Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Reflection as indirection for abstraction

with 11 comments

A recent post presented pictures of sycamore trees (Platanus occidentalis) with white bark. In the first of those views I’d aimed at a conspicuous part of my subject and zoomed in tightly to heighten the abstraction. Another way to go for abstraction is to look at a subject indirectly, and probably the most common way to do that is via a reflection. Here are two examples from January 22 of that approach to white-branched sycamores along Brushy Creek just west of the round rock in the creek that gave Round Rock its name.


✣         ✣         ✣


Do you think citizens have a right to know what their government’s employees have done? I do, and I hope you agree. The Capitol Police Department’s leaders disagree. They don’t want to make public the following things:

  • Email communications between the U.S. Capitol Police Executive Team and the Capitol Police Board concerning the security of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The timeframe of this request is from January 1, 2021 through January 10, 2021.
  • Email communications of the Capitol Police Board with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security concerning the security of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The timeframe of this request is from January 1, 2021through January 10, 2021.
  • All video footage from within the Capitol between 12 pm and 9 pm on January 6, 2021.

The organization Judicial Watch is suing to get that information. Good for them. We the people have a right to know what our government does. The fact that the government is fighting to keep that information away from its citizens can only fuel suspicions that the government was derelict in its planning for that day, or worse, did something unethical or nefarious.

 © 2022 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 16, 2022 at 4:37 AM

11 Responses

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  1. I like the diagonal chain of oblong shapes in the 2nd shot. I guess people don’t often use the plural “oblongs” but don’t know why.

    Robert Parker

    February 16, 2022 at 6:38 AM

    • The diagonal of bright-outlined “amoebas” is what made the second shot appeal to me.

      Once an adjective begins to function as a noun, it normally pluralizes like a noun. In the early days of television (and presumably before that in radio) we had what were euphemistically called commercial announcements, with an -s only at the end of the second word. After people dropped the second word, the remaining commercial, now standing in for the original noun phrase, became eligible for a plural marker, and so we live in a world of commercials.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 16, 2022 at 6:50 AM

  2. The first image is pretty, and brings to mind an impressionistic painting. The second photo is more interesting to me. It looks as though the more general reflection has been overlaid with another, brighter reflection: one that seems to be metamorphosing into something unrelated to the tree itself. I’d say it looks as though the reflection’s dissolving, but it seems to be more, rather than less, solid.

    Speaking of trees, you may recall my mention of the way our cypress trees sometimes lose all their leaves at once, in the space of only hours. When I left for work on Monday, those same trees were entirely leafless. When I came home that night, all of them were hung with catkins — within the space of only a few hours. Amazing.


    February 16, 2022 at 8:22 AM

    • The first picture is good evidence that the Impressionists developed their approach to painting based on reflections, then applied it to subjects not involving water at all. In pondering what you said about the reflections in the second photograph, I suddenly imagined the little shapes outlined in light (which I called amoebas in my reply to the comment before yours) as footprints. Who’d been walking on water remains a mystery.

      I don’t remember ever hearing of any kind of tree going from bare to catkin-bedecked in just half a day. That’s prodigious. I wonder if anyone’s made a video of that rapid process.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 16, 2022 at 8:35 AM

  3. We often need to show the objects creating the reflection. However, in these fantastic shots, they would be a distraction from the beauty of the rippled water surface.

    Peter Klopp

    February 16, 2022 at 9:07 AM

    • I agree. I did take some photographs showing the subjects as well as their reflections but I felt the views of the reflections alone were stronger pictures. On other occasions showing the real and the reflected together has worked well.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 16, 2022 at 9:35 AM

  4. Is it possible that the force does not want to reveal tactics that the next mob can use to plan a more successful attack?


    February 16, 2022 at 9:50 AM

    • Of course that’s theoretically possible. Advancing that claim could also be a pretext for hiding incompetence or malfeasance. One way we could distinguish between those two possibilities is by having a judge or panel of judges or even the Supreme Court review all the secret evidence and tell us which is true, or conclude there’s some other explanation that we hadn’t considered.

      As I understand it, the police or military should have been present in large enough numbers and with sufficient armament to prevent anyone from breaching the perimeter in the first case. Then there’d be no question of having to conceal or reveal security plans inside the Capitol.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 16, 2022 at 10:45 AM

  5. They look like paintings. I love the colors and light in them both.


    February 16, 2022 at 9:57 AM

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