Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘abstract

Not strictly a nature picture

with 48 comments

Here’s an abstract and not-strictly-nature picture I made showing algae, curtaining water,
and mineral deposits on a low dam at Berry Springs Park in Georgetown on January 31st.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 18, 2021 at 4:32 AM

Clouds over central Texas on February 4th

with 21 comments

Sometimes we get wispy clouds. Sometimes we get cottony clouds. Sometimes we get both.

The long tradition of referring to the skies as the heavens leads us to a quotation for today: “Can you see yourselves as spiritual beings having a human experience, rather than human beings who may be having a spiritual experience?” — Wayne Dyer, 1988. (A Quote Investigator article discusses the sentence’s origin and variations in its wording.)

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 11, 2021 at 4:45 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , , ,

Palmetto leaf arcs

with 30 comments

I wouldn’t do justice to Palmetto State Park, which we visited on January 29th, without showing you at least one close view of designs in the leaf of a palmetto, Sabal minor.

And here’s a quotation for today from Schiller’s 1801 play Die Jungfrau von Orleans, which is to say The Maiden from Orleans (meaning Joan of Arc):

Unsinn, du siegst und ich muß untergehn!
Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens.

The original doesn’t rhyme but I ended up making a loose modern-day translation that happens to rhyme:

Madness, you’ve won the day and I’ve got to give in!
Against stupidity the gods themselves can’t win.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 10, 2021 at 4:38 AM

Lichens on rocks

with 34 comments

At Palmetto State Park on January 29th I took pictures of colorful lichens on rocks.

And here’s a thought for today:
The sincerity of someone’s delusion doesn’t make it any less a delusion. — S.S.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 8, 2021 at 4:32 AM

Ice is nice, part 4

with 34 comments

Here’s what you learned in part 1: In a shaded part of Great Hills Park on January 12th I discovered that thin sheets of ice had formed close to the ground. Most importantly for my purposes, I found that I could slowly lift up a small section of ice and it would come away in shapes that were irregular yet didn’t break apart. Over and over I did my light lifting, each time facing toward the sun and holding the little panel erect against a background of shaded trees so that backlighting would reveal details in the ice.

In addition to that, I held some of the pieces up higher, against the sky, to make portraits of a different sort, one of which you’re seeing here. Admittedly this is a combination you probably wouldn’t ever find in nature, but the urge to experiment came over me and I yielded.

And here’s a humorous quotation for today: “When a man gits perfektly kontented, he and a clam are fust couzins.” [When a man gets perfectly contented, he and a clam are first cousins.”] — Josh Billings, the pen name for Henry Wheeler Shaw. Wikipedia notes that “Shaw attended Hamilton College, but was expelled in his second year for removing the clapper of the campus bell.”

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 4, 2021 at 4:28 AM

Ice is nice, part 3

with 18 comments

Here’s what you learned in part 1: In a shaded part of Great Hills Park on January 12th I discovered that thin sheets of ice had formed close to the ground. Most importantly for my purposes, I found that I could slowly lift up a small section of ice and it would come away in a piece that was irregularly shaped yet didn’t break apart. Over and over I did my light lifting, each time facing toward the sun and holding the little panel erect against a grove of shaded trees so that backlighting would reveal details in the ice.

In contrast to the monochrome portraits in part 1 and part 2, today’s post offers you a couple of abstractions in which the ice picked up colors from the surroundings. The bottom picture bears impressions of the vegetation the ice ended up lying upon as the water froze. Because it’s hard to see the details at this small scale, I’ve included an excerpt from the second picture that you can click to zoom in on the ice bubbles:

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 2, 2021 at 5:07 AM

Ice is nice, part 2

with 32 comments

Here’s what you heard in part 1: In a shaded part of Great Hills Park on January 12th I discovered that thin sheets of ice had formed close to the ground. Most importantly for my purposes, I found that I could slowly lift up a small section of ice and it would come away in a piece that was irregularly shaped yet didn’t break apart. Over and over I did my light lifting, each time facing toward the sun and holding the little panel erect against a group of shaded trees so that backlighting would reveal details in the ice.

Today’s post offers you a few more monochrome ice abstractions.

Pictures like these seem to lend themselves to pareidolia,
so if you imagine things in them, you’re welcome to say what they suggest.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 31, 2021 at 4:34 AM

Beetle galleries

with 36 comments

While waiting on January 18th for a leaking tire to get dealt with I went for a one-hour walk, a main portion of which took me along Stonelake Blvd. north of Great Hills Trail. The properties lining both sides of the road there are owned by the University of Texas but have never been developed. At one point, only several feet in from the sidewalk I noticed a couple of leaning dead tree trunks whose outer bark had mostly come off and revealed in the phloem, or inner bark, the trails of insects that had lived there.

From an informative article I learned that those trails are known as beetle galleries because the insects that produce them are beetles. Another reason for the term is that the original sense of gallery was architectural, ‘a covered part of a building, commonly in the wings, used as an ambulatory or place for walking,’ and it’s the walking around of the insects that create the trails in the phloem. By a happy coincidence, the main current meaning of gallery also fits the fact that many people consider these designs to be works of art, specifically woodcarvings. To maintain the abstraction I’ve tightly cropped the photographs

I don’t know what local species produced the beetle galleries in these pictures, but you’re welcome to look at some characteristic galleries identified by species.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 30, 2021 at 4:31 AM

Ice is nice, part 1

with 27 comments

So on January 10th we had one of our rare snowfalls, from which you’ve seen a bunch of pictures. You may recall that the temperature hovered near freezing, which meant that some of the snow turned to liquid even as it landed. As the next day wore on, a lot of the snow had melted, much of the ground was visible, and I figured that after five hours of taking pictures on the previous day I wasn’t going to find more to photograph. On January 12th I had second thoughts and wished I’d gone out on the day after the snowfall for another look. With that in mind, even though it was now two days after the snowfall, I headed out again to see if I could find any interesting traces of snow or ice that had managed to survive in shady places—and find some I did.

In one shaded area in Great Hills Park I discovered that thin sheets of ice had formed close to the ground. Most importantly for my purposes, I found that I could slowly lift up a small section of ice and it would come away in a piece that was irregularly shaped yet didn’t break apart. Over and over I did my light lifting, each time facing toward the sun and holding the little panel erect against a background of shaded trees so that backlighting would reveal details in the ice. The arcs in the lower part of the first photograph are impressions that the ice had picked up from plant parts beneath it. In the second photograph, sunlight passing through a liquifying bit of ice created a sunburst. Do you see it? It’s hard to appreciate at this small picture size but you can click the thumbnail below for a closer look and for the revelation that the starburst, like many stars that astronomers find, is actually twins. The enlargement also reveals smaller starbursts.

And here’s an unrelated quotation for today:
“One man who stopped lying could bring down a tyranny.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 29, 2021 at 4:31 AM

Snow on bare stalks: horizontal and vertical formats

with 15 comments

Back to the January 10th snowfall in the northeast quadrant of Mopac and US 183.
The stalks below were Maximilian sunflowers, Helianthus maximiliani.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 23, 2021 at 4:36 AM

%d bloggers like this: