Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Still golden after all these weeks*

with 21 comments

Click for greater clarity.

Now I get to tell you that as of today, January 6, the solitary goldeneye plant growing wild on a low limestone embankment by the side of Morado Circle in my Great Hills neighborhood has kept on flowering. Every day for weeks I’ve looked to see whether the little daubs of yellow have still been there, and so far I haven’t been disappointed. You’ve seen this fall-blooming species before, on October 19 and more closely on October 20, but never as closely as now, in a photograph that comes from some roadside sitting I did on December 28.

I like to show different stages in the development of a plant, and even more than one stage simultaneously, as here. The stylized star-shaped remains of the seed head in the foreground are characteristic of many plants in the sunflower family, while the daisy-like flower heads of Viguiera dentata also identify it as a member of that large family. That the radiating floral yellow in the background is a softer echo of the dried-out central form is a pictorial bonus.


* The title is reminiscent of Paul Simon’s song “Still Crazy After All These Years,” which some might be tempted to apply to the photographer rather than the songwriter.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 6, 2012 at 5:11 AM

21 Responses

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  1. Beautiful… so beautiful. Thank you dear Steve, have a nice day and weekend, with my love, nia


    January 6, 2012 at 6:27 AM

  2. This is a great capture, Steve. I love the detail in the seed pod, and the artistic composition with the background flower. Cheers!!


    January 6, 2012 at 10:25 AM

  3. No crazy? No art. Stay crazy! Another excellent seed-head. Leaves me starry-eyed.


    January 6, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    • I read your “Stay crazy” as “star crazy,” and then I thought stir-crazy.” But all’s well that ends well, and “starry-eyed” is an excellent way to end up.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 6, 2012 at 3:31 PM

  4. Steve (above) has pretty much nailed my comments. Very nice job of creatively composing Steve.

    Steve Gingold

    January 6, 2012 at 4:11 PM

  5. The foreground stands out so well it almost looks 3D.


    January 6, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    • Maybe it’s a carry-over from the days long ago when I did 3D photography with an old Stereo Realist camera.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 6, 2012 at 4:28 PM

  6. Really unique shot. Great idea.


    January 6, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    • Thank you. When you’re that close with a macro lens, even without much of a breeze, it seems like everything is moving. I found it difficult to get the two stages of the flower lined up the way I wanted, and in most of the pictures the alignment wasn’t quite right. What you see here was one of the few successes.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 7, 2012 at 7:15 AM

  7. chuckle chuckle…botanizing and photographing certainly can make us feel like we’re crazy, don’t they?



    January 7, 2012 at 4:50 PM

  8. Beautiful!!


    January 15, 2012 at 2:04 PM

  9. Superb. Love the idea of centering the hard pointy object in the middle of the softer, fuller one to provide visual structure as well as a sense of the passage of time..


    January 15, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    • Thank you. As I believe you read in my list of techniques, I like to play off one stage of a plant against another. In this case the dry remains in the center are a foreshadowing of what will become of the still-fresh flower head behind it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 15, 2012 at 10:58 PM

  10. […] keep flowering through December and January and now even the beginning of February. One of those is goldeneye, and the other is the type of mistflower that botanists call Ageratina havanensis. You last saw it […]

  11. […] Just as it’s true that “Not all that glitters is gold,” it’s also true that not all that doesn’t glitter isn’t gold (there can be dull gold, for example). Well, I’m here today to tell you that, in spite of a seeming lack of resemblance, the plant that you saw blossoming on August 9 and in a later stage on November 23, marsh fleabane, Pluchea odorata, is a member of the same botanical family as sunflowers, asters, thistles, tatalencho, mistflowers, and Mexican devilweed. Many of the insect-pollinated plants in this huge group share a trait: after their flower heads go to seed, they turn fluffy, like a dandelion (which, though not native to the Americas, also belongs to this family). Today’s picture is a much closer view than the previous one of marsh fleabane, and it reveals that before the plant turns gray it can retain some of its red floral color even as it dries out and gets fuzzy. The receptacle that is revealed at this time appears to many people as the conventionalized sunburst or starburst that is another widely shared family trait. (You saw a variation on the theme in a photograph of goldeneye.) […]

  12. […] cold weather of December signals the species to stop flowering, though a few individual plants may linger on into January. I say normally, because in January and February of 2012 we didn’t really have a winter, and […]

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