Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

White sky for a change

with 21 comments

As a change from the many pictures with dark backgrounds I’ve shown for the past two years, here’s a view showing two graceful goldenrod seed heads (Solidago sp.) against a white sky. This simple portrait comes from the northeast quadrant of Mopac and US 183 on January 11th.

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Back on December 12th I reported on how the people in charge of the Centers for Disease control were continuing to put forward a false conclusion about the effectiveness of masks on students in public schools. The conclusion was false because it was based on a multiply flawed study of Arizona schoolchildren. Flaws included comparing schools that were open for different lengths of time; including several dozen non-existent schools (they were actually programs within schools); and failing to take into account background rates of infection in the different communities. You can read about the study’s defects in a December article by David Zweig in The Atlantic.

I bring this up again now because Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control, still keeps touting the unwarranted conclusion of that scientifically improper study even after people have pointed out to her the things that make the study invalid. She did so as recently as January 11th in front of the United States Senate. You can watch a new Megyn Kelly interview about this with David Zweig; it takes up the first 22 minutes of her January 13th show.

I, and presumably you, have no vested interest in which way the science comes out. If students wearing masks really fare better than students without them—assuming all other factors are equal—then so be it. And if they don’t, so be it. And if it turns out that masks protect students in some circumstances but not others, so be it. What matters is the truth. But when an administration keeps insisting on the false conclusion of a study long after its multiple defects have been pointed out, we the people lose faith in our government. A Latin motto that has become an adage in our legal system is “Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus,” or “False in one thing, false in all.” If government officials knowingly tell us something false about masks on schoolchildren, then we have to assume officials will lie to us about other things, too.

Along similar lines, you may also want to read an article by J. Scott Turner published yesterday entitled “The White House Is Undermining Science, Not Defending It.”

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 19, 2022 at 4:36 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , ,

21 Responses

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  1. A muted but very graceful and appealing picture.

    Robert Parker

    January 19, 2022 at 6:33 AM

  2. It looks as if you shot this over or on a lightbox. It’s lovely.


    January 19, 2022 at 7:26 AM

  3. I like this minimalistic approach to photography, Steve. This image makes me think of flowers being pressed to dry between book pages.

    Peter Klopp

    January 19, 2022 at 8:01 AM

    • Without any need for pressing, these two dry sprigs lay approximately in a plane, making it relatively easy for me to get everything in focus. A good part of my photography long ago worked its way into minimalism, though usually with a dark background.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 19, 2022 at 8:39 AM

  4. This is a fine way to present these delicate and complex seed heads. It’s a fun image, too. I saw a long-snouted tropical fish, with a pair of feathery tail fins.


    January 19, 2022 at 8:10 AM

    • ps: from what I see in the weather forecast, you may have a dfferent sort of white sky to enjoy. At best, we’re in line for a little mixed precipitation, but I see snowflakes in Austin’s weather graphics.


      January 19, 2022 at 8:13 AM

      • The sky here is a murky light gray now. I watched the forecast on local television a few hours ago and heard about the possibility for sleet, freezing rain, or flurries tomorrow. Whether any of that will be photographic along with treacherous remains to be seen.

        Steve Schwartzman

        January 19, 2022 at 8:44 AM

    • Leave it to your imagination to enter tropical waters. The property where I took this picture does tend to accumulate water, sometimes enough that I’ve had to wear rubber boots to walk through the low areas. Still, I believe the water is too inconstant for any fish to live there.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 19, 2022 at 8:49 AM

  5. Very nice


    January 19, 2022 at 10:51 AM

  6. Nice find, Steve. It has a nice rhythm to it.

    Eliza Waters

    January 19, 2022 at 7:19 PM

  7. Love the way the the simplicity emphasises the delicate texture of the seed heads. And the crossing over of their stems gives a composition that is very pleasing to the eye. 🙂

    Ann Mackay

    January 20, 2022 at 6:31 AM

    • Yarrow seed heads last longer than I’d expect them to, given how dry and brittle they become. Likewise for the leaves. And what nature photographer wouldn’t take advantage of the stems’ curving crossing?

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 20, 2022 at 6:39 AM

  8. Yes, white is nice for a change. It’s always good to mix it up!


    January 20, 2022 at 12:03 PM

  9. The white background works beautifully in this image. Love it.


    January 28, 2022 at 6:37 AM

    • Going for a different kind of background was worth it in this case. Some experiments succeed, others fail. We keep trying—and I just reminded myself how closely related the words experiment and experience are.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 28, 2022 at 6:56 AM

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