Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘water

Not strictly a nature picture

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Here’s an abstract and not-strictly-nature picture I made showing algae, curtaining water,
and mineral deposits on a low dam at Berry Springs Park in Georgetown on January 31st.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 18, 2021 at 4:32 AM

Ripples and sparkles

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On November 25, 2020, we visited Russell Park on the northern shore of Lake Georgetown, where I made the picture of ripples shown above. On the first day of 2021 I inaugurated the new year photographically by going over to Bull Creek in my part of Austin for a different and closer take on ripples:

And if you’ll let me bounce back to Lake Georgetown on November 25th,
Jim Hogg Park provided the following photograph of sparkles:

The diaphragm in my Canon 100–400mm lens has 9 blades; multiplying by 2 would account for the 18 rays that emanate from each of the sparkles. Multiply me by two and I’d be four-armed; forewarn me and I’d be fore-armed. And in case you’re tempted to use forewarn, let me warn you that it’s redundant: the only way you can warn somebody about something is before it happens. At least that’s how it is now. A little research showed that an earlier meaning of warn was simply ‘to alert, to make aware,’ in which case forewarn was not redundant. Shakespeare’s Sonnet 71 provides an example of warn in its ‘alert’ sense:

No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world with vilest worms to dwell; 
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it; for I love you so, 
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot, 
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O, if (I say) you look upon this verse, 
When I (perhaps) compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse,
But let your love even with my life decay,
Lest the wise world should look into your moan, 
And mock you with me after I am gone.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 3, 2021 at 4:29 AM

Condensation is a natural process

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Let me inaugurate this new year with a different sort of picture from my usual ones. You’ve probably noticed how steam from cooking condenses into drops on the inside of a pot’s lid. When I saw that happening one day, I carefully turned the lid over and laid it on my kitchen counter so I could distill that natural process into an abstract photograph.

When it comes to the new year, we’re all hoping 2021 will make a difference. In fact 2021 is a difference of two squares, 2025 – 4, which is to say (45)2 – (2)2 , and therefore 2021 = (45 – 2) x (45 + 2) = 43 x 47. So I wish you a happy 43 47 times, or a happy 47 43 times.

Years like 2021 in which the second half of the number is 1 bigger than the first half are uncommon, occurring only every 101 years. The previous one was 1920 and the next will be 2122. Very few people live to the age of 101, and only a small fraction of them get to say they’ve been alive in two such years. Anyone still living today who was born in or before 1920 can make that claim. Had actress Olivia de Havilland lived half a year longer she could have, but she died on July 26th of what is now last year at the age of 104.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 1, 2021 at 4:49 AM

Posted in nature photography

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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

Stark versus soft

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From the new Lakewood Park in Leander on November 10th come contrasting views. Above, sunrays broke through dramatic clouds over the park’s lake. Below is a portrait of poverty weed (Baccharis neglecta) as its fluff came loose. The soft chaos is similar to that of a thistle at the same stage of development; both plants are members of the sunflower family, after all.

Also softly chaotic and a member of Asteraceae is the seed head of this aster (Symphyotricum sp.) on a stalk conjoined to that of an opening bud; note the tight curling of the emerging rays.

You’ll find pertinent quotations illustrating some of the many meanings of the word soft in the 1913 Webster’s Dictionary.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 4, 2020 at 4:32 AM

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

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