Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘creek

Downstream

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Downstream from the places you saw a couple of posts ago, the main creek flows out of Great Hills Park
and wanders through a golf course. Near Rain Creek Parkway, that stretch of the creek is bordered
by switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), which by January 25th had done a pretty job of drying out.

Here’s a closer view of the switchgrass on the other side of the creek.

Across the road some sycamores (Platanus occidentalis)
also wore their winter look. Notice the many hanging seed globes.

When I drove past there yesterday I found that all the switchgrass
on both sides of the creek had just been cut back to the ground.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 7, 2019 at 4:05 AM

Creek views from Great Hills Park on January 24th

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Southern maidenhair ferns, Adiantum capillus-veneris, greened up a panel of creekside wall.

Mustang grape vines, Vitis mustangensis, hung near the shallow waterfall at what’s called the fish pool.

In the southern part of the park a whale of a gravel bar in the main creek conjured up Moby Dick.

After I walked to the gravel bar and looked back, these reflections waved my way.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 2, 2019 at 4:37 AM

The effects of a good rain

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Steve Gingold recently showed some Massachusetts waterfall photographs, so I thought I’d follow suit. What made that possible down here in Austin was the cooperation of nature on the night of December 26th, which gave us several hours of lightning and thunder plus the 3 2/3 inches of rain that fell onto my part of town. The next morning, eager to see what effect the rain had had, I went straight to one of the two good waterfalls I know in this area, the one on a tributary of Bull Creek along Spicewood Springs Rd. near the Capital of Texas Highway. The resulting photographs differed from a couple of others I’ve shown of this place over the years because the sky had completely cleared and the sun was high enough to cast tree shadows on the waterfall.

Isolated froth at the base of the falls off to the right undulated somewhat with the flowing water, but not so much that I didn’t try taking half a dozen pictures of it with the camera set at the same 1/1250 of a second shutter speed I’d used to stop the action in the first photograph.

Even with a high ISO of 2000, such a quick shutter speed required a broad aperture of f/4, so to maximize what I could get in focus I leaned over and aimed straight down. What I didn’t realize while still at the waterfall is that aiming vertically created in the bubbles a lot of little images of me with my upraised camera. If you’d care for a much closer look at the bubbles and my inadvertent self-portraits, you’re welcome to click below.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 30, 2018 at 4:55 PM

A different view along Bull Creek

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The morning of December 19th followed that of the 18th by also coming up misty and with barely any breeze, so out I went for the second morning in a row to take pictures. This time I wandered along trails a few miles from home in the part of the Lower Bull Creek Greenbelt accessed from Winding Ridge Boulevard (a short, straight, narrow road that doesn’t wind along a ridge and isn’t a boulevard). While Austin is hardly known as a scenic nature destination, some places here surprise visitors with their attractiveness, and this is one of them.

The creek itself looked greener that morning than I remembered it, perhaps a consequence of the overcast skies that also kept the bright white band of rock from blowing out the photograph’s highlights. The rock layers are limestone, as I presume is the boulder, a much closer view of which you’ll find below. The Ashe juniper (Juniperus ashei) tree to the left of the boulder in the top photo appears brownish due to myriad tiny cones that are about to release the airborne pollen that afflicts on many people something called cedar fever—cedar being the colloquial misnomer for this juniper, and fever being the colloquial misnomer for the strong allergic reaction that nevertheless doesn’t cause any fever.

Oh, did I mention that Bull Creek looked green?

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 21, 2018 at 4:37 AM

Ways of flowing

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On October 22nd, right by where Bull Creek crosses under Old Spicewood Springs Rd. at flood gauge #6, I experimented with pictures of the patterns the current was making as it flowed over rocks. Below are two adjacent frames of the same place showing you what a difference 61/375 of a second makes.

That unfamiliar fraction—yes, I’ve taken the liberty of assuming you’ve never seen it before—is the difference between the 1/6 of a second at which I made the first version and the 1/250 of a second at which I made the other one. If you have a preference, here’s your chance to speak up and say why you favor the version you do.

Speaking of ways of flowing, not far south of that creek crossing some rain-emboldened water made its way down an embankment on the east side of Spicewood Springs Rd. I recorded it at 1/400 of a second:

And here for comparison is a horizontal take from a little farther left at 1/5 of a second:

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 31, 2018 at 4:44 AM

Signs of autumn

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On October 22nd I went to a favorite area along the upper stretch of Bull Creek to see what changes several weeks of rain and our recent record cool weather had worked on the land. In the first picture below, notice how the young bald cypress tree (Taxodium distichum) at the creek’s edge was turning brown, as that species regularly does toward the end of the year. Also notice—as if you could miss it—the way the upper part of the dead tree trunk had almost completely changed direction but still hadn’t fallen.

When I walked around and got close to the bald cypress tree, I found a native vine growing on it that I don’t remember ever having seen before: Smilax tamnoides (formerly S. hispida) known as bristly greenbrier and, imaginatively, hellfetter. Close to it I also noticed a “regular” greenbrier vine, Smilax bona-nox, which is very common in central Texas, so common that I almost never go walking in the woods without seeing one (and even having its thorns grab onto my clothing). Happy new species for me, and probably now also for thee.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 26, 2018 at 4:48 AM

No flowers, buds, plants, grasses, trees, seeds, or bugs

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Bubbles at Base of Small Waterfall in Creek 7986

Doesn’t this flowing water at the base of a small waterfall in Great Hills Park on July 18, 2014, look like ice?

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 18, 2018 at 4:43 AM

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