Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Dusk colors

with 40 comments

Hot off a colorful sunset in Driftwood on October 17th, the next evening I stationed myself
at a place with a pretty good view on Lost Horizon Dr. in my neighborhood and hoped for more. I got it.

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“You can resolve to live your life with integrity. Let your credo be this: Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me. The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie. One word of truth outweighs the world.” — Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 13, 2021 at 4:30 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , ,

40 Responses

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  1. Such an interesting shot


    November 13, 2021 at 4:40 AM

  2. The sky in the first photo reminded me of El Greco’s colors; it also could be described as ‘bruised.’ Did you consider cropping out the buildings and such at the horizon? It surprised me that you included them; without them, the image is even stronger, at least to my eye.

    The energy in the second photo is striking. I see a figure flying through the sky, arms extended. No El Greco there, but perhaps William Blake.


    November 13, 2021 at 6:07 AM

    • The Solzhenitzyn Center includes excerpts from the 1974 essay that’s come to be known as “Live Not By Lies.” The original is available in the Washington Post archives. There are a few differences between the texts, but whether they’re a result of decisions during translation I can’t say. In any event, the essay’s worth reading in its entirety for those who haven’t come across it.


      November 13, 2021 at 6:22 AM

      • I didn’t even have to get past the first paragraph to find relevant foreshadowing:

        “What kind of tricks are they playing on us, and where are they dragging us? Gratuitous boasting of cosmic achievements while there is poverty and destruction at home.”

        Steve Schwartzman

        November 13, 2021 at 6:46 AM

      • And here’s the part that’s similar to what I quoted from his book: “And the simplest and most accessible key to our self-neglected liberation lies right here: Personal non-participation in lies. Though lies conceal everything, though lies embrace everything, we will be obstinate in this smallest of matters: Let them embrace everything, but not with any help from me.”

        Steve Schwartzman

        November 13, 2021 at 7:00 AM

    • In plenty of other sunset pictures, including the second one in this post, I’ve aimed high enough to exclude all human traces and leave only abstract cloud formations. I scrolled the picture down just now to create your preferred view by eliminating the black at the bottom. It looks good to me that way, too.

      For whatever reason, when processing the top picture I liked the dark band across the bottom to “ground” the view, even though that meant leaving some poles and roofs. Another option was using Photoshop to replace this silhouetted horizon with one from a picture taken in a place that doesn’t have human traces on the horizon.

      Sometimes, though not this time, I’ve made alternate abstract versions of a photograph by cropping in different ways.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 13, 2021 at 6:41 AM

  3. Such a beautiful colour palette and composition Steve feels peaceful ~ sending joy hedy ☺️🕊💫

    sloppy buddhist

    November 13, 2021 at 7:51 AM

  4. The focus is on the last glimmer of light in the clouds when everything else is already plunged into darkness.

    Peter Klopp

    November 13, 2021 at 8:39 AM

  5. Those are lovely! Will you have a good view of the upcoming partial eclipse from there as well?


    November 13, 2021 at 8:47 AM

  6. Simply gorgeous! 🙂


    November 13, 2021 at 9:57 AM

  7. Beautiful abstract photos of the sky. The quotation is very true.

    Alessandra Chaves

    November 13, 2021 at 5:18 PM

    • Amen to the quotation. I’ve heard other people saying the same thing this year, including Bari Weiss and John McWhorter.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 13, 2021 at 5:23 PM

  8. Stunning.

    Khürt Williams

    November 13, 2021 at 8:15 PM

  9. Fabulous skies – I love the rich colours of the first and the delicate shapes of the clouds in the second.
    The quotation is one to live by – and I think a lot of people feel that way and are more inclined to speak up. Sadly, it doesn’t stop others from closing their ears to them, but it’s vital to keep trying!

    Ann Mackay

    November 13, 2021 at 8:55 PM

    • I’ve often noticed how different the parts of a sunset can be. The bold colorfulness of the first view contrasts with the subdued subtlety of the second.

