Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

More yellow

with 24 comments

Maximilian Sunflower Colony Flopwering 0430A

Click for greater clarity and considerably larger size.

From the same October 6th outing that brought you a picture of a goldenrod colony comes the autumnal yellow of a colony of Maximilian sunflowers, Helianthus maximiliani, at the intersection of Grand Avenue Parkway and Black Locust Dr. in Pflugerville.

I couldn’t decide how I wanted to crop the picture. First I went for the panoramic approach above, which emphasized the arc of the leaning sunflower stalk, and then I chose an almost square format that played parallel and perpendicular rows of yellow off against more of the rich blue sky. If you have a preference for one of the two versions, you’re welcome to chime in.

Maximilian Sunflower Colony Flowering 0430B

Click for greater clarity.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 30, 2013 at 6:01 AM

24 Responses

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  1. Put my vote down in favor of the panoramic, it seems more open and less cramped than the square-cropped version. D

    Pairodox Farm

    October 30, 2013 at 6:03 AM

    • Thanks for your opinion. I’d lived with the panoramic version for several weeks before the square one asserted itself.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 30, 2013 at 6:33 AM

  2. They’re both excellent. The leaning stalk slices through the perpendicular lines of the others, nicely interrupting any symmetry. If forced to choose I’d go with the panorama shot, as the effect is more pronounced in that one.


    October 30, 2013 at 6:07 AM

    • Thanks for your seconding vote, Bill, and your analysis of why the panoramic approach seems better to you here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 30, 2013 at 6:36 AM

  3. Look at that sky! Sunflowers are huge faves of mine. That blue “backdrop” makes these photos truly stellar!


    October 30, 2013 at 7:12 AM

    • It’s raining in Austin this morning and there’s barely any light outside, Karen, but last week we had four blue-sky days in a row like the one when I took this picture near the beginning of October. Now, at the end of the month, I’m happy to report that a fair number of Maximilian sunflowers are still doing their thing. I hope you have some Maximilian sunflowers in your part of the South.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 30, 2013 at 7:25 AM

  4. I do like the panoramic view.


    October 30, 2013 at 7:38 AM

    • That makes you three out of three so far, Georgette, for my original framing. Maybe I should’ve left well enough alone.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 30, 2013 at 7:59 AM

  5. I saw one stand of these in Kansas, but didn’t see any more until I got to Texas. They filled fields and ditches between Kerrville and Columbus. Perhaps they continued for miles more, but I left the freeway at that point, preferring to avoid the Houston commute at the end of a long day of driving.

    I like the squared-off photo, myself. It makes the open, camera-facing flower on the horizontal stalk more prominent. I have a sense it’s a bit cheeky, mugging for the camera as it inserts itself into the well-ordered posing of the other flowers.


    October 30, 2013 at 7:57 AM

    • Welcome back to Texas, a heartland (judging from what you found on your trip from Kerrville to Columbus) of Maximilian sunflowers. Yours is a first leaning toward the square format, which lets anthropomorphism (and non-conformity on the part of that flower head you singled out) carry the day for you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 30, 2013 at 8:14 AM

  6. I’m voting for the second – the contrast of horizontal vs vertical, with all that gorgeous blue sky behind, is so effective.


    October 30, 2013 at 8:00 AM

    • That’s two in a row for the square format, Cathy: now the floral wind is blowing the other way. It was all that blue sky that led me to create a second version after having been happy for a few weeks with the panoramic approach.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 30, 2013 at 8:19 AM

  7. I vote for square. Cropped and closer appeals to me. I want to see more detail when possible.

    Our dead and dried up foliage is arranged in all different angles. Frost, freeze, wind and rain have done a lot. Next will be snow to weigh them down nearly flat by spring. Then, we start over.

    Yesterday while on an afternoon walk, we saw this kind of snake on the sidewalk. It is a smooth earth snake. That’s not our picture. The little thing was 6-7″ long. It was 56˚ and slow. We picked it up to look for markings. The long tongue flicked often. I put my finger tip near and it attacked. Later, we saw another.

    Jim in IA

    October 30, 2013 at 8:21 AM

    • You make three in a row now for the square format. With either cropping, a non-blog version of the picture would offer plenty of detail, as the original has 22 megapixels, rather than the half-megapixel posted here.

      On a quick reading of your comment I thought the snake was 56″ long, in which case you probably wouldn’t have picked it up.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 30, 2013 at 8:30 AM

      • No…we would have admired from afar. This little thing was about the size of a big earthworm.

        Jim in IA

        October 30, 2013 at 8:32 AM

  8. I like the panorama. Margie Roe

    Margie Roe

    October 30, 2013 at 3:56 PM

  9. This is fabulous. I like the first one with the longitudinal flower running across the vertical ones. Great framing. The colour is deeply vibrant.

    M. Firpi

    October 30, 2013 at 8:37 PM

  10. I must confess that the hot blue of the Texas sky has made me a much greater enthusiast for yellow flowers than I once was, even though I did grow up in daffodil country!


    October 31, 2013 at 5:55 PM

  11. nice !


    October 31, 2013 at 8:40 PM

  12. […] 7th I photographed a few in a field along Grand Avenue Parkway in Pflugerville. Years ago I found hundreds of these sunflowers in that field but mowing has almost wiped them out there […]

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