Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘art

Things that stick up

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And now finally back to the last part of our 12-day western trip in October.

After spending several hours at the Pecos National Historic Park on October 10th we continued on our way back to Texas. Along Interstate 25 south of Las Vegas (New Mexico) I pulled over to photograph the prominent butte shown above. Hours later, as we approached Amarillo (Texas) I made sure to stop at the famous Cadillac Ranch, which isn’t a ranch at all but an art installation in which wealthy Texan Stanley Marsh and a group of “art-hippies” who called themselves The Ant Farm half-buried 10 Cadillacs nose-down in a field along US 66 (Interstate 40) in 1974. In the decades since then the cars have been much vandalized—or in modern jargon, repurposed. As Roadside America explains: 


Yet Cadillac Ranch is more popular than ever. It’s become a ritual site for those who travel The Mother Road. The smell of spray paint hits you from a hundred yards away; the sound of voices chattering in French, German, and UK English makes this one of the most polyglot places between the UN and Las Vegas.



Sure enough, when we arrived there shortly before 6 o’clock in the afternoon we found plenty of people at the site, many of whom wielded cans of spray paint to add their personal touches to Cadillac Ranch. What with a breeze blowing, I sometimes found it hard to approach the cars without worrying about breathing paint or getting some on my camera. Still, with perseverance I managed to take my pictures.  



So many successive layers of spray paint have been added over the years that they’ve created a whole topography on the once-smooth surfaces of the cars.



 In the final picture you can imagine the skin of a super-colorful reptile.



Note. While I was taking my pictures a small bird briefly landed on one of the Cadillacs. Thinking I might show that photograph, I e-mailed Shannon Westveer to see if I’d caught enough detail for her to identify the bird. She wrote back that it was an invasive European house sparrow. That led me to refrain from showing the picture because I don’t show photographs of species I know aren’t native. Shannon felt I should still show it as “outreach to the public on this species, i.e. why we should take down yard feeders if they are using them, to keep a keen eye out on bluebird boxes and martin houses, etc. We brought them here, they’re doing quite well in our built environment, and it’s on us to not make it even easier for them.” She included a link to an educational Texas Parks and Wildlife article, which I am including here.


© 2023 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 3, 2023 at 4:33 AM

Two insights

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1) “Third-graders who spend a class session in a natural outdoor setting are more engaged and less distracted in their regular classroom afterward than when they remain indoors, scientists found in a new study.” You’re welcome to read more about the study.

2) For those of you in the Austin area, you’d do well to check out the Blanton Museum’s exhibit called “Ancestral Modern,” which features Aboriginal Australian paintings. The show will remain up through September 9th. As a sample, here’s a painting by Rosie Nangala Fleming called “Three Dreamings: Fire, Mulga Seed, and Emu,” from 1993.

Click to enlarge.


Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 3, 2018 at 4:44 AM

Posted in nature photography

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New Zealand update

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On August 13th, the New Zealand Consulate in Los Angeles featured 11 of my photographs on its Facebook page.

Now that I’m talking about New Zealand again, how could I not add one more picture? And since this is a different sort of post from the usual one, why not let that picture be out of the norm as well? What’s different is the human element: you’re looking at one of the sculptures I saw on the beach at Hokitika, which is on the west coast of the South Island. It seems that every January there’s a Driftwood & Sand Sculpture Exhibition, so when when we walked on the beach there late on the afternoon of February 16th, many of the pieces were still intact. The one shown here had a sign on it saying “Photo Booth,” but I took its picture rather than having it take mine.

Hokitika Wood Scuplture at Sunset 4959

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 16, 2015 at 5:33 AM


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After the recent posts with nature photographs from Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque, a couple of people asked to see pictures of petroglyphs, so here goes. The first photograph is from September 23rd; the flowers at the base of the rock are broom snakeweed.

Petroglyph with Broom Snakeweed 0273

This second picture is also from the Boca Negra Canyon section of Petroglyph National Monument on September 23rd. This time the plant at the lower right is a four-wing saltbush, Atriplex canescens.

Petroglyphs with Four-Wing Saltbush 0283

And here are some petroglyphs from September 30th at the Deer Valley Rock Art Center in northwest Phoenix. Note in the lower right what appear to be two male deer.

Deer Valley Petroglyphs 2152

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 9, 2014 at 5:29 AM

A different sort of tree

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"Yield" Tree Sculpture 8700

Click for greater clarity.

Outside the upper entrance to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, is a sculpture by Roxy Paine entitled “Yield,” which yields a nice contrast with the real trees beyond it, some of which were changing colors on November 9th.

If you’d like to read an entertaining account of another Texas blogger’s recent visit to Crystal Bridges, I encourage you to check out A Museum Bridges the Gaps.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 2, 2013 at 6:05 AM

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