      Many young people today don’t know about the horrors of the Soviet Union and Communist China through most of the 20th century. Almost none have heard of the heroic Solzhenitsyn. I hope you’re right that more people will be willing to take his words to heart and follow his counsel.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 13, 2021 at 9:23 PM

      • I think that climate change is stirring people up and making them more vocal – and they need to be!

        Ann Mackay

        November 14, 2021 at 5:08 AM

        • This morning’s post follows up with a quotation about the great value of freedom of speech.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 14, 2021 at 5:46 AM

  10. The first image pairs well with the name of the street, “Lost Horizon Drive”. I also see an “eye” in the center of both photographs.

    It was interesting for me to spend a couple of weeks with family in Nebraska recently. It’s apparent many people up there rebel against “the lie” of our government openly. Signs and billboards with messages of stark rebellion of what is happening were refreshing to see. Lots of signage along roadsides, messages painted on barns, and even stickers found on vehicles were abundant. Yet, in other ways I have witnessed much of the farm community indulge in the lie that Bayer (Monsanto jokingly called MonSATAN by the locals) feeds the agricultural and food industries. Greed drives it all. Bayer is huge up there right now – evil is blatantly present in the farming community, but the money is so good people can’t walk away from it. I keep wondering how much more it will take for the farmers and the state to see what it’s costing the environment, wildlife and human population to suffer.


    November 14, 2021 at 7:51 AM

    • I see what you mean about the “eye” in the center of each photograph. I’d consciously thought of them only as abstract configurations but maybe subconsciously as eyes.

      “Lost Horizon Drive” is a good name for a street, even if the horizon is actually visible from parts of it. Maybe the name came from James Hilton’s novel, Lost Horizon, or the movie it got turned into.

      The kinds of signs you report seeing in Nebraska have their echo down here. We see things like that when we drive far enough out of Austin into rural areas. I’m not familiar with the pros and cons of Bayer in agriculture. I found this article from a few days ago:


      Courts have often enough later overturned large monetary damages like that one, so we’ll see.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 14, 2021 at 8:26 AM

      • Bayer/Monsanto has a lot of power. It’s been difficult for any entity to battle them in court. If only people were better educated about the situation we’ve found ourselves in with so many health issues. No one really talks about the high cancer rates in the farming community. The rise in many autoimmune disorders should scare the hell out of folks but it doesn’t.



        November 14, 2021 at 8:50 AM

        • The article you linked to mentions GMOs, or genetically modified organisms. I’ve generally avoided them to be on the safe side, but I’ve also considered the fact that civilizations have been genetically modifying crops for thousands of years by cross-breeding. The large ears of corn we harvest today are unrecognizable in the small, barely palatable grass seed heads they started out as thousands of years ago in Central America before the native peoples there bred them into the staple food they became:


          If modern technology can speed up the process, that would seem to be a great advantage, provided scientists make sure to maintain safety. The same goes for the modern medicines that have saved many millions of lives, and that have to be tested for safety before being broadly used.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 14, 2021 at 9:15 AM

  11. The combination of light orange above and red below in the first one is an unusual sight. Two painterly images of the sky.


    November 14, 2021 at 10:23 PM

    • I think it’s fair to say that as nature photographers we value unusual color combinations, so finding them is rewarding. I think we also prize elements of the painterly landscape tradition.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 15, 2021 at 6:24 AM

  12. The other end of the day, literally the end, and two nice shots of the fading light.

    Steve Gingold

    November 15, 2021 at 3:57 AM

    • The other end of the day from your accustomed one. The number of sunrises I’ve shown here could probably be counted in single digits, compared to dozens of sunsets.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 15, 2021 at 6:26 AM

  13. You sure did!! Fabulous shots … the first is a stunner


    November 21, 2021 at 4:13 AM

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