Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘geology

From Nambé to Chimayó

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On October 18th at Nambé Pueblo I had a great time photographing the hoodoos and other formations. Then, as we continued north-northeast on Highway 503, which forms a portion of the High Road to Taos Scenic Byway, to reach Chimayó about 10 miles away, we kept seeing more parts of the Nambé badlands that deserved to pictured.

 

 

You’re seeing two of those pictures here. And who could resist the clouds
over the snow-covered Sangre de Cristo mountains off to the east?

 

 

  

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman

 

 

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 3, 2022 at 4:30 AM

More from Nambé Pueblo

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On October 18th at Nambé Pueblo I had a great time photographing the badlands. Today’s first two pictures provide closer looks at hoodoos on opposite sides of the panorama that set the scene two posts back. The patch of yellow at the edge of the second picture was a cottonwood tree, Populus deltoides subsp. wislizenii

 

 

And here’s a clear shot of the hoodoo that previously appeared behind trees:

 

 

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman

 

 

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 2, 2022 at 4:34 AM

Nambé Pueblo

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On October 18th we happily turned in toward Nambé Pueblo and its intriguing geological formations. As much as I would have liked to get close to them, they were on fenced-off tribal land, so I got as near as I could from the closest roads and zoomed in with my 100–400mm lens.

 

 

In the top picture, two cottonwood trees, Populus deltoides subsp. wislizenii, had turned yellow. (Click to enlarge the panorama.) I eventually managed clear shots of the hoodoo in the last picture but I still like the view of it hiding behind trees.

 

  

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A November 13th commentary discussed the way people add an unnecessary qualifier to a word. Here’s another example. News is called news because it’s new. In spite of that, news announcers on television now almost always call it breaking news. News flash: if it weren’t breaking it wouldn’t be news, so drop the breaking and just call it news.

 

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman

 

 

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 30, 2022 at 4:27 AM

Closing the window

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As the post two days ago showed, after stopping at a bunch of scenic places on October 14th we finally arrived at the natural stone arch called La Ventana, which means ‘the window’ in Spanish. Though tired out from hours and hours of driving, hiking, and photographing, after “closing the window” I still made some more stops on the 90-mile trip back to Albuquerque.

 

 

The first three pictures are from along New Mexico Highway 117.

 

 

The last two show mesas at around mile marker 122 on Interstate 40.

 

 

I made a single stop and aimed in opposite directions.

 

  

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman

 

 

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 16, 2022 at 4:35 AM

Finally La Ventana

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After spending hours stopping a bunch of times on October 14th at scenic spots along Interstate 40 and then New Mexico 117, we finally arrived at our ostensible destination 90 miles west of Albuquerque: a natural stone arch called La Ventana, which means ‘the window’ in Spanish.* From the size of the trees at the bottom of the first photograph, you can get a feel for how tall the arch is. The massive stone looming to the left of the arch is imposing in its own right:

 

 

A more-colorful cliff flanking La Ventana on the opposite side also impressed me:

 

  

* The Spanish word for ‘window,’ ventana, developed from the Latin word for ‘wind,’ ventus.
English window comes from Old Norse vindauga, a poetic metaphor meaning literally wind eye.
You can read more about that in the American Heritage Dictionary’s Word History section for window.

 

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman

 

 

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 14, 2022 at 4:32 AM

New Zealand: More from Matakatia Bay

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Yesterday’s post showed photographs taken exactly seven years earlier, on the last full day of our initial visit to New Zealand. Those three views were landscapes seen from the Matakatia Bay side of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula a little north of Auckland.

The final pictures I took that afternoon—and the ones that most excited me aesthetically—were abstractions showing colors and forms on the shore at Little Manly Beach. Some of those photographs have shown up in posts since 2015. Now here are three more for your delectation.

 

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We [men and women] work side by side, and some of us imagine that because we are equal under the law, we are also the same. We are and should be equal under the law. But we are not the same—despite what some activists and politicians, journalists and academics would have us believe. There seems to be comfort, for some, in the idea of sameness, but it is a shallow comfort at best. What if the best surgeon in the world was a woman, but it was also true that, on average, most of the best surgeons were male? What if the top ten pediatricians were women? Neither scenario provides evidence of bias or sexism, although those are possible explanations for the observed patterns. In order to ensure that bias or sexism is not predictive of who does what work, we should remove as many barriers to success as possible. We should also not expect that men and women will make identical choices, or be driven to excel at identical things, or even, perhaps, be motivated by the same goals. To ignore our differences and demand uniformity is a different kind of sexism. Differences between the sexes are a reality, and while they can be cause for concern, they are also very often a strength, and we ignore them at our peril.

That’s much-needed sanity from A Hunter-Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century: Evolution and the Challenges of Modern Life, by Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein. You can also watch many presentations by them on their Dark Horse podcasts.

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman

 

 

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 27, 2022 at 4:33 AM

New Zealand: Matakatia Bay

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Seven years ago today, on the last afternoon of our first fabulous trip to New Zealand,
I took pictures from the Matakatia Bay side of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula a little north of Auckland.

