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Two views of flameleaf sumac

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Longtime visitors here know that central Texas is too warm to get the kind of fall foliage that colder parts of the country are famous for. That said, we do get some autumn color, and one reliable source of it is the aptly named flameleaf sumac, Rhus lanceolata. On November 9th I spent time on part of the Brushy Creek Regional Trail in Cedar Park, where I made the two flameleaf sumac pictures in today’s post.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 10, 2019 at 4:40 AM

Enchanted Rock, part 5

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A couple of years ago I was shown a photograph taken by Brian P. Barnes of a geological structure at Enchanted Rock I’d never seen or even heard of. Eventually I learned that it’s called Window Rock, and that’s where I most wanted to go during our November 1st visit. No one in the park’s office could point out on a trail map exactly where the structure is, but one of the staff marked off a stretch of the Loop Trail and told me that Window Rock is located a short distance off that section of the trail. After trying several side paths and not finding Window Rock, I finally came to one that took me to what I’d been looking for.

That path led to the rock but not initially to the best photographs. The picture above shows how the side of the formation that greeted us was shadowed, given that the sun was in front of us. I got around that difficulty by literally working my way around to the other side for better lighting.

As with the jug-like boulders in the previous post, I spent time portraying
Window Rock from various angles and in different degrees of abstraction.

The view below strongly reminded me of the moai on Easter Island.

And so ends the series of posts devoted to Enchanted Rock.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 7, 2019 at 4:36 AM

Enchanted Rock, part 4

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Artists in general and photographers in particular sometimes like to depict the same person or thing in various ways. The Cubists got excited about showing multiple views of a subject simultaneously, as in Marcel Duchamp’s famous “Nude Descending a Staircase.” At Enchanted Rock on November 1st I took a more-conventional approach, making separate photographs showing different aspects of an intriguing boulder formation that looked like huge jugs or flasks with short hoodoos in lieu of stoppers. The first photograph gives you an overview of the formation.

The second view isolates part of the formation that was central in the first image.

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t include some closer and more-abstract takes on these formations,
the first of which gives you a better look at the orange and yellow lichens on the boulder above.

The two abstractions below continue playing up the rough texture of the weather-sculpted rocks.

You might think you’re looking at the ruins of some ancient civilization in a desert.

The wispy clouds that stayed with us the whole time made for excellent backdrops.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 5, 2019 at 4:47 AM

Enchanted Rock, part 3

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You’ve already seen trees as secondary subjects in the first two parts of this series about Enchanted Rock.

Today’s post plays up some of the dead and dying trees we saw there in abundance on November 1st.

You’ll notice ball moss, Tillandsia recurvata, on many of the branches.

Not a true moss but an epiphyte in the Bromeliad plant family,
ball moss can live quite well even on inanimate objects,
and that fact proves that it isn’t parasitic.

Even in the presence of death, new life arises.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 3, 2019 at 4:45 AM

Enchanted Rock, part 2

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We hadn’t been to Enchanted Rock in years, and on our previous visits we always worked our way to the top of the main dome. That wasn’t the case this time: instead we headed out clockwise along the Loop Trail, which rises and falls modestly as it circles the park’s higher and more prominent geological features.

Boulders of various sizes abound at Enchanted Rock.

In the previous picture and the next one, notice the markings on the rocks.

I played some of the boulders off against the day’s fleecy clouds, as you see below.

The bottom of the picture above hints that you can see interesting things
by looking down. For example, take the textures and white vein in the rock below.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 1, 2019 at 1:46 AM

Enchanted Rock, part 1

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Our goal on November 1st was Enchanted Rock, the largest pink granite monadnock in the United States.
Look at the size of the trees in the first picture to get a sense of how large the dome is.

Enchanted Rock is also home to rougher and more-irregular mounds of rock:

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 29, 2019 at 4:47 AM

Dead trees

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On November 1st we were heading north from Kerrville on TX 16 when I caught a glimpse of a solitary dead tree and went back to check it out. Once there, I looked in the opposite direction and noticed other dead trees that leaned in strange directions. They reminded me of scragglier and therefore pictorially more interesting dead trees that had fascinated me at Mesa Verde in 2014.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 27, 2019 at 4:41 AM

Posted in nature photography

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