Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

An unexpected yellow

with 17 comments

Yellow Insect Eggs Under Developing Mexican Hat Flower Head 9850

Near the end of May, Wanda Hill alerted me to a colony of Mexican hats, Ratibida columnifera, along Grapevine Dr. in the part of our neighborhood closer to where she lives. On May 30th I went there and spent time photographing some of the individual Mexican hats (and talking to fellow photographer Alex Suárez, who also lives in the neighborhood and happened to drive by shortly after I got there). Beneath one developing flower head I discovered the clutch of tiny eggs you see here. I don’t know what kind of insect they’re from, but on that already sunshiny morning I was happy to get an extra dose of yellow, even one this small. How small, you ask: perhaps 1/3 of an inch, or 8mm, across the whole group. Add to the yellow the blue of the sky and the rich brownish red of the ray flowers on the fully open Mexican hat behind this still green and flowerless one, and you’ve got quite a colorful combination.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 23, 2014 at 5:59 AM

17 Responses

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  1. That is a rich color set. I wonder what insect chose that spot.

    Jim in IA

    July 23, 2014 at 7:13 AM

    • I used to work primarily in black and white, but now I’m enamored of color. Don’t know the fate of the insect eggs, but the spot was a productive one for me.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 23, 2014 at 7:42 AM

  2. An inattentive predator might walk or fly right by those eggs. They certainly seem to be part of the flower. I can’t quite tell, but the eggs seem to be elongated rather than round, so one possibility would be lady bugs. I bought 5,000 as a Christmas gift one year, and got an accompanying full-color brochure along that showed every stage of their life in magnificent detail. (In case you’re wondering, you keep them in the refrigerator and release them as needed. Not every friend appreciates such a gift.)


    July 23, 2014 at 7:46 AM

  3. Outstanding!!!!

    Kathy Comer

    July 23, 2014 at 8:10 AM

    • Hi, Kathy. I can’t recall ever taking a picture like this one before. Glad you like this colorful little scene.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 23, 2014 at 9:27 AM

  4. Very colourful; almost a rainbow of colours?


    July 23, 2014 at 8:52 AM

    • Pretty close, I’d say: there’s even a few patches from the violet end of the spectrum that I hadn’t noticed till your comment.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 23, 2014 at 9:29 AM

  5. All the colors of the rainbow combined in one shot with the added bonus of “eggs under” instead of “cherry on top”! What a beautiful find, the shot is perfect and the eggs must be tiniest bunch I ever saw!


    July 23, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    • Yes, instead of eggs over easy I’d like to follow your lead and say I’ve given you eggs under easy, though it wasn’t the easiest thing to take pictures of something so small and close to the ground. But the ground is sometimes meant for lying on, as it was here; you could say that nature photographers don’t hesitate to take a position on things.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 23, 2014 at 1:05 PM

      • And the fact that you don’t hesitate to take a position, or for that matter: all kinds of positions, bring us so much closer to see and enjoy something so unbelievable and amazing! So thank you for that!


        July 23, 2014 at 9:34 PM

  6. Nice work from the prone photographer. It would be interesting to know the eggs ID. Did you try to see if anyone on BG.N could help?

    Steve Gingold

    July 23, 2014 at 5:15 PM

    • I think I was on my side rather than prone. I haven’t tried to get the eggs identified, but thanks for your reminder about BugGuide.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 23, 2014 at 8:00 PM

  7. I have got to train myself to see the possibilities of background interest in my photos. (Then I have to figure out a way to get down on the ground AND back up without the need of an assistant!) 😛


    July 26, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    • You may have heard me say that the three most important things in a photograph are background, background, and background. That’s an exaggeration, of course, but there’s truth in it. Many of my most effective pictures are taken from fairly low looking horizontally or upward. When it comes to getting back up off the ground, maybe you can go out photographing with someone who’ll lend you a hand for support or will pull you up.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 26, 2014 at 1:46 PM

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