Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘New York

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

Niagara Falls abstraction

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From this date a year ago, here’s an abstract view of Niagara Falls.

Vaguely related quotation for today: “Ce monde-ci est un vaste naufrage; sauve qui peut; mais je suis bien loin du rivage!” “This world is a vast shipwreck; save yourself if you can; but I’m very far from the shore!” Voltaire wrote those words in a letter in 1754. Unfortunately this quotation often circulates on the Internet in a reworked form with a modern Pollyanna-ish addition about singing in the lifeboats that reverses the sense of what Voltaire said in his letter.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 25, 2020 at 4:46 AM

Again a bird and Niagara Falls without the falls

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On July 25th we stayed on the American side of Niagara Falls late enough to get a colorful sky while walking back to our car. And so ends the series of pictures from our visit to Niagara Falls.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 16, 2019 at 4:43 AM

Not many people at Niagara Falls

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Okay, so this post’s title is misleading; in fact hordes of tourists were at Niagara Falls when we visited on July 25th. Nevertheless, not many people at Niagara Falls photograph the plants there, but you could count on me to get a few botanical pictures. The first one shows swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) and yarrow (Achillea millefolium). In the second photo you’re seeing fruit clusters on a staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina).

Thanks to horticulturalists at the New York State Parks Department for identifying the species of the milkweed and the sumac. I didn’t ask them to try to figure out the identity of the tree whose remains you see standing below; perhaps it was another sumac.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 12, 2019 at 4:36 AM

Two gulls at Niagara Falls on July 25th

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I took the first picture from the Canadian side in the morning and the second from the American side near sundown, each time with the lens zoomed to its maximum focal length of 400mm. Both birds spoke to me. Take that figuratively and you’re all right; believe it literally and you’re gullible.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 8, 2019 at 4:44 PM

American Falls in warm light

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Whether you call it late afternoon or early evening, the warm light near 7PM on July 25th enhanced Niagara’s American Falls. The dark area across the upper right is the embankment on the Canadian side of the Niagara River that we’d visited earlier in the day. I’ve added another view as a reminder of the way different vantage points and compositions change the feel of a scene. The black specks in the second image are distant birds.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 5, 2019 at 4:28 PM

Two birds soaring at Niagara Falls on July 25th

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© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 1, 2019 at 4:43 AM

Inanimate and animate on the brink of the abyss

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So it’s our first close approach to Niagara’s American Falls on July 25th, and I’m noticing a tree limb on the brink of the waterfall. Eppur non si muove, and yet it doesn’t move, despite the rushing water.

And these Canada geese are calmly sure of themselves so close to the abyss:

Thanks to Shannon Westveer for identifying the birds.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 29, 2019 at 4:37 AM

Falling into abstraction

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On July 25th in Niagara Falls, Ontario, I took many pictures—hardly surprising for one of the world’s natural wonders. Back in Texas a few weeks later I sorted through the photographs, seeing for the first time in detail what I’d managed to capture. In the images for which I’d used a telephoto lens zoomed to its maximum length of 400mm, clouds of spray had often masked details, pushing some of the photographs toward and into abstraction. Pictures like the one below reminded me of seascapes by the English painter J.M.W. Turner.

Notice that unlike the pictures in the introductory Niagara Falls post a few days ago, these are strictly nature photographs and show no people or human elements at all.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 27, 2019 at 3:55 AM

Goldenrod at Lucifer Falls

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As we drove around the Northeast in the second half of July and the first week of August, we were surprised to see goldenrod (Solidago sp.) already flowering abundantly in many places. One of those was at Lucifer Falls in New York’s Treman State Park on August 1st. That was seven weeks ago; I’ve yet to see any goldenrod flowering in Austin, though I’ve read reports online of people beginning to see some here.

And while we’re still talking about Treman State Park,
let me show you one more picture of the picturesque rock strata there:

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 22, 2019 at 4:47 AM

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