Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Some colorful geology on a small scale

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Nothing in Austin is going to compare to the Badlands of South Dakota. Sorry, Austin, that’s just how it is. Still, we have some much smaller geological formations here that warrant a look. One is a long limestone slab that arches up and then out over a creek in my Great Hills neighborhood. Historically, of course, aeons of water flowing through the creek eroded the limestone to create the overhang. The back wall, which I don’t think ever gets direct sunlight, stays rather dark even during the brightest part of the day. When I went there on June 29th, I stood facing the wall and used flash to reveal the colors and patterns of the always damp and sometimes wet stone.

No more than a hundred feet to the right of the formations shown here are the mud dauber wasp tubes some of you may remember from five years ago. Two years after that, I showed something that wasn’t a tuft of hair on the underside of the overhang.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 9, 2017 at 4:54 AM

The colorful Badlands

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Okay, so I’ve been holding out on you when it comes to the best color I saw in the Badlands of South Dakota on May 31st.

Well-travelled Austin photographer Rick Capozza explained the colors to me: “White layers are volcanic ash or tuff as they call it in Big Bend. Tan and gray are sand and gravel. Red and orange are iron oxide deposits, primarily ferric oxide. Purple shale colors represent manganese deposits and yellow layers are ferrous sulfate.”

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 8, 2017 at 4:48 AM

That snow and ice I mentioned last time

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Yup, still plenty of cold white stuff at the higher elevations in Rocky Mountain National Park on June 5th. The two-lane road through the park was clear and dry, but in one place I caught sight of a parked snow plow, and piled up in several other places right along the road I saw walls of white that I assume arose from the work the plow had done some days earlier. Striations don’t come from geology alone.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 7, 2017 at 4:41 AM

That stream I mentioned

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Oh yeah, here’s the rushing stream I mentioned yesterday, the one we saw on June 5th near the aspen grove along US 40 in the Rocky Mountains. My guess is that some or even a lot of the water was due to melting ice and snow from the surrounding mountains.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 6, 2017 at 4:55 AM

Pale tree trunks in the Rocky Mountains

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On June 5th we were driving north on US 40 toward Rocky Mountain National Park when I pulled over to photograph a rushing mountain stream. Adjacent to it was this grove of trees, presumably aspens (Populus tremuloides), that made for a pleasant sight.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 5, 2017 at 5:00 AM

Six minutes later

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I’m sending out this post six minutes after the previous one to show you how the clouds looked six minutes later above Morrison, Colorado, on June 4th. I took this follow-up picture at 8:34 PM Mountain Daylight Saving Time.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 4, 2017 at 4:50 AM

Just after sundown on June 4th

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Just after the sun had gone down on June 4th behind the mountains to the west of Morrison, Colorado, I hurried to find a place where I could pull over and photograph this colorful blimp of a cloud.* The time was 8:28 PM Mountain Daylight Saving Time.

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* I originally wrote “this colorful cloud zeppelin.” Then I changed it to “this colorful cloud blimp.” Later I wondered if it should be “this colorful blimp cloud.” Finally I hit upon the happy solution “this colorful blimp of a cloud.” Now if I could just figure out how many angels can dance on the head of a pin….

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 4, 2017 at 4:44 AM

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