Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘geology

(WF) cubed + G cubed

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Today’s title is a coded description of the land that is upstate New York: WonderFully Well-Formed WaterFalls and Gorgeous Gorges Galore. In fact the pictures from those kinds of places make up the majority of all the ones I took on the trip. Rather than going in chronological order, which would mean that for a time you’d see post after post with the same types of photographs, I’ll maintain variety by interspersing* gorge and waterfall pictures from New York State with those of other subjects in other places.

Although I grew up on Long Island and visited various sites upstate during my childhood and later on, somehow until July 27th of this year I’d never made it to Letchworth State Park, which bills its Genesee River gorges as the Grand Canyon of the East. Having been to the Grand Canyon of the West, I find the claim a bit of a stretch. Still, there’s no denying that Letchworth is a worthy place to visit. It’s home to three large and impressive waterfalls that truthfully go by the names Lower, Middle, and Upper, along with dozens of smaller falls. Today’s pictures come from the vicinity of the Lower Falls, which we saw first.


How about the strata in the walls of those rocky gorges?

The angularity of some structures made me think I was looking at the ruins of ancient buildings.
And as always, some plants find rootholds in seemingly unlikely places.

Look how wide the Lower Falls are. I wanted to shoot from further left but I haven’t learned how to fly.

* In current English we can intersperse and disperse and even asperse but we can’t just sperse; in early modern English sperse was a synonym of disperse.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 17, 2019 at 4:43 AM

Shimmering light

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One stretch of a Bull Creek tributary in my neighborhood flows beneath a limestone overhang. There are times when morning light filters through the trees, reflects off the surface of the water, and shimmers on the limestone wall of the overhang. July 8th at 9:04 was one of those times.

For the photographically curious: I took these pictures with a simple old 50mm lens wide open at f/1.4. Understandably, given the optics and the flowstoned face of the rocky overhang, not everything came out sharp, but somehow that hasn’t bothered me.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 16, 2019 at 4:46 AM

Wildfires and wildflowers

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Moved to action by some timely photographs on the internet, on May 25th I drove an hour west from Austin to Inks Lake State Park, where dense and expansive colonies of coreopsis were the attraction.

A wildfire in July 2018 may have cleared the way for the coreopsis that throve this spring, setting up quite a striking contrast between the fresh flowers and the burned, dead trees. On the other hand, coreopsis and other wildflowers also covered tracts that fire may not have reached.

In the picture above, the red flowers are Indian blankets (Gaillardia pulchella) and the pink ones are meadow pinks (Sabatia campestris). Below are more meadow pinks, along with a few holdover Indian paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa); I say “holdover” because most paintbrushes ended their season a month ago.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 1, 2019 at 7:16 AM

More from South Dakota’s Badlands National Park

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On May 31, 2017, I took over 600 photographs at South Dakota’s Badlands National Park. I showed several of them that year and others on the one-year anniversary. Now here are six more pictures of that scenic place.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 31, 2019 at 4:53 AM

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

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

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Two years ago today we spent a couple of morning hours at Red Rock Canyon
National Conservation Area on the west side of Las Vegas.

You’re seeing a few pictures from there.
You’re not seeing the busloads of tourists that also swarmed there.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 25, 2018 at 4:50 AM

Nevada’s Valley of Fire

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Two years ago today we visited the wonderful Vally of Fire State Park about an hour northeast of Las Vegas. The place may be best known for its “beehive” formations.

On a smaller scale, I saw prickly pear (Opuntia spp.) and desert holly (Atriplex hymenelytra).

Following my pattern at Zion, I kept photographing as long as the light lasted. Though the day remained heavily overcast and we got some real rain for a while, late in the afternoon the sun briefly emerged beneath the lowest clouds and its light drenched the formations in warm colors—the fire in the Valley of Fire. You can see that I photographed the rocky Art Nouveau castle below when the shadows had already started climbing its base. A minute or two more and the magical illumination was gone.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 24, 2018 at 4:45 AM

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