Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘abstract

A world all its own

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Click to enlarge and see more details.

For several weeks I’d been noticing webworm (Hyphantria cunea) webs at the tips of tree branches. On the morning of June 25th, after the previous day’s rain, I was walking along an overgrown path in the southeast extension of St. Edward’s Park when I encountered a webworm web still covered with raindrops. I got in close to record the fantasy world. I don’t recall ever before taking a picture like this one. Happy new.

If you’re interested in the craft of photography, points 1 and 15 in About My Techniques apply to this picture.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 18, 2019 at 4:44 AM

Shimmering light

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One stretch of a Bull Creek tributary in my neighborhood flows beneath a limestone overhang. There are times when morning light filters through the trees, reflects off the surface of the water, and shimmers on the limestone wall of the overhang. July 8th at 9:04 was one of those times.

For the photographically curious: I took these pictures with a simple old 50mm lens wide open at f/1.4. Understandably, given the optics and the flowstoned face of the rocky overhang, not everything came out sharp, but somehow that hasn’t bothered me.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 16, 2019 at 4:46 AM

Stone Bridge Falls

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Monday night it rained. Tuesday morning I followed the Smith Memorial Trail to Stone Bridge Falls on Bull Creek, hoping the rain would have invigorated the waterfall. It had, as you see in the scene-setting first photo.

Me being me, I experimented with portraying the falls in different ways.
One approach was to use a slow shutter speed (1/13 of a second) to create silky water:

But more often than not I stayed with high shutter speeds, as is my wont.
Along with that, some of the time I leaned toward abstraction, as I’m also inclined to do:

At times I also used my camera’s burst mode to take high-shutter-speed photographs in quick succession. The point was to document how much the water changed in very short intervals. The following consecutive closeups are all time-stamped 9:10:17, meaning that they were recorded in less than one second; each lasted just 1/2500 of a second. I think you’ll agree that it’s easy to spot some changes. For example, one difference is the prominent oval over on the right side of the middle image, which hadn’t fully closed in the first image and which had disappeared by the time of the third picture.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 10, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Ogunquit

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A year ago today we spent time inside the Ogunquit Museum of Art
in the town of the same name on the Maine coast.

Afterwards I clambered about behind the museum taking pictures of the rocks and tidal pools.

I never posted any of those photographs in 2018, so to make amends I’m showing you a few now.

As always, patterns and textures beckoned. So did colors, whether muted or bright.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 11, 2019 at 4:52 AM

Organic and inorganic

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At Southwest Harbor in Acadia National Park on June 10, 2018, I photographed things organic and inorganic.

Jackson Pollock‘s got nothing on me:

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 10, 2019 at 4:37 AM

Wild onions along Bull Creek

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The last post brought you a picture of a long-jawed orbweaver spider on the stalk of a wild onion, Allium canadense var. canadense, along Bull Creek on April 26th. It occurred to me that I should show you one of the flowering wild onion plants in its own right. How about that looping greenery?

Wild onion leaves are even more elongated than long-jawed orbweaver spiders: hardly wider than a quarter of an inch (7mm) yet as long as 18 inches (46 cm). Below is an abstract take on one of those linear leaves that had yellowed and browned. I don’t remember, may never have known, what created the faint orb below the leaf’s tip. Whatever it was, we can see it as a planet floating in the deep blue and black of cosmic night.

 

And now Pascal, the thinker, the mathematician, comes to mind: “Le silence éternel des ces espaces infinis m’effraie.” “The eternal silence of those infinite spaces frightens me.” That famous line is at the end of this passage from his Pensées, his Thoughts:

 

“Quand je considère la petite durée de la vie, absorbée dans l’éternité précédente et suivante, le petit espace que je remplis, et même que je vois, abîmé dans l’infinie immensité des espaces que j’ignore et qui m’ignorent, je m’effraie et m’étonne de me voir ici plutôt que là, pourquoi à présent plutôt que lors. Qui m’y a mis? Par l’ordre et la conduite de qui ce lieu et ce temps a-t-il été destiné à moi? Memoria hospitis unius diei praetereuntis.

“Pourquoi ma connaissance est-elle bornée? Ma taille? Ma durée à cent ans plutôt qu’à mille ? Quelle raison a eue la nature de me la donner telle, et de choisir ce nombre plutôt qu’un autre, dans l’infinité desquels il n’y a pas plus de raison de choisir l’un que l’autre, rien ne tentant plus que l’autre?

“Combien de royaumes nous ignorent!

“Le silence éternel de ces espaces infinis m’effraie.”

 

“When I consider the shortness of a lifetime, absorbed as it is into the eternity that comes before it and the one that comes after it, the tiny space I take up, and yet that I can see, lost in the infinite immensity of those spaces I know nothing about and that know nothing about me, then I get frightened and bewildered at finding myself here rather than there, and I wonder why now and not some other time. Who put me here? By whose order and whose actions was this place and time destined for me? Memoria hospitis unius diei praetereuntis. (Pascal is quoting from The Book of Wisdom: “The remembrance of a guest of a single day that passes away.”)

“Why is my consciousness limited? My size? The length of my life a hundred years rather than a thousand? What was nature’s reason for making my life like this, and for choosing this number instead of another one, in the infinity of numbers for which there’s no reason to pick one over another, given that none has any more appeal than any other?

“How many realms know nothing about us!”

“The eternal silence of those infinite spaces frightens me.”

 

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 25, 2019 at 4:40 AM

Two takes on Texas thistles

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Cirsium texanum; Waters Park Rd. on May 5th.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 20, 2019 at 4:50 PM

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