Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘woods

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

Muir Woods National Monument

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Four years ago today we drove along Muir Woods Rd. north of San Francisco, where I stopped in the cloud forest to take pictures of the lichen- and moss-covered trees.

Then we pushed on to the Muir Woods National Monument, which the other pictures in this post show.

I’d rather not have visited such a popular place on a weekend. That said, when you’re traveling you can’t afford to sit out two days, so thither we went on a Saturday morning.

With judicious aiming and timing I managed to keep my pictures free from all traces of the crowds.

I was sorry to hear that on Christmas Eve in 2019 a man walking in this park was killed when a redwood tree fell on him.

Related quotation for today: “When we try to pick out anything by itself we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken, to everything in the universe.” — John Muir in his journal in 1869. In 1911 he offered a shorter version in My First Summer in the Sierra: “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” In addition to those two authentic quotations, various incorrect versions circulate on the Internet.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 29, 2020 at 4:39 AM

A young greenbrier

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Walking in the woods in northwest Austin on April 26th I spied a young greenbrier vine (Smilax bona-nox) with an interestingly shaped new leaf at the top. Light filtering through the trees illuminated the leaf and I realized that if I scrunched down behind the vine I might get the translucence that backlighting often produces. So that’s what I did and that’s what you see.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 13, 2020 at 4:19 AM

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Reptile-textured tree stump remains

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This reptile-textured tree stump fascinated me in
John Bryan State Park near Yellow Springs, Ohio, on July 21.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 2, 2019 at 4:49 AM

Two pointy things of different size

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A mound in the forest at John Bryan State Park near Yellow Springs, Ohio, on July 21 made me think I was looking once again at the ruins of a Mayan pyramid that the Central American jungle had reclaimed.

The green on this drying leaf I found when we were about to leave the park seemed unaccountably vivid.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 30, 2019 at 4:37 AM

Perspectives

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On April 21st, in the broad V between Scotland Well Dr. and Spicewood Springs Rd., I walked beside and through parts of a tributary of Bull Creek. People who don’t live in Austin, along with some who do, are surprised to learn that we have landscapes like this, which many associate with forests much further north. In the first image, the tree that had fallen completely across the creek became my main object of interest.

As a photographer I often present a scene from different viewpoints. In this case I walked forward from where I took the first picture, stepped over the downed tree, and became fascinated by the algae that the creek’s current swept into long strands that warranted the vertical orientation of the second photograph. I took both pictures with my lens zoomed all the way out to 24mm to encompass as much of each scene as possible.

If you’re interested in the craft of photography, the newly added point 31 in About My Techniques pertains to these two pictures.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 24, 2019 at 4:45 AM

A different view along Bull Creek

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The morning of December 19th followed that of the 18th by also coming up misty and with barely any breeze, so out I went for the second morning in a row to take pictures. This time I wandered along trails a few miles from home in the part of the Lower Bull Creek Greenbelt accessed from Winding Ridge Boulevard (a short, straight, narrow road that doesn’t wind along a ridge and isn’t a boulevard). While Austin is hardly known as a scenic nature destination, some places here surprise visitors with their attractiveness, and this is one of them.

The creek itself looked greener that morning than I remembered it, perhaps a consequence of the overcast skies that also kept the bright white band of rock from blowing out the photograph’s highlights. The rock layers are limestone, as I presume is the boulder, a much closer view of which you’ll find below. The Ashe juniper (Juniperus ashei) tree to the left of the boulder in the top photo appears brownish due to myriad tiny cones that are about to release the airborne pollen that afflicts on many people something called cedar fever—cedar being the colloquial misnomer for this juniper, and fever being the colloquial misnomer for the strong allergic reaction that nevertheless doesn’t cause any fever.

Oh, did I mention that Bull Creek looked green?

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 21, 2018 at 4:37 AM

A different kind of arc

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Unlike the low arcs of the little bluestem seed heads that appeared here last time, the arc in today’s photograph is tall and wooden and frames the bright red leaves of a young Texas red oak (Quercus buckleyi). Contrasting with the red leaves are those of a greenbrier vine (Smilax spp.) that had climbed up not only onto the young oak but also into the taller bare trees on both sides of it. I photographed this pleasant landscape along the Brushy Creek Trail East in Round Rock on December 2nd. Below is another oak I looked up to about 20 minutes earlier, when we’d just begun to follow that section of the trail.

Click to enlarge.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 20, 2018 at 4:44 AM

Confluence of two Bull Creek tributaries

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Confluence of Bull Creek Tributaries 8662

Let me boost my L.Q. (landscape quotient) with this scene from the Bull Creek watershed on October 31. You’re seeing the confluence of two tributaries of Bull Creek as they looked after heavy rain the previous day and again in the overnight. Notice the hardy sycamore sapling (Platanus occidentalis) seemingly growing out of the limestone where the two creeks meet. If your eyes could glance upstream along the creek on the left (which they can), and then follow the water around the bend for a while (which they can’t), you’d have a view of the waterfall I showed you last week.

Between my previous visit to this spot and the current one, somebody (or somebodies) had defaced the upper part of the rocks at the V between the creeks, so I used a bit of digital magic to return those marred rocks to a natural state.

For more information about Bull Creek, including a look at a scenic postcard from 1916, you can check out the relevant Wikipedia article.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 11, 2015 at 5:00 AM

What sunlight through the forest canopy revealed in a new place

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Ball Moss on Slender Branch 3980

Click for better clarity and quality.

The place was a newly opened section of the Violet Crown Trail north of US 290, where the sunlight coming through the forest canopy on the morning of September 2nd lit up the lower of two ball mosses, Tillandsia recurvata. Next to the highlighted ball moss—which is no moss—a dry leaf rotated in the breeze at the end of a long strand of spider silk; here, at the right moment in its cycle, the leaf was fully backlit. Some of the leaves overhead, likewise illuminated, glowed green across the top of the image.

You can read more about the new section of the Violet Crown Trail in an article by Pam Leblanc (who was a calculus student of mine more than 30 years ago).

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 5, 2015 at 5:10 AM

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