Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘abstraction

Rain-lilies in autumn

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On October 19th I drove to Pease Park for an ecologically oriented walking tour. As soon as I parked I noticed some rain-lilies, Cooperia drummondii, by the edge of the road, and because I was a bit early for the walk I had the chance to get down and make some portraits. Here’s one that shows a colorful flower:

While wandering west of Morado Circle three days later I found fresh rain-lilies still coming up.
The one shown below lacked the magenta that increases as the flower ages.
Click each photograph for greater detail.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 21, 2019 at 4:42 AM

Falling into abstraction

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On July 25th in Niagara Falls, Ontario, I took many pictures—hardly surprising for one of the world’s natural wonders. Back in Texas a few weeks later I sorted through the photographs, seeing for the first time in detail what I’d managed to capture. In the images for which I’d used a telephoto lens zoomed to its maximum length of 400mm, clouds of spray had often masked details, pushing some of the photographs toward and into abstraction. Pictures like the one below reminded me of seascapes by the English painter J.M.W. Turner.

Notice that unlike the pictures in the introductory Niagara Falls post a few days ago, these are strictly nature photographs and show no people or human elements at all.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 27, 2019 at 3:55 AM

Lucifer Falls

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I can’t remember if I’d ever heard of Robert H. Treman State Park in the southern part of New York State’s Finger Lakes region before I did research for our summer trip. When we visited on the morning of August 1st I concentrated on the upper (western) end of the park and skipped the lower part, given that we were expected down near New York City later in the day. At Treman we encountered other hikers, but nothing like the crowds we’d run into at Letchworth State Park and Watkins Glen State Park.

The main attraction in the upper section of Treman State Park is the 115-feet-tall Lucifer Falls, shown above as I photographed it at 1/2500 of a second and a focal length of 85mm. Then I switched to my telephoto and zoomed to the maximum 400mm to record details in the falling and splashing water, again at 1/2500 of a second. Notice how sunlight refracting through the spray created pleasing pastel colors. You can use the slightly curved light-colored “bar” in the lower right corner of the second picture to match up to the same feature about a fifth of the way up from the center of the bottom in the first picture.

I also used the maximum 400mm reach of my telephoto to portray a closed lily (perhaps a Canada lily, Lilium canadense) that I noticed leaning out into the gorge. I chose a position that let me line up the lily with the waterfall; apparently the flower reflected a lot more light than the farther-away falls, given the way that the water turned into what looks like a faint cloud floating in darkness.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 26, 2019 at 4:41 AM

White prickly poppy center

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Here’s a close and downward look at Argemone albiflora, the white prickly poppy. Notice the crowd of yellow stamens invariably paying homage to the red-topped pistil that rises above them in the center of the flower. This photograph is from Great Hills Park on April 23, 2013, five years ago today. I’d planned to show the picture soon afterward but put the post aside and only recently rediscovered it. Better late than never.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 23, 2018 at 4:47 AM

New Zealand: Rainbow Falls

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A year ago today we visited Rainbow Falls outside the town of Kerikeri in New Zealand’s Northland. The falls were welcome, coming as they did so early in the trip. That said, we saw more impressive ones later, especially on the South Island.

I’d been away from New Zealand’s giant ferns for 23 months, so the leaf of a large fern adjacent to Rainbow Falls, shown below, appealed to me at least as much as the waterfall and provided a chance for a geometric abstraction.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 8, 2018 at 4:52 AM

Frostweed ice: toward abstraction

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The extrusion of ice by frostweed (Verbesina virginica) is a great natural phenomenon. Austin’s temperature stayed mostly below freezing from the morning of January 1st, when I went down to Great Hills Park to take my first photographs of the new year, through this morning, when I returned for a second round of frostweed pictures, even more than two days earlier. Frostweed ice offers an opportunity for photographic abstractions, and that’s what you’re seeing here. Unlike the picture you saw last time, which involved flash, today’s images were made by natural light, which necessitated wider apertures that produced a softer feel.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 3, 2018 at 6:00 PM

A different point of view

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As you heard last time, late in the afternoon on October 21st we stopped in far northern Arizona at the Navajo Bridge over the Colorado River. I’d never heard of the bridge, which I found out was built way back in 1927-28. Its arch measures 616 ft., its total length 834 ft., and its height above the river 467 ft. In 1995 a new, stronger bridge was inaugurated parallel to the old one, which has remained open for foot and bicycle traffic. It’s a good place for a photographer to walk out to get an unobstructed look at the river and both sides of its canyon, as you see above. More interesting artistically, at least to me, is the abstract view from the middle of the bridge looking mostly down at one side of the gorge and the adjacent part of the river:

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© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 12, 2016 at 4:47 AM

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