Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘abstract

Rhapsody in Blue at the Palladium Hotel

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At Coron in the Philippine province of Palawan we stayed at the Palladium Hotel,
whose design harkens back to buildings on the Greek island of Santorini.

On December 14th, before we left for the airport to fly back to Cebu City,
I tried out compositions that played off the morning’s wispy clouds against the hotel.
Sometimes elements of the hotel became my primary subjects.

Even bubbling water in the swimming pool made for a blue abstraction.

Just thought I’d give you something different for a change.
Actually I’ve been making pictures like these since decades before my emphasis on nature and native plants.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 11, 2020 at 4:24 AM

Still more from Coron’s island-hopping tour on December 13

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© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 9, 2020 at 4:39 AM

Two takes on gulf muhly

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The decorative grass classified botanically as Muhlenbergia capillaris goes by the common names gulf muhly, pink muhly, and hair grass. The last time it appeared in these pages was four years ago. Because 4 is 2 times 2 as well as 2 plus 2 and also 2 to the power 2, and because mathematics is abstract, here are two abstract views of gulf muhly taken outside the Cedar Park Recreation Center on November 18th. The plant in the second, though still, appears to be blowing; thus did the genie in my camera make the static dynamic.

Muhly is short for Muhlenbergia, whose origin the website of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center explains this way: “The genus of this plant is named for Gotthilf Heinrich Ernst Muhlenberg (1753-1815), also Heinrich Ludwig Muehlenberg, or Henry Muhlenberg, who was a German-educated Lutheran minister and the first president of Franklin College, now Franklin and Marshall College, Pennsylvania. He is most famous due to his work in the field of botany. An accomplished botanist, chemist, and mineralogist, Henry is credited with classifying and naming 150 species of plants in his 1785 work Index Flora Lancastriensis. Muhlenberg’s work and collaboration with European botanists led to great advances in the study of plants and earned him the distinction as America’s first outstanding botanist.”

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 28, 2019 at 4:42 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

The change from Tuesday morning to Wednesday morning

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From Monday’s weather forecast I learned that the overnight temperature into Tuesday morning would drop a few degrees below freezing. Sure enough, when I checked the thermometer early Tuesday morning it read 29°. Equally sure enough, that meant I had to dress warmly and go out into the cold for the season’s first possible pictures of frostweed ice. I drove the half-mile to my usual stand of plants (Verbesina virginica) in Great Hills Park and found—nada. Despite the freeze, not a single frostweed plant had produced ice.

On Wednesday morning the thermometer read 32° and I gave the project a second try. This time a couple of dozen frostweed plants had woken up and remembered what they’re supposed to do when the temperature drops to freezing, and they did it, as these two photographs confirm. The second image is more abstract, which I consider a good thing in my quest for different ways to photograph a familiar subject.

If the frostweed ice phenomenon is new to you, you’re welcome to look back at previous posts to learn more.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 14, 2019 at 4:41 AM

The water without the lilies

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The previous post showed you water lilies at the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge on October 6th. One adjacent span of water interested me in its own right because of its rippled surface. Funny, I don’t even remember a breeze, yet without one I couldn’t have recorded this textured abstraction.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 7, 2019 at 4:30 AM

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