Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Ripple reflections on Bull Creek cliff

with 6 comments


Not having been to the main section of St. Edward’s Park for a long time, I went there on the morning of June 24th. At one of the access points to Bull Creek I noticed that sunlight was reflecting off ripples in the creek and creating shimmers on the cliff. Those shimmers of light in turn appeared upside down as they reflected off the surface of the water on their way to my eyes and to the camera that I put between my eyes and them.

Southern maidenhair ferns (Adiantum capillus-veneris) created the horizontal green band of foliage across the cliff just above the water level. Starkly uneven lighting (which I could only partly even out while processing the image) produced a strange effect: the ferns in the right half of the photograph are clearly reflected in the water, while the main group of ferns in the left half doesn’t have an obvious reflection.



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One of the most important developments in the study of racial inequality has been the quantification of the importance of pre-market skills in explaining differences in labor market outcomes between Black and white workers. In 2010, using nationally representative data on thousands of individuals in their 40s, I estimated that Black men earn 39.4% less than white men and Black women earn 13.1% less than white women. Yet, accounting for one variable—educational achievement in their teenage years—reduced that difference to 10.9% (a 72% reduction) for men and revealed that Black women earn 12.7 percent more than white women, on average. Derek Neal, an economist at the University of Chicago, and William Johnson were among the first to make this point in 1996: “While our results do provide some evidence for current labor market discrimination, skills gaps play such a large role that we believe future research should focus on the obstacles Black children face in acquiring productive skill.”

That’s from Roland Fryer’s June 2022 article in Fortune magazine entitled “It’s time for data-first diversity, equity, and inclusion.” That passage supports what I’ve been saying for decades: the single most important thing our society can do for underprivileged children is give them a good education. Instead, the people in charge of education keep making excuses and adopting policies which practically guarantee that those children won’t learn much. It’s a disgrace.


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman






Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 30, 2022 at 4:26 AM

6 Responses

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  1. Here’s something that appears even more odd to me. The ferns on the right, which are reflected in the water, are far less sharply defined than those on the left, which provide no reflection. After staring at the image for a while, I finally decided the ferns on the right are closer to the camera: that the rock extends farther out into the water. If you look at the ferns on the left, there’s a hint of reflection beneath them. It’s a neat image.


    June 30, 2022 at 8:00 AM

    • The ferns on the right were in very bright sunlight; those on the left were shaded. I had to tone down the ones on the right, and that may have resulted in what you see as reduced definition. And yes, there’s a hint of reflection from the ferns at the left. It’s a strange image. I don’t recall ever making one like it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 30, 2022 at 8:34 AM

  2. Fascinating shot of a unique moment in time!

    Peter Klopp

    June 30, 2022 at 9:22 AM

  3. Very creative. That calm spot is a bit of an odd manifestation.

    Steve Gingold

    July 1, 2022 at 3:07 PM

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