Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘water

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

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

Stone Bridge Falls on Bull Creek

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On the 10th of July I followed the Smith Memorial Trail to Stone Bridge Falls on Bull Creek. The picture above shows the creek immediately upstream of the falls. (I could almost imagine I was back on the Bojo River in Cebu.) The yellow flowers are roughstem rosinweed, Silphium radula; you get a closer look at one below.

And how could I not show the waterfall? Here’s a picture in
Steve G.’s accustomed mode, with a shutter speed of 1/3 second.
I think you’ll agree that’s a long time for a hand-held shot.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 20, 2020 at 4:47 AM

Rainbow or nebula?

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You know those optical illusions where a drawing or design can be seen in different ways; this isn’t exactly one of those. And it’s also not quite like those works by Escher in which one thing gets transformed into another. Still, this photograph has elements of both of those: going from bottom to top, lily pads with a rainbow above them give way to a nebula in the night sky.

Here’s the story. On July 14th (Bastille Day), I was on the Burnet Rd. side of the Domain complex and discovered a pond with two fountains shooting water to good heights. The morning was clear, so sunlight refracting through the sprays of water created two rainbows. I set out to photograph each one along with the heavy splashing of the water as it rained back into the pond and moved sideways at the will of the wind. In the picture above I serendipitously got more than I bargained for.

Below, in a crop from a different frame, you get a closer look at the effect of the splashing water I was originally after, photographed at 1/800 of a second. Click to enlarge and see more details.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 16, 2020 at 4:37 AM

New Zealand: Crossing the Cook Strait again

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The Cook Strait, named after the adventurous Captain James Cook, separates New Zealand’s two main islands. Three years ago today we rode the Interislander ferry from Picton on the South Island to Wellington on the North Island. The first photograph shows the last rocks the ferry passes as it leaves the South Island and enters the Cook Strait. I took the second photograph out in the strait 12.5 minutes later.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 3, 2020 at 4:31 AM

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