Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘water

The reason I’d gone to Gault Lane and Burnet Road on October 11th

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The reason I’d gone to Gault Lane and Burnet Road on October 11th was that early in the morning on the day before I’d seen a bright orange sun disc rising, and I hoped I could line that up behind either of the two fountains in the pond there. Well, the sun wasn’t as good on the 11th, and it turned out that trees and other objects around the fountain would have gotten in the way anyhow.

Even so, I got some fountain photographs that were abstract enough to make me think of them as successes. The picture at the top reveals how the apex of one fountain’s vertical jet of water was the first part the rising sun lit up—if you can even say “lit up,” given how dark the water looks against the brightening sky. The second photograph shows the way the increasingly high sun gradually illuminated lower parts of the fountain. Below, about six minutes later, there was even more light.

For you technophiles out there, let me add that I used a shutter speed of 1/2500 of a second in the first two takes and 1/2000 of a second in the last picture. You could say I made fast work of the subject.

And here’s an unrelated quotation for today: “Harry Truman liked to say that the only new thing in the world is the history you don’t know…. A sense of history is an antidote to self-pity and self-importance, of which there is much too much in our time. To a large degree, history is a lesson in proportions.” So said David McCullough in his 1998 speech “The Lessons of History,” given at the University of Massachusetts in Boston.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 11, 2020 at 4:34 AM

Sunrise at Morro Bay, California

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Four years ago this morning I went out early to see if I could catch the sunrise at Morro Bay, California. I did. The vertical view above, with its dark strip of land across the middle and a border around it gives me the illusion now of looking through a two-pane window. I also made a tight one-pane portrait of a seemingly unshy gull, which I take to be Larus occidentalis. The red patch on the lower bill apparently characterizes a breeding adult; imagine if breeding people had a red patch on their chin.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 4, 2020 at 4:41 AM

Slide Rock State Park

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Oak Creek Canyon

On this date in 2016 we spent a few hours in Slide Rock State Park near Sedona, Arizona.

A strangely deformed alligator juniper (Juniperus deppeana)

Overwhelmed by so many other scenic places on that trip, I never showed any of the Slide Rock pictures.

How about those shadows?

After four years, finally you get to see a few of those views.

Oak Creek’s rocks and water came in for a lot of attention.

And here’s a question rather than a quotation: how often do you renew your poetic license?

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 20, 2020 at 4:40 AM

Two disparate emblems from the Blackland Prairie

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On September 7th I headed out to the Whitehorse Ranch subdivision that’s been going up on the west side of Manor for the past few years. Ever on the lookout for new ways to portray familiar subjects, I noticed I could line up the soft bract of a snow-on-the-prairie plant (Euphorbia bicolor) with a sunflower (Helianthus annuus) beyond it, as you see above. I wasn’t the only one plying my trade there: men were working on nearby houses to the accompaniment of Mexican music. Because it was a construction site, I noticed a certain amount of junk lying around on the ground. One thing that caught my fancy was an “empty” and partly scrunched water bottle, inside of which the remaining bits of liquid had evaporated and then re-condensed on the inner surface. Picking up the bottle carefully so as not to dislodge the drops, I photographed the abstraction.

And here’s a quotation relevant to the second picture: “A drop of water, if it could write out its own history, would explain the universe to us.” — Lucy Larcom, The Unseen Friend, 1892.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 9, 2020 at 4:39 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

Clematis drummondii after the rain

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On August 3rd we finally had some rain, so on the morning of the 4th I went down to Great Hills Park with my macro lens and a ring flash to see if I could get some good pictures of raindrop-covered plants. In particular I had in mind Clematis drummondii, which I don’t recall ever before photographing with drops on it. This vine’s fibers often have a metallic-looking sheen to them, which the flash enhanced. Below, an enlargement from a different picture gives you a good look at raindrops on metalically shining Clematis strands.

And speaking of metals, here’s a relevant quotation for today: “I did not know that mankind were suffering for want of gold. I have seen a little of it. I know that it is very malleable, but not so malleable as wit. A grain of gold will gild a great surface, but not so much as a grain of wisdom.” — Henry David Thoreau, “Life Without Principle,” 1863.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 29, 2020 at 4:39 AM

So what about the fountain?

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So what about the fountain that I’d stopped to photograph when I found the crawfish claw?
Above is a picture of the water’s apex taken at 1/2000 of a second to stop the motion,
and below you have a soft take on the fountain at a long 1/15 of a second.

Today’s subject flows into Shelley’s poem “Love’s Philosophy”:

The fountains mingle with the river
   And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
   With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
   All things by a law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle.
   Why not I with thine?—
See the mountains kiss high heaven
   And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
   If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth
   And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What is all this sweet work worth
   If thou kiss not me?

 

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 17, 2020 at 4:39 AM

A pond as a pleasant background, twice

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Pink evening primroses reach their peak here in the spring, when large colonies of Oenothera speciosa sometimes form. Even so, individual plants are often found flowering through the summer and fall, like this one that I photographed on July 24th at the edge of a pond off Naruna Way on the Blackland Prairie. I also coaxed the pond to pose behind a spiderwebbed Texas thistle seed head, Cirsium texanum.

And here’s an unrelated but relevant quotation for today: “So we must beware of a tyranny of opinion which tries to make only one side of a question the one which may be heard. Everyone is in favour of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people’s idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage.” — Winston Churchill in the U.K. Parliament on October 13, 1943.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 8, 2020 at 4:38 AM

Ripples over bedrock in Bull Creek

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On my way to Stone Bridge Falls on July 10th I wore rubber boots so I could walk up the creek. In several shallow areas the patterns of the flowing water as it rippled over the bedrock caught my fancy and I gladly took a bunch of pictures. When you’re aiming straight down at such an abstract subject there’s no “proper” orientation; I turned this way and that as I looked to fill the frame in attractive ways. Here are two of them.

Our unrelated quotation for today comes from American humorist Will Rogers (1879–1935):
“I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.”

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 6, 2020 at 4:30 AM

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

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