From that vantage point I photographed the coastal bluff shown in the top picture, the seastack
known as Kotanui or Frenchman’s Cap* shown in the middle picture, and Rangitoto Island.

* Due to persistent supply chain problems, New Zealand has had a chronic shortage of apostrophes in proper names. I’ve graciously supplied the apostrophe that was lacking.

 

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For some years now I’ve been calling for a United Nations 2.0. Reasons for jettisoning the old organization include those that I gave in my December 31 commentary: “Starting on January 1, 2022, a staggering 68.1% of the UN Human Rights Council will be dictators and other serial human rights abusers. Despite UN Watch’s detailed report on their gross abuses, Qatar, Cameroon, Eritrea, Kazakhstan and Somalia were all elected in October to the UN’s top human rights body, joining China, Cuba, Russia, Libya, Pakistan and Venezuela.” And “in an April 2021 secret ballot, the UN’s Economic and Social Council elected Iran’s gender apartheid regime to a 4-year term on its Commission on the Status of Women, the ‘principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.’” The article that detailed those abuses included seven others.

Now comes the Russian dictator’s invasion of Ukraine. The current United Nations was unable to do anything about it before or after—didn’t really even seem interested in trying. That ought to be impetus enough for the creation of a new United Nations that no despotic countries will be allowed to join.

At the same time, all civilized nations should expel every Russian diplomat and no longer allow any flights or ships from Russia to land in their countries.

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman

 

 

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 26, 2022 at 4:40 AM

Joshua Tree National Park revisited

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On this date five years ago we spent much of the day at
Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave Desert of southeastern California.

As tall as some of these “trees” grow, they’re actually members of the yucca family, Yucca brevifolia.

Not all Joshua trees remain erect:

In some places a mountainous wall of boulders dwarfed the Joshua trees.

According to Wikipedia, “The name ‘Joshua tree’ is commonly said to have been given by a group of Mormon settlers crossing the Mojave Desert in the mid-19th century: The tree’s role in guiding them through the desert combined with its unique shape reminded them of a biblical story in which Joshua keeps his hands reached out for an extended period of time to enable the Israelites in their conquest of Canaan (Joshua 8:18–26). Further, the shaggy leaves may have provided the appearance of a beard. However, no direct or contemporary attestation of this origin exists, and the name Joshua tree is not recorded until after Mormon contact; moreover, the physical appearance of the Joshua tree more closely resembles a similar story told of Moses.”

The same article lists a whopping 14 scientific names synonymous with Yucca brevifolia. That raises a question I don’t know the answer to: which plant has had the most scientific names?

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 5, 2021 at 4:39 AM

Shedding some light on the colorful limestone overhang

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Last week you heard about and saw two pictures of a limestone overhang in a hard-to-reach section of Great Hills Park. I mentioned that direct sunlight never reaches the overhang’s wall and ceiling. That said, the floor of the overhang is a creek bed; with enough water in it, and with the sun low enough in the sky, some rays of light bounce off the water and onto the ceiling of the overhang. Because the water’s surface isn’t perfectly still, the reflected light shimmers overhead, as you see in today’s picture from June 10th.


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And here’s a clever quotation for today: “If somebody thinks I’m cherry-picking, show me the other part of the tree.” — Steven E. Koonin in a televised interview about his book Unsettled on May 25, 2021. Also unsettled is the question of why English speakers have picked cherry-pick rather than the alliterative peach-pick or plum-pick, or else apple-pick, lemon-pick, or some-other-fruit-pick. Maybe cherries got picked because they’re small, and therefore cherry-picking is like nit-picking. One thing’s for sure: cherries make for a much tastier pie than nits. And did you know that cherries was originally the singular of the word? We got it from Anglo-Norman cherise. But that sounded to the folks in merry old England like it was a plural, along the lines of berries and ferries, so they created a new singular, cherry. Linguists call that process back-formation, for which today’s picture of the geological formations at the back of the overhang is therefore appropriate. What fun to lead you from limestone to linguistic information and back again.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 26, 2021 at 4:32 AM

A colorful limestone overhang

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I live in northwest Austin’s Great Hills neighborhood, which is home to the unsurprisingly named Great Hills Park. An isolated arm of the park, seldom reached because getting there entails walking in a creek and pushing past various obstacles, houses a long limestone overhang. Given the geography and the position of the sun throughout the year, direct light doesn’t fall on the overhang’s ceiling or most of its back. An approaching visitor will initially see the inside of the overhang as very dark, though eyes do get somewhat accustomed after a person has been under the overhang for a bit. Even so, the dimness makes it hard to appreciate the ways in which seeping water over eons has colored the stone. I used flash to light up the formations and reveal the pastel colors that you see in these two images, both from June 10th.


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Did you hear about the family in Edinburgh that has six living generations?

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 18, 2021 at 4:37 AM

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