Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘lake

Devil’s Waterhole

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There’s nothing diabolical about the Devil’s Waterhole at Inks Lake State Park. Though we’d been to the park several times in recent years, we’d never wandered all the way down to this end until we visited on May 6th. The first picture is a closer and more abstract take (you know me with abstractions), while the second photograph retroactively sets the scene.

Among things diabolical I include the alarming rise in my country of freedom-hating zealots on the rampage to “cancel” and “deplatform” anyone who has different ideas from them. I’d remind those historyphobes—but of course they’d refuse to listen—how quickly things devolved in the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, the Fascist regimes in Germany and Italy, China’s [anti-]Cultural Revolution, the insanity of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the dictatorship of the Kim dynasty in North Korea, and other disastrous ideological regimes. As George Santayana warned in the first decade of the 20th century, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Good people have to speak and act now, before it’s too late.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 13, 2021 at 4:40 AM

More from the San Marcos Springs

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On February 23rd we went to Spring Lake in San Marcos, fed by the San Marcos Springs, which as you’ve heard “is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in North America. Artifacts discovered in digs conducted from 1979 to 1982 date back 12,000 years.” The folks at the Meadows Center have created a boardwalk that lets visitors walk through a wetland adjacent to the main part of the lake, and there a dense colony of dry cattails caught my attention.

Facing in the opposite direction, I’d photographed heaps of turtles sunning themselves on logs in the water.

Click to enlarge.

And here’s an important thought for our own times from a speech by Frederick Douglass in Boston in 1860:

Liberty is meaningless where the right to utter one’s thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist. That, of all rights, is the dread of tyrants. It is the right which they first of all strike down. They know its power…. There can be no right of speech where any man, however lifted up, or however humble, however young, or however old, is overawed by force, and compelled to suppress his honest sentiments. Equally clear is the right to hear. To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 13, 2021 at 4:44 AM

Continuously inhabited for 12,000 years

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Spring Lake in San Marcos, fed by the San Marcos Springs, “is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in North America. Artifacts discovered in digs conducted from 1979 to 1982 date back 12,000 years.” On a sunny February 23rd we went there for the first time in years and enjoyed seeing the purity of the water. Whether the amount of algae on the surface was reasonable or problematic, I don’t know. I do know that it provided plenty of visual interest and led to some abstract views like the one below.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 8, 2021 at 4:39 AM

Ripples and sparkles

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On November 25, 2020, we visited Russell Park on the northern shore of Lake Georgetown, where I made the picture of ripples shown above. On the first day of 2021 I inaugurated the new year photographically by going over to Bull Creek in my part of Austin for a different and closer take on ripples:

And if you’ll let me bounce back to Lake Georgetown on November 25th,
Jim Hogg Park provided the following photograph of sparkles:

The diaphragm in my Canon 100–400mm lens has 9 blades; multiplying by 2 would account for the 18 rays that emanate from each of the sparkles. Multiply me by two and I’d be four-armed; forewarn me and I’d be fore-armed. And in case you’re tempted to use forewarn, let me warn you that it’s redundant: the only way you can warn somebody about something is before it happens. At least that’s how it is now. A little research showed that an earlier meaning of warn was simply ‘to alert, to make aware,’ in which case forewarn was not redundant. Shakespeare’s Sonnet 71 provides an example of warn in its ‘alert’ sense:

No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world with vilest worms to dwell; 
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it; for I love you so, 
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot, 
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O, if (I say) you look upon this verse, 
When I (perhaps) compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse,
But let your love even with my life decay,
Lest the wise world should look into your moan, 
And mock you with me after I am gone.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 3, 2021 at 4:29 AM

Desert views

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Four years ago today we drove across the southern California desert on our way to Tucson. In the picture above of the Salton Sea, mist made the mountains beyond the western shore unclear, and it’s also unclear to me what range it is (perhaps the Borrego Mountains). The second picture comes to you from along Interstate 8. A lot of the dunes there allow recreational vehicles, and as a result I couldn’t take pictures in many of the places I wanted to because vehicle tracks marred the scene. While the dunes below do show a slight amount of disturbance, I hope you’ll still find this panorama pleasant.

But if you insist on arenaceous purity and no tracks, I’ll backtrack two weeks to October 23rd of 2016, when we stopped at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Utah. Though it also allows recreational vehicles, we stayed long enough for me to wander around and find undisturbed parts of the dunes to photograph.

And here’s a relevant quotation for today: “J’ai toujours aimé le désert. On s’assoit sur une dune de sable. On ne voit rien. On n’entend rien. Et cependant quelque chose rayonne en silence….” “I’ve always loved the desert. You sit down on a sand dune. You see nothing. You hear nothing. And yet something glows in silence….” — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Le petit prince, The Little Prince.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 6, 2020 at 4:37 AM

Smoke in the Canadian Rockies

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When I look at my photo archive I’m impressed by how much we accomplished on this date in 2017, all of it accompanied by varying amounts of smoke from forest fires. The first picture shows a view along the Trans-Canada Highway as we drove east that morning from our hotel in Golden, British Columbia.

We continued on to two scenic and therefore much-visited lakes in Alberta’s Banff National Park. The photograph above shows Moraine Lake, with its richly colored water, later in the morning. The view below lets you see how sunshine radiated through the clouds and smoke over Lake Louise as dusk approached.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 8, 2020 at 4:12 AM

A colorful revisiting of Emerald Lake

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Hard to believe today marks three years since we stood at the edge of Emerald Lake in British Columbia’s Yoho National Park. Smoke from forest fires obscured the lake’s far shore but the turquoise color still came through to set off the slender red seed capsules of the fireweed (Chamaenerion angustifolium) in the first photograph. On a different fireweed plant there I found the caterpillar of a bedstraw hawkmoth, Hyles gallii.

Although it was only a week into September,
so far north some foliage was already beginning to turn colors.

I was attracted to a bush with small white fruits and reddening leaves
that I take to be common snowberry, Symphoricarpos albus.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 7, 2020 at 5:00 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

Kayangan Lake

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On December 13 we went on one of what are known as Coron’s island-hopping tours. The first stop was Kayangan Lake, which was so crowded with tourists that I could hardly take any photographs. At a moment when swimmers and floaters briefly cleared a spot on the opposite side of the lake, I managed to get the picture above. (How about the color of the water?) Other than that, I was limited to a few closeups of things in the lake, like these rippled rocks that appeared to be covered with neon lights:

A floating red leaf caught my attention, as did the needlefish near it:

Here’s a closer look at the needlefish:

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 5, 2020 at 4:31 AM

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Lake Pflugerville

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This morning we walked part of the path around Lake Pflugerville on the Blackland Prairie.
One thing that caught my attention was the reflection of a bare tree.

Another thing was a shaft of light in the clouds.

At the edge of the lake near the main parking lot I noticed seed head remains of bushy bluestem
(Andropogon glomeratus) and cockleburs (Xanthium strumarium) among the cattails (Typha domingensis).

I took these photographs with my iPhone.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 4, 2019 at 5:00 PM

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