Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

“Bloom” patterns at Inks Lake State Park

with 12 comments

On May 6th we drove the roughly one hour west to Inks Lake State Park, which by coincidence we’d visited exactly one year earlier. Because of the continuing drought, the place wasn’t the coreopsis-covered wonderland we’d found there in the spring of 2019. One thing that caught my attention last week that wasn’t there when we’d last visited, in November 2021, was bright green algae in several places along the lakeline, where the algae contrasted in color with the granite that underlies the region. Shape-wise I saw similarities to the many lichens on the selfsame granite in rocks and boulders.


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The Bill of Rights consists of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution of the United States. Perhaps the best known of the 10 is the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It’s become common these days to hear people say that the First Amendment came first because it states the most fundamental rights of American citizens. As conveniently symbolic as that justification sounds, it’s not true. An article on Thoughtco.com explains:

Drawing on the Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights, and Virginia’s Declaration of Rights, mainly written by George Mason, James Madison drafted 19 amendments, which he submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives on June 8, 1789. The House approved 17 of them and sent [them] to the U.S. Senate, which approved 12 of them on September 25. Ten were ratified by the states and became law on December 15, 1791.

When the Senate’s 12 amendments were submitted to the states for ratification, the first two of them failed, so the remaining 10 that got approved all moved up two slots. What was originally the third of the 12 amendments became our First Amendment. To learn more of the details, including information about the two amendments that failed in 1789—one of which finally got approved two centuries later—you can read the full article.


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman








Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 13, 2022 at 4:30 AM

12 Responses

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  1. Lovely textures…

    Alessandra Chaves

    May 13, 2022 at 10:44 PM

    • That’s how I saw it. The algae fascinated me as a colorful abstraction and I tried out lots of compositions.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 14, 2022 at 6:08 AM

  2. Ew!


    May 14, 2022 at 1:52 AM

    • From your reaction, you apparently take the algae as a sign of unhealthiness. I don’t know enough to know if that’s so. As a photographer, the patterns enchanted me.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 14, 2022 at 6:11 AM

  3. Beautiful and awesome!
    Well, we can’t rely on the American school “institutions” to teach this (possibly some private schools would), especially these days. I think this should be common knowledge, and I didn’t know these details. Thank you for sharing.

    Dawn Renee

    May 14, 2022 at 9:45 AM

    • As soon as I saw how the algae filamented out into those alluring patterns I knew I had to document the phenomenon with my camera. I ended up taking dozens of pictures from different distances and with various compositions.

      It’s sad that so many American schoolchildren “graduate” with so little knowledge of our history (and every other important subject, for that matter!). I learned about the more-than-ten originally proposed Constitutional amendments decades after I was in school. There’s too much about our history for any one teacher or textbook to impart, but current curricula purposely suppress a lot of it in favor of “woke” ideology.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 14, 2022 at 9:57 AM

      • The shots you chose to share are perfect.
        It is bothersome, and frankly, unacceptable what our children aren’t learning and the brainwashing that these young minds are fed.

        Dawn Renee

        May 15, 2022 at 7:33 AM

  4. That algae is beautiful. I smiled at Tony’s reaction. I suspect the waterfowl and other creatures who feed on it would have a different opinion. As for me, I find the patterns of algae fascinating, especially when there’s slightly flowing water to create kaleidoscopic effects.

    I wasn’t surprised to find boulders and rocks like the one you show here on the Willow City loop last weekend, but I was surprised to find rain lilies sprouting up in front of them. Apparently, even the slightest hint of rain can be enough to coax those flowers from the ground.


    May 14, 2022 at 9:52 AM

    • “Kaleidoscopic” strikes me as an excellent word for the intricate patterns of the algae at Inks Lake. And you raise a good point about waterfowl and other creatures finding it useful, whatever the aesthetics.

      Unlike some other plants, rain lilies really do justify their common name. I’m glad you finally got to see the justification for yourself—and in quantity.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 14, 2022 at 10:04 AM

  5. Nice one. I like this almost as much as that other algae shot from years ago.

    Steve Gingold

    May 14, 2022 at 3:12 PM

    • Thanks. I was thinking about that old picture just the other day. I did several dozen takes of this one at different angles and distances and with various framings.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 14, 2022 at 7:45 PM

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