Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘landscape

Berry Creek in winter

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On a sunny, breezy January 31st we went* to Berry Springs Park in Georgetown. The first picture plays up a disembodied tree shadow that aligns well with the reflection of large trees far away, while water wends* the wind’s way in the second picture. Both images play up diagonals and blend blue with green.

* Did you know that went was originally a past tense of wend? (Compare bend ~ bent and send ~ sent.) Eventually wended survived as the only past tense of wend, while went wended its way over to go and drove out that verb’s original past tense. The technical name for the linguistic process in which a form of one word replaces a form of a different word is suppletion. Another familiar example of suppletion occurred in English with good, whose comparative and superlative are better and best, which are related to each other but not to good. Latin went it one better, with bonus, melior, and optimus all unrelated to one another.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 13, 2021 at 4:40 AM

Palmetto State Park

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Although this picture from January 29th may make you think we went to Florida’s Everglades or some other tropical place, we drove just 70 road miles south of home, to Palmetto State Park, which might as well be a different world. The park is named for a stand of palmettos, Sabal minor, one of only two palm species native to Texas (the other is full-sized and lives at the southern tip of the state). The Ottine Swamp supports the palmettos and also fosters copious amounts of Spanish moss, Tillandsia usneoides, which were especially conspicuous now that the trees were winter-bare.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 5, 2021 at 4:45 AM

Winter woods reflected in pond

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Copperfield Nature Trail; January 17th.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 28, 2021 at 3:52 AM

Little snow islands

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Last month I posted a photograph showing the bed of the San Gabriel River that low water had given a better look at than usual. Some viewers thought the light-colored bedrock with narrow channels of water running through it looked like little islands of snow, and now the snowfall of January 10th has unexpectedly given me a chance to show the real thing. Below is a closer look at one snow islet. I took both of these pictures in the northeast quadrant of Mopac and US 183.

And here’s a relevant quotation for today: “The object isn’t to make art, it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.” — Robert Henri.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 18, 2021 at 4:30 AM

From fire to fog

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The weather forecast on the evening of December 21st last year said to expect fog the next morning in the eastern reaches of Austin. Because we don’t often get fog, I went to the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin early that morning to see if I could find some. Along the way I stopped to photograph some other things (including the fiery clouds you saw last time), so I arrived only a short while before the rising sun dissipated the fog. Even so, I did get a few misty pictures. The one above, which reminds me of an old sepia-toned photograph, came nine minutes before the one below, which seems split-toned. In fact the tinting in both cases was nature’s and the camera’s own.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 5, 2021 at 4:36 AM

Late-in-the-year scenes along Brushy Creek

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On December 17th we walked a section of Brushy Creek in far north Austin that was new to us. In the first picture you see how the slender leaves of a black willow tree (Salix nigra) had turned yellow and fallen onto the creek’s surface next to a colony of cattail plants (Typha domingensis), some fresh and others dried out. Nearby it was dead cattails that did the falling:

The image below shows dry goldenrod plants (Solidago sp.)
on the creek bank by dense tangles of vines and now-bare branches.

If you’re interested in the art and craft of photography, point 15 in About My Techniques pertains to all three of the pictures in today’s post. And if you’d like to go off on a bit of a maximalist tangent, you can check out Victorian interiors and certain modern décor.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 29, 2020 at 4:41 AM

Filling the frame on a sunny afternoon

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Here’s to expressing complexity explicitly: on the sunny but cool and breezy afternoon of December 3rd I made this fill-the-frame or more-is-more view showing a forest of bare stalks and dry cattails (Typha domingensis) at a pond along Kulmbacher Drive in far north Austin. The stalks might have been the remains of giant ragweed (Ambrosia trifida), or perhaps of the slenderpod sesbania (Sesbania herbacea) you saw in pictures from the same pond last year.

And here’s a relevant quotation: “Abandon the urge to simplify everything, to look for formulas and easy answers, and begin to think multidimensionally, to glory in the mystery and paradoxes of life, not to be dismayed by the multitude of causes and consequences that are inherent in each experience—to appreciate the fact that life is complex.” ― M. Scott Peck, Further Along the Road Less Traveled, 1993.

In searching the Internet for a quotation about complexity, I found this one often misquoted, with an extra to inserted, creating the phrase “…and to begin to think multidimensionally….” That’s wrong because it makes “to begin to think multidimensionally” a third thing we should abandon the urge to do, after the urge to simplify and the urge to look for formulas and easy answers. Somebody accidentally inserted the extra to, and since then many people on the internet have propagated the mistake.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 27, 2020 at 4:30 AM

North Fork of the San Gabriel River

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On November 30th we spent some time on the North Fork of the San Gabriel River near Tejas Camp in Williamson County. For lack of rain the river had gone down a lot, revealing bedrock that’s more often hidden. The dropping water level left some algae draped over a rock, which the sun did a good job of spotlighting:

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 20, 2020 at 4:35 AM

Anniversary of our Coron island-hopping tour

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A year ago today we went on our Coron* island-hopping tour
in the Philippine province of Palawan, which neither of us had ever been to.

Can you tell that the first two photographs offer different views of the same nature-sculpted promontory?

The final picture includes the kind of outrigger from which I photographed all these scenes.

* Who knew that just a month later we’d begin hearing and worrying about something else
whose first five letters happened to be Coron?

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 13, 2020 at 4:40 AM

Autumn shorescape

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On the sunny morning of November 17th I felt compelled to stop for the first time in years at the northern end of Redbud Isle in the Colorado River when we were driving west and saw how good things looked there. The trees turning orange-brown are bald cypresses, Taxodium distichum. Below is a closer view looking up at a bald cypress; the darkish clumps on some of the branches are ball moss (Tillandsia recurvata).

Here’s a relevant quotation for today: “And all the lives we ever lived / And all the lives to be, / Are full of trees and changing leaves….” ― Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse, 1927

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 7, 2020 at 4:36 AM

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