Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘water

That stream I mentioned

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Oh yeah, here’s the rushing stream I mentioned yesterday, the one we saw on June 5th near the aspen grove along US 40 in the Rocky Mountains. My guess is that some or even a lot of the water was due to melting ice and snow from the surrounding mountains.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 6, 2017 at 4:55 AM

Helen Hunt Falls

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On June 7th we visited North Cheyenne Cañon (or Canyon) Park on the west side of Colorado Springs. One of the main attractions in the park is Helen Hunt Falls, named not for the actress but for Helen Maria Hunt Jackson.

Just downstream from the base of the falls, part of North Cheyenne Creek rushes over a smooth area of rock, concave up, that shoots the water diagonally into the air. Below is a view of that splashing dynamic at 1/4000 of a second, with the water moving from right to left.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 2, 2017 at 4:33 AM

Flowing water adjacent to the Great Sand Dunes

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I don’t know about you, but when I think of water and sand dunes together I think about dunes on the seacoast. When I visited Te Paki in New Zealand in February, I was surprised to find a stream separating the parking lot from the dunes. The same thing is true in Great Sand Dunes National Park, where people who want to walk to the dunes from the parking lots have to cross Medano Creek (médano is a Spanish word for ‘dune’). What’s strange about Medano Creek is that it pulses. The phenomenon is known as surge flow, and here’s what the website of Great Sand Dunes National Park says about it:

This is one of the few places in the world where one can experience surge flow, a stream flowing in rhythmic waves on sand. Three elements are needed to produce the phenomenon: a relatively steep gradient to give the stream a high velocity; a smooth, mobile creekbed with little resistance; and sufficient water to create surges. In spring and early summer, these elements combine to make waves at Great Sand Dunes. As water flows across sand, sand dams or antidunes form on the creekbed, gathering water. When the water pressure is too great, the dams break, sending down a wave about every 20 seconds. In wet years, waves can surge up to a foot high!

I noticed the phenomenon when I went to take pictures of sand patterns in Medano Creek. No sooner would I compose and take a few photographs, than a “wave” of water would flow downstream and obscure my subject. The picture above shows the shallow regular flow of Medano Creek; the picture below shows a moment of surge flow.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 27, 2017 at 4:48 AM

New Zealand: Maruia Falls

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I’d never even heard of Maruia Falls till we got close on March 2nd and saw signs for it. This was the widest waterfall we encountered on the trip.

In preparing today’s post I did a little research and learned, to my surprise, that Maruia Falls goes back only to 1929, when it was just 1 meter high. To find out more, you can read the page at The Encyclopedia of New Zealand and then the one that comes up after you click the Next arrow on that page.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 8, 2017 at 4:40 AM

New Zealand: views from the Interislander

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The first time on the recent trip that we took the Interislander ferry, from the North Island to the South Island on February 18th, the weather was grey. We had better luck going back across the Cook Strait to the North Island on March 3rd, as you can verify in the picture above.

And here’s a look down at the churning water alongside the ferry:

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 25, 2017 at 4:54 AM

New Zealand: Two views of Lake Wakatipu and mountains on a cloudy afternoon

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One of the things that makes Queenstown so touristy (and so hard during the summer to find accommodations in and even to park in) is beautiful Lake Wakatipu. Here are two views from the eastern shore of the lake north of Queenstown on the overcast afternoon of February 21. Notice a few residual patches of ice in the mountains even in the warmest part of the year.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 15, 2017 at 4:58 AM

New Zealand: shags on an Oamaru pier

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Click to enlarge.

We spent the night of February 27th at a B&B on a hill in Oamaru. Before settling in for the evening we went down to have a look—a rather distant and indistinct one, as it turned out—at some blue penguins coming ashore at dusk. On the way there we walked past an old wooden pier that now hosts a large colony of shags. If you’re not familiar with the shag, as I wasn’t until I photographed one during our first New Zealand visit, it’s a kind of cormorant.

The shags on the Oamaru pier that evening might have been Leucocarbo chalconotus, which zoologists recently determined to be a different species, now called the Otago shag, from the Stewart Island shag.

Plans to refurbish the pier and reopen it to people have understandably met with some opposition.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 8, 2017 at 4:54 AM

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