Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘black and white

Ice is nice, part 2

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Here’s what you heard in part 1: In a shaded part of Great Hills Park on January 12th I discovered that thin sheets of ice had formed close to the ground. Most importantly for my purposes, I found that I could slowly lift up a small section of ice and it would come away in a piece that was irregularly shaped yet didn’t break apart. Over and over I did my light lifting, each time facing toward the sun and holding the little panel erect against a group of shaded trees so that backlighting would reveal details in the ice.

Today’s post offers you a few more monochrome ice abstractions.

Pictures like these seem to lend themselves to pareidolia,
so if you imagine things in them, you’re welcome to say what they suggest.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 31, 2021 at 4:34 AM

Ice is nice, part 1

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So on January 10th we had one of our rare snowfalls, from which you’ve seen a bunch of pictures. You may recall that the temperature hovered near freezing, which meant that some of the snow turned to liquid even as it landed. As the next day wore on, a lot of the snow had melted, much of the ground was visible, and I figured that after five hours of taking pictures on the previous day I wasn’t going to find more to photograph. On January 12th I had second thoughts and wished I’d gone out on the day after the snowfall for another look. With that in mind, even though it was now two days after the snowfall, I headed out again to see if I could find any interesting traces of snow or ice that had managed to survive in shady places—and find some I did.

In one shaded area in Great Hills Park I discovered that thin sheets of ice had formed close to the ground. Most importantly for my purposes, I found that I could slowly lift up a small section of ice and it would come away in a piece that was irregularly shaped yet didn’t break apart. Over and over I did my light lifting, each time facing toward the sun and holding the little panel erect against a background of shaded trees so that backlighting would reveal details in the ice. The arcs in the lower part of the first photograph are impressions that the ice had picked up from plant parts beneath it. In the second photograph, sunlight passing through a liquifying bit of ice created a sunburst. Do you see it? It’s hard to appreciate at this small picture size but you can click the thumbnail below for a closer look and for the revelation that the starburst, like many stars that astronomers find, is actually twins. The enlargement also reveals smaller starbursts.

And here’s an unrelated quotation for today:
“One man who stopped lying could bring down a tyranny.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 29, 2021 at 4:31 AM

Monochrome Monday and more

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For decades I took pictures using black and white film. Now I’m enamored of color and rarely convert any digital files to black and white. Something about this picture enticed me to try that, though, and above is the result. Coincidentally, it’s similar to the effects of the black and white infrared film I was fond of in the late 1970s and early 1980s. What you see below is another possibility when converting a digital file: reducing the color partially rather than entirely.

You may want to compare these to the original color photograph that debuted here last month.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 21, 2020 at 4:37 AM

3-D

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Here’s something different: a stereo* pair I took at a quarry in Cedar Park on September 14, 1980—40 years ago today! To see the image in 3-D, I suggest you get about 15 inches away from the screen and line each eye up with the matching half of the pair. Look straight ahead, then relax your eyes. Once you get used to things, the left half should drift a bit to the left, the right half a bit to the right, and in between them should appear a fused image of the two halves. If you manage to discern that middle image, your brain will interpret it as 3-D and you’ll see the big slab and the boulders behind it as having depth; the cloud was too far away from the foreground to have any depth. People’s vision varies enormously, so to get 3-D you may have to enlarge or shrink the images on your screen, or view the screen from closer or farther away, or put on or take off glasses, or drink a magic potion. Whatever you do, don’t close one eye; it takes two eyes to see 3-D, which is why we have two eyes. (People who have lost the sight of one eye or close one eye retain their sense of how things look in the physical world and may imagine they’re still seeing in 3-D, but they aren’t.)

Here’s a related fact for today: well-known movies filmed in 3-D include “House of Wax” (1953), “Kiss Me Kate” (1953), “It Came from Outer Space (1953), “Creature from the Black Lagoon” (1954), and “Dial M for Murder” (1954).

* We’ve grown up with the word stereo referring to music played through two speakers. More than a century before scientists applied the term to sound, though, they applied it to sight. The Greek original meant ‘solid,’ and solidity, i.e. three-dimensionality, is what a photographic stereo pair conveys.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 14, 2020 at 4:31 AM

The past

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Mayan ruins, Copán, Honduras, 1978

“What’s past is prologue.” — Shakespeare, The Tempest, 1611.

“The best prophet of the future is the past.” — Byron, in a letter, 1821.

“Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” — Santayana, The Life of Reason, 1905.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 23, 2017 at 5:03 AM

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