Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

That bare winter look

with 31 comments


A pond on the grounds of Hyde Park High School on January 21st.

For those interested in the craft of photography, point 15 in About My Techniques applies to this landscape.


⥥      ⥥      ⥥


It’s not unusual for someone to wonder, as you may have yourself, who in recent history caused the greatest number of people to die. A 2016 article by Chris Waugh gave this tally:


In contrast, we seldom hear the opposite question: who in recent history saved the greatest number of lives? It most likely was Norman Borlaug. As the University of Minnesota website notes: “alumnus Norman Borlaug left an indelible mark on the world. The late agronomist’s work in developing new varieties of wheat starting in the 1940s spawned the ‘Green Revolution,’ and is credited with saving at least a billion lives.”

Another great saver of human lives was Herbert Hoover. As the National Constitution Center notes: “Hoover is remembered as the ‘Great Humanitarian.’ Hoover was credited with saving 10 million lives during World War I as the leader of U.S. government efforts to send food supplies to war-torn areas of Europe.”

Herbert Hoover had the misfortune to be President of the United States when the stock market crashed in 1929 and the world soon entered what became known as the Great Depression. Because of that, a lot of historians have maligned Hoover, but you can read about his many accomplishments in the National Constitution Center article I cited.


© 2023 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 25, 2023 at 4:28 AM

31 Responses

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  1. I kind of like the look of this, the textures


    January 25, 2023 at 4:34 AM

  2. I like how you play with reflection. The double sided nature of the photography is beautiful. It makes the dead of winter, nature of the subject all the more alive in your photo because it makes it extremely interesting. It highlights the quiet thoughtful nature of winter. I love this photo.

    Rei Clearly

    January 25, 2023 at 4:59 AM

    • I think reflections appeal to many photographers and to people more generally. Call it two for the price of one. If reflections make dormant trees seem more alive, so much the better.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 25, 2023 at 7:57 AM

  3. On Golden Pond? It’s almost hard to tell where the reflection starts. This would make a challenging puzzle for puzzlers. 😀


    January 25, 2023 at 7:52 AM

    • I take it you’re Fonda that movie. Probably even doubly so.

      Good suggestion: this busy view would make a harder-than-average jigsaw puzzle.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 25, 2023 at 8:00 AM

      • I’ve never seen the whole movie! Your image reminded me of reeds and grasses in Calif. in the summer months. I always thought of the color as golden rather than brown.

        Wouldn’t that be a hard puzzle? I think you can make your images into puzzles these days?


        January 25, 2023 at 8:03 AM

        • Maybe this is your prompt to watch the whole movie.
          Yes, when I searched just now for “turn photo into jigsaw puzzle” I got a slew of hits. One company is offering a 1000-piece puzzle measuring 25″ x 19″ for $40 (plus shipping). There are also companies that let you work jigsaw puzzles online for free.

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 25, 2023 at 8:12 AM

          • Isn’t there a Loon on the pond that sounds wonderful and mysterious? I think that’s the only part of the movie I’ve seen besides the trailer. Maybe one day I’ll watch it? I know I’d love the Loon.


            January 25, 2023 at 8:19 AM

  4. Photographically, the larger branch extending across the image horizontally creates an interesting parallel to the shoreline, as well as contrasting nicely to the vertical branches. The apparent fragility of the shoreline plants, combined with the light color, brought to mind Milan Kundera’s novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Its premise is that that all life events occur once and once only – thus the “lightness” of being. That tempted me to imagine another title: “The Unbearable Lightness of Being a Pond.”


    January 25, 2023 at 9:14 AM

    • That one long branch forming an arc across the photograph acts as a welcome unifier, even as it contrasts with the many more-upright elements. While some might wonder whether the essence of a pond is ponderable or imponderable, you’ve come down for the former and have substantiated its lightness of being. And of course I didn’t find this scene unbearable at all.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 25, 2023 at 10:03 AM

  5. I like the way the trees and their reflection in the pond form almost a right angle and thus create a feeling of depth.

    Peter Klopp

    January 25, 2023 at 12:05 PM

    • I hadn’t specifically noticed the right angles till you pointed the out. Sometimes a right angle is the right angle.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 25, 2023 at 3:37 PM

  6. What a beautiful image capturing the reflection! That is very, very nice.

    Lavinia Ross

    January 25, 2023 at 1:23 PM

    • Thanks, Lavinia. That’s how I felt when I looked through the viewfinder and knew I was onto something good.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 25, 2023 at 3:39 PM

  7. Winter chaos reflected.

    Pleasing to my senses.

    Wally Jones

    January 25, 2023 at 1:59 PM

  8. Interesting. I had never heard of Norman Borlaug!

    • You could call him an under-sung hero. A few months ago we watched a documentary about him. Schools should do a better job—or any job!—teaching about his contribution to humanity.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 25, 2023 at 3:42 PM

  9. There is beauty to discover in bareness and in looking at things differently, as in considering who has saved the most lives in recent history. I have just listened to a short piece on a seed bank in Lebanon which may save millions of lives now and in years to come. https://one.npr.org/?sharedMediaId=1149738126:1151143617&fbclid=IwAR3ijDZSN6jybMDIjDAEVGRPza_7cr25BMf4P6O-GuMkWDmgpbgNAPVCO-4


    January 25, 2023 at 7:43 PM

    • When growing up, I was fond of baked beans. In Honduras practically every meal included tortillas and beans (yum). I’m happy to learn about the programs mentioned in the audio to expand the use of legumes. Grains and legumes when eaten together are an excellent source of protein and reduce people’s need for meat, which requires more resources to produce.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 25, 2023 at 10:11 PM

  10. Love the photo, and how you brought it “to life” in your words. Donna

    Wind Kisses

    January 28, 2023 at 11:11 AM

    • Thanks, Donna. We don’t have Arizona’s grand scenery here, but there’s no shortage of intimate landscapes if one is open to them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 28, 2023 at 1:53 PM

      • True. We have lived many places and every time, we find the most fascinating places to visit. Thanks again Steve.

        Wind Kisses

        January 28, 2023 at 2:59 PM

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