Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘bark

Portraits from our yard: episode 7

with 27 comments

Ashe juniper trees (Juniperus ashei) grow on all four sides of our house. What appealed to me about the one in our back yard shown above on July 22nd was the way two Virginia creeper vines (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) have flanked the trunk this year. That let me make a vertical “sandwich” of green-brown-green that thoroughly filled the frame. On the technical side, let me add that I took the picture from a distance and used my macro lens as a regular 100mm lens for a change. Below is an Ashe juniper in our front yard whose corrugated trunk always gets my attention. It, too, nicely fills a frame, with the corrugations offering countervailing horizontal elements to the predominant verticality of the image.


◊       ◊

And speaking of verticality, we hear a lot from activists about “white privilege,” but those ideologues are whitewashing the real problem: it’s not white privilege but height privilege. Tall people can reach things from high shelves without needing a stepladder. Tall people can see over the heads of others in crowds and theaters and stadiums. Tall people get to be on basketball teams. Getting the short end of the stick are non-tall men. According to an article on more.com,”a study… published in the Journal of Applied Psychology revealed that in the U.S., a six-foot-tall man makes an average of $790 more per year than his shorter peers do.” Women on average have a preference for taller men. Psychology Today reported on a study showing that “Men were most satisfied with women slightly shorter than them (about 3 in.), but women were most satisfied when they were much shorter than their male partners (about 8 in.)” On and on it goes, and it’s a real downer.

As an American man only 5’5″ tall, I get short shrift every minute of my life from a society poisoned by systemic heightism and toxic tallicity. According to an online height percentile calculator, I’m in the 8th percentile of American men, so I should have to pay only 8% of all the taxes I’m subject to. It’s also clear that reparations are owed me. I don’t want to seem vengeful, so it could be something as modest as $1,000,000 for each year I’ve endured the degradation of being short. More generally, every public institution should have a safe space with a low entrance and a low ceiling where no tall people are allowed to enter. A “bigger warning” should be posted everywhere I’m likely to encounter tall people. Whenever I’m waiting in line, all taller people ahead of me should have to relinquish their places and go to the end of the line (Get thee behind me, Satan!). Tall people who sell short on the stock market are committing altitudinal appropriation; only short people should be allowed to sell stock that way. People who use the s-word in saying horrific things like “I’m short on cash” or “When I was asked for an answer I came up short” or “I suffer from shortness of breath” should immediately lose their jobs, be banned from all social media, and have to abase themselves by undergoing height-sensitivity training on their hands and knees. It’s high time society stops selling short people short!

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 7, 2021 at 4:37 AM

More than rocks at Hopewell Rocks

with 28 comments

As impressive as the rock formations are at New Brunswick’s Hopewell Rocks, on the trail down from the parking lot to the shore I had to stop and photograph some trees with peeling bark, presumably birches.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 15, 2018 at 4:38 AM

New Zealand: Manginangina

with 37 comments

A year ago today in New Zealand’s Northland we visited the Manginangina Scenic Reserve, which is a good place to see the native bush that once covered much of the country.

Behold the distinctive branches of a young rimu tree (Dacrydium cupressinum):

As a photographer fond of abstractions, I particularly enjoyed the self- and lichen-mottled bark of a kauri tree (Agathis australis).

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 15, 2018 at 4:46 AM

New Zealand: kauri bark

with 19 comments

You’ve already seen a picture from February 12 showing Tāne Mahuta, the largest known extant kauri tree, Agathis australis. Three days later we visited the Manginangina Kauri Reserve northwest of Kerikeri. In spite of intermittent rain, we walked the [p]reserve’s path, where I made various pictures, including this abstract portrait of kauri bark.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 2, 2017 at 5:01 AM

Arizona sycamore

with 21 comments

arizona-sycamore-tree-2527

While visiting Montezuma Castle on October 18th last year I learned that there’s such a thing as an Arizona sycamore tree, Platanus wrightii. Like the better-known American sycamore, Platanus occidentalis, this one has bark that peels to reveal trunk and branches that shine white in the light of the sun, especially from a distance. A closer look, like the one below, reveals patterns and details.

arizona-sycamore-trunk-and-shadows-2540

Click to enlarge.


I’m still halfway around the world. You’re welcome to comment but I may be slow to reply. I’m sorry I also haven’t been able to keep up with your blogs.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 20, 2017 at 5:12 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , ,

Alligators in arid Trans-Pecos Texas?

with 9 comments

Alligator Juniper 9649

Okay, not real alligators, but alligator junipers, Juniperus deppeana, whose rough and patchy bark reminded people—probably people who came from the bayou country in far east Texas—of the skins of those reptiles. I photographed some of those atypically barked junipers on November 20th along TX 118 in the mountains northwest of Fort Davis. The picture below even gives the alligator an eye (and also puts an end, I think, I hope, to the recent spate of zoomorphic and anthropomorphic images).

Alligator Juniper Trunk Detail 9653

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 17, 2015 at 5:39 AM

Poison ivy vine on a rough-barked tree

with 30 comments

Poison Ivy Vine with Rootlets on Rough Bark 6266

This vine that put out rootlets to attach itself to the tree it has climbed is poison ivy, Toxicodendron radicans. In conjunction with those rootlets I like the texture of the tree’s rough bark finely covered with lichen, but at the same time I recognize that few people like anything having to do with the dread poison ivy.

Today’s photograph is from September 19th in Great Hills Park.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 29, 2015 at 4:56 AM

New Zealand: Whitey wood

with 16 comments

Whitey Wood Trunks 3890

Now that you’ve had some more glimpses of Texas in the early spring, let me go back to New Zealand with another set of photographs from my summer (in the Southern Hemisphere) trip there. You’ve gotta hand it to a country that so sensibly calls its north island North Island, its south island South Island, and its tree with white bark whitey wood, known natively as māhoe and scientifically as Melicytus ramiflorus. I photographed this answer to America’s birches and sycamores on February 8th at Tiritiri Matangi.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 3, 2015 at 5:03 AM

Kauri

with 41 comments

The McKinney Kauri 3386

One of Aotearoa’s rākau rangatira, or chiefly trees, is the kauri, Agathis australis, which can grow to be more than 30 meters tall. Shown here on February 6th in the Parry Kauri Park in Warkworth on New Zealand’s North Island is a portion of the so-called McKinney kauri, which is more than 800 years old, and which you can read more about. Notice the flaking bark that characterizes mature kauris, and that in this case looks like plaques of lichen.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 24, 2015 at 5:31 AM

%d bloggers like this: