Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘geology

Zion revisited

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On October 22, 2016, we spent much of the day in Zion National Park.

Because it’s such a scenic place, the park swarmed with visitors well past the summer tourist season; I sometimes had to aim and frame judiciously to keep people from showing up in my pictures.

These four pictures suggest how diverse Zion’s rock formations are.

And here’s a relevant quotation for today:

“Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame.”
― William Butler Yeats, The Land of Heart’s Desire

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 21, 2020 at 4:37 AM

Apache plume in northern Arizona

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The flowers of Apache plume (Fallugia paradoxa) reveal the plant’s membership in the rose family.

In its late stage, Apache plume is quite similar to the prairie smoke (Geum triflorum, likewise in the rose family) that I observed in Illinois four years ago, and also to the old man’s beard (Clematis drummondii, in a different botanical family) that you’ve so often seen from central Texas.

Because the closest to Austin that Apache plume grows is far west Texas, I don’t often get the chance to photograph this species, so when I came across a few of these plants in northern Arizona four years ago today, I wasn’t about to pass up my chance to portray them.

Oh yeah, at the same site there was also a minor attraction that I took a few pictures of.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 19, 2020 at 3:49 AM

South Fork of the San Gabriel River

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As often as I’ve photographed along the North Fork of the San Gabriel River at Tejas Camp in Williamson County, I’d never photographed along the South Fork till September 18th, when we visited the relatively recent Garey Park in the southwest corner of Georgetown.

All three of these landscape pictures show the eons-long erosive effect of water streaming against rock.

In case you’re wondering about the yellow-green stuff at the edge of the water, it’s duckweed (Lemna minor), which forms floating mats. On one such mat I found a tiny grasshopper.

Click to enlarge.

Here’s an unrelated thought for today: “Dear, sweet, unforgettable childhood! Why does that irrevocable time, forever departed, seem brighter, more festive, and richer than it actually was?” — Anton Chekhov, The Bishop (1902).

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 6, 2020 at 4:24 AM

Interesting geology

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During the same August 26th visit to Bull Creek Regional Park that you saw pictures of last time, I stopped by a limestone overhang where I’d taken pictures in other years. This time I noticed a group of brain-like formations that had somehow escaped me on those previous visits, and that I assume eons of dripping water had created. Close by and higher up, a different sort of formation asked to have its portrait made, as you see below. Note the southern maidenhair ferns (Adiantum capillus-veneris), both green and brown.

And here’s a cautionary quotation that’s as relevant now as it was when it appeared in 1945: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” — Animal Farm, by Eric Blair writing under the name George Orwell.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 16, 2020 at 3:08 AM

Alberta’s badlands

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Three years ago today we visited the badlands east of Drumheller, Alberta.

We stopped there once near the beginning of our trip, and now again near the end.

If you’re looking for a great place to visit, this it it.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 12, 2020 at 2:16 AM

Ithaca Falls revisited

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On this date last year we spent some pleasant time at Ithaca Falls in Ithaca, New York. I really don’t like shooting up toward a white sky, and the one we had that morning led to me take most of my pictures as tight abstractions of the rocks and water. In this one I used a shutter speed of 1/2000 of a second in an attempt to stop the water in mid-fall and mid-splash; it worked pretty well. If you’d like a closer look at some of the Hokusai action, click the excerpt below.

It wasn’t just the falls that were impressive. Adjacent to them I photographed a natural (I assume) rock formation so geometric you could be forgiven for thinking that people had had a part in creating it:

And now that geometry has entered the picture, here’s a semi-related observation for today: If a person says that the diagonals of any rectangle bisect each other (which they do), the statement remains true no matter who the person is, what background the person has, what day of the week the statement was made on, what the weather was at the time, what town or country the statement was made in, why the person made the statement, who it was said to, or what use someone else might put the statement to. Offering up those irrelevancies or any others as reasons to deny the truth of the statement is folly, or worse, malice.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 31, 2020 at 4:44 AM

Three views of lichens on granitic rock

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One of the pleasures of visiting the area near Inks Lake in Burnet County is the visibility of granitic rock.

Here are various types of lichens I saw along Park Road 4 on April 27th.

UPDATE: After this posted, I found an article that explains lichens in a way I hadn’t heard before.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 18, 2020 at 4:30 AM

New Zealand: another look at Little Manly Beach

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Five years ago today I spent some morning time—in fact the last morning in New Zealand on that first trip—at what turned out to be one of my favorite places for abstract photographs, Little Manly Beach on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula north of Auckland.

You’re looking at some of the beach details that fascinated me.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 27, 2020 at 4:41 AM

New Zealand: February 21, 2017

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On this date in 2017, during our second visit to New Zealand, the day began in Wanaka, where we looked out from our apartment and saw this morning mountain clad with a cloud:

Later that day we reached what ended up being one of my favorite places in New Zealand: Lake Wakatipu.

The shore between Queenstown and Glenorchy had me turning this way and that, looking for pleasing compositions both vertical and horizontal. The first shoreline view looks southwest, the second northwest.

Even without the lake and the mountains, the patterns and textures of the rocks intrigued me.

I made various abstract portraits of them, including these three.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 21, 2020 at 4:46 AM

New Zealand: more views of the Pancake Rocks

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Five years ago today we visited the famous Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki on New Zealand’s South Island.

You can read a little about the geology of this site in an article at Te Ara.

This renewal of pictures from New Zealand reminds me that we can renew something but we can never new something. Likewise we can reveal but we can’t veal; reproach but not proach; retract but not tract; we can replenish but we can’t plenish; etc.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 17, 2020 at 4:15 AM

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