without rain because the creek is then dry or mostly dry. We had ample rain in May, so when I visited on June 10th I had to don a pair of rubber boots to walk through the water.

      Perhaps you can check genealogical records to find out whether your large Scottish family was among the very rare ones with six living generations.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 18, 2021 at 6:18 AM

  2. I see a “heart” shape towards the upper right in that first image. What beautiful artwork and creativity nature has provided – so many lovely, pastel colors and textures. I often find the places I have to work to get to, offer the greatest rewards.


    June 18, 2021 at 6:45 AM

    • I ended up replacing another picture with the one that’s now first, in part because that heart grabbed my attention, too.

      While I understand the feeling of reward that comes from overcoming hardship, I’m all for reducing the hardship whenever possible. A couple of times in recent years I’ve gone along the route to make my passage easier, once with clippers and once with a chainsaw after a tree had fallen across the creek. It’s been a couple of years now, and especially after this February’s ice storm, it wouldn’t hurt to go back and trim some obstacles again.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 18, 2021 at 6:58 AM

  3. Lots of room here to let our fantasy blossom when looking at your two photos. I especially like the heart in the first picture. Nature is also a master when it comes to abstract painting.

    Peter Klopp

    June 18, 2021 at 9:19 AM

  4. Lovely photograph. I am fond of patterns and textures.

    Alessandra Chaves

    June 18, 2021 at 10:22 AM

  5. I love the colors in both images. I see the heart in the top image …my favorite shape, and the second image reminds me of a space view of a place on Earth. Both are really cool images!


    June 18, 2021 at 10:54 AM

  6. Nice


    June 18, 2021 at 11:08 AM

  7. Another beauty captured, Steve. I love the colors and texture of these photos, very painterly!


    June 18, 2021 at 2:02 PM

    • You’re the second commenter to mention painting (and the following commenter does, too). I’d be totally inept in that medium, so it’s fortunate photography exists. And that places like the overhang exist.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 18, 2021 at 3:49 PM

  8. Quite often a closer look reveals treasures. These resemble our bathroom wallpaper. This easily could be someone’s abstract painting and it is if we see nature as the living being that it is.

    Steve Gingold

    June 18, 2021 at 2:14 PM

    • Now that comes as an unexpected comparison: bathroom wallpaper. In the case of the overhang, nature is coloring on a much broader time scale than that of any human painter.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 18, 2021 at 3:51 PM

  9. It looks like a topographical map. Always interesting when you take details out of context.


    June 18, 2021 at 4:19 PM

    • You’ve made me think we should be able to replace the con in context with a prefix that means the opposite, so we’d have a single word for ‘out of context.’ Maybe setext or abtext or extext.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 18, 2021 at 4:40 PM

  10. Better an overhang than a hangover, I’d say. The colors are fabulous.They remind me of tanished copper, as well as the American Southwest, where these colors are so common. The lavender shadows are a nice complement.

    Funny, that I didn’t see a heart. Instead, I saw a Rodin-like figure — head on the left, then sturdy shoulders and muscular arms, with hands joined in prayer or greeting. Those thick ‘fingers’ certainly would have suited a Rodin sculpture.


    June 18, 2021 at 6:52 PM

    • Good first line; I wish I’d thought of it. Yes, the colors do have a Southwest feel—and Texas is at the far east of the Southwest. I’ve looked for your Rodin-like figure and may have found it: is it predominantly green?

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 18, 2021 at 7:31 PM

  11. Beautiful shots!


    June 19, 2021 at 2:23 AM

  12. Like an old, rain-ruined fresco, fascinating patterns.

    Robert Parker

    June 19, 2021 at 11:03 AM

  13. Stunning colours. And yes, I had read about the six generation family. Amazing!

    • I immediately thought about you when I heard about that family; I meant to ask you if you’d heard of them, too, and now I know that you have.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 19, 2021 at 5:43 PM

  14. It’s like a modern painting.


    June 20, 2021 at 1:04 PM

    • Definitely. I wonder if any modern styles of painting originated when painters saw formations like these and wanted to mimic them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 20, 2021 at 1:06 PM

  15. […] week you heard about and saw two pictures of a limestone overhang in a hard-to-reach section of Great Hills Park. I mentioned […]

  16. I saw the heart too. What wonderful colours.


    June 26, 2021 at 5:22 AM

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