Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘reflections

Texture, reflection, abstraction

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Onion Creek in McKinney Falls State Park; March 15, 2021.

And here’s an unrelated observation from Sense and Sensibility (1811): “…When people are determined on a mode of conduct which they know to be wrong, they feel injured by the expectation of any thing better from them.” Throughout the novel, Jane Austen’s comments about many of her characters are trenchant, acerbic, cynical, sardonic. Those observations are unfortunately lost in movie versions of the novel. Perhaps someday a director will make a version with voice-overs to preserve the author’s commentary. Here’s another passage:

“On ascending the stairs, the Miss Dashwoods found so many people before them in the room [at a store], that there was not a person at liberty to tend to their orders; and they were obliged to wait. All that could be done was, to sit down at that end of the counter which seemed to promise the quickest succession; one gentleman only was standing there, and it is probable that Elinor was not without hope of exciting his politeness to a quicker despatch. But the correctness of his eye, and the delicacy of his taste, proved to be beyond his politeness. He was giving orders for a toothpick-case for himself, and till its size, shape, and ornaments were determined, all of which, after examining and debating for a quarter of an hour over every toothpick-case in the shop, were finally arranged by his own inventive fancy, he had no leisure to bestow any other attention on the two ladies, than what was comprised in three or four very broad stares; a kind of notice which served to imprint on Elinor the remembrance of a person and face, of strong, natural, sterling insignificance, though adorned in the first style of fashion.”

How about “sterling insignificance” as a zinger?

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 22, 2021 at 4:40 AM

A farewell to icicles

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Over the past month you’ve seen plenty of pictures here showing snow, ice, and especially icicles, courtesy of the frigid weather that descended on Austin and stayed with us for a week in mid-February. But now it’s fully spring, so a farewell to winter is in order. Here are two last pictures from the part of Great Hills Park known as Potter’s Place, which I visited on February 16th. Above, you see how numerous the icicles in that little cove along the main creek were, and the flash I used allowed the clarity of the water to come through. The picture below, taken by natural light, emphasizes the icicles’ reflections in water that now seems dark.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 19, 2021 at 4:38 AM

Icicle delights

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One highlight of my foray into Great Hills Park on February 16th was icicles, which our normally mild winters seldom produce. The ones shown here formed on a bank of the park’s main creek in an area called Potter’s Place, which is named after geologist Eric Potter, who carried out many projects in the park. It’s hard to believe how different this stretch of the creek looks in a rainy spring.

In some of my pictures I played up the icicles’ reflections in the water.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 21, 2021 at 4:30 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

Reflecting on cardinal flowers

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Along Bull Creek on September 12th I reflected on cardinal flowers.

In fact I reflected literally and made some portraits like the first two here,
which show the flowers’ images on the moving surface of the creek.

Even without the cardinal flowers’ rich red, other reflections in Bull Creek made for appealing abstractions.

And here’s a reflection on language: “Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” — George Orwell in “Politics and the English Language,” which is even more relevant now than when it appeared in 1946.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 1, 2020 at 4:33 AM

Bull Creek reflections

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There are times when a reflection of something is more interesting artistically than the thing seen directly. When I wandered in Bull Creek Regional Park on the morning of August 26th I felt that way about what you see in the first photograph. Not far away, the edge of a flat, irregularly shaped rock also got reflected in the creek; I find that the reflection in the second view plays an important role in the picture’s attractiveness.

Below, the reflected limestone strata add to the allure of the strata themselves.

Here’s a much-quoted statement by Sherlock Holmes, which is to say by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, from “The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet”: “It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” In the 2014 book How Not to Be Wrong, mathematician Jordan Ellenberg amended the statement by adding some extra words to make it more accurate: “It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth, unless the truth is a hypothesis it didn’t occur to you to consider.”

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 15, 2020 at 4:44 AM

The golden hour

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Landscape photographers talk about the golden hour, the first hour after sunrise or the last before sunset, when the light is soft and warm. The late afternoon of October 31st found us about 110 miles west-southwest of Austin, in Kerrville, where I worked quickly to take advantage of the golden hour’s last rays to photograph bald cypress trees (Taxodium distichum) along the Guadalupe River. Minutes later the light was gone. For a closer look at the bases of the trees, click the icon below.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 25, 2019 at 4:44 AM

Bulrush reflections

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Bulrushes and water lilies were common at the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, as you see above. In one place without water lilies the bulrushes drew my attention by the way they made reflections in the water. Of my two dozen experiments in trying to record those abstract reflections, the one below strikes me as the most interesting; I can almost imagine that someone had knitted or woven the image.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 30, 2019 at 4:40 PM

More cardinal flowers

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Ms. Liz, MelissaBlue and Michael Scandling were up for seeing more cardinal flowers, so here are two group portraits of Lobelia cardinalis that I made along the upper reaches of Bull Creek on September 26th. Notice how the quality of the red ends up different depending on where the sun is coming from, what’s in the background, and how the camera’s sensor and computer render those things. Then, of course, the processing software adds its interpretation, as does the processor, a.k.a. me.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 2, 2019 at 4:30 PM

Discovering a new place by looking at a map

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We wanted to go out walking on February 24th so I pulled up a local map on my computer screen to pick a place. As I scrolled around on the map I noticed Mills Pond in the Wells Branch community some nine miles northeast of our house. After 42 years in Austin I’d never heard of Mills Pond, even though I’ve photographed places close to it. That alone was a good reason to check it out. Here are four pictures from our visit.

A few trees were beginning to green out along the pond’s shore.

A very different color drew attention to this redbud tree (Cercis canadensis).

Look at the trees reflected in the creek leading to the lake.

Focusing on the breeze-rippled surface of the creek rather than on the tree reflections gave a different effect.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 6, 2019 at 4:37 AM

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