Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Polling comes to the copper lily

with 32 comments

On September 15th I photographed some copper lilies, Habranthus tubispathus, that recent rain had caused to spring up on an undeveloped property near the eastern end of Balcones Woods Drive. Me being me, I experimented with portraying the individual flowers in artful ways, and now you being you get the chance to say which one of the four portraits shown below you find the most appealing. I’ll announce the results in a day or two.

Of course in addition (or instead) you’re still welcome to comment about the photographs or the copper lilies themselves or about online polls or whatever other topics this post conjures up in your mind.


Copper Lily Flower 5992



Copper Lily Flower 6055



Copper Lilies Fresh and Shriveled 5988



Copper Lily Flower 6048



© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 25, 2015 at 5:05 AM

32 Responses

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  1. The third photo reminds me of a freesia. I don’t mind polls (I do mind trolls). I am wondering though why WordPress has a polldaddy. Why the Daddy? I searched for an answer without success. In the process of searching I discovered much about WordPress which I didn’t know, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automattic, including information on a book by Scott Berkun, called ‘The Year without Pants: WordPress.com and the future of work.’


    September 25, 2015 at 5:36 AM

    • After looking up freesia online, I see the resemblance. I can also understand why you don’t mind polls but do mind trolls, although that raises the question of which type of troll you mean: there’s the traditional supernatural troll of Norse mythology, and in the digital age the online sort of troll that Wikipedia describes as: “a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion, often for their own amusement.”

      Thanks for that information about Automattic, which I see created not only Polldaddy but WordPress itself. As for the book you mentioned, a 2013 Amazon description of it says: “A behind-the-scenes look at the firm behind WordPress.com and the unique work culture that contributes to its phenomenal success. / 50 million websites, or twenty percent of the entire web, use WordPress software. The force behind WordPress.com is a convention-defying company called Automattic, Inc., whose 120 employees work from anywhere in the world they wish, barely use email, and launch improvements to their products dozens of times a day. With a fraction of the resources of Google, Amazon, or Facebook, they have a similar impact on the future of the Internet. How is this possible? What’s different about how they work, and what can other companies learn from their methods?”

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 25, 2015 at 6:21 AM

      • Both types of trolls trouble me, though the online sort are easier to spot…… I think.


        September 25, 2015 at 6:39 AM

        • I’ve seen plenty of online trolls but never, as far as I know, a supernatural one. Your statement leaves open the possibility that you’ve seen both types.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 25, 2015 at 6:48 AM

          • It’s possible….. may have been a hobgoblin though.


            September 25, 2015 at 8:48 AM

            • I see from my dictionary that Hob was once a nickname for Robert, so the original hobgoblin was Robert Goblin.

              Steve Schwartzman

              September 26, 2015 at 11:54 AM

              • Apparently so. Robert makes the hobgoblin seem more friendly but as a child I was scared silly by my father’s joke, which was “Watch out for the hobgoblins in the passage.” We had very limited lighting in our house, so the passage to the bedrooms was always rather dark and therefore had great hobgoblin potential. I am glad though that he chose to tease us with hobgoblins and not the tailypo. Apparently the tailypo was told to him as a bedtime story!


                September 27, 2015 at 3:14 AM

                • That’s a new one for me: I’d never even heard of the Tailypo. The fact that a Southern pronunciation of poor is po makes me wonder if that has anything to do with the ending of Tailypo.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  September 27, 2015 at 7:11 AM

                • I don’t know at all. I hadn’t even heard of this story till my father suddenly mentioned it a couple of years ago. How it came to be told to a child in the 1920s in country New Zealand, I also do not know.


                  September 27, 2015 at 7:33 AM

  2. These are quite beautiful.


    September 25, 2015 at 5:42 AM

  3. I made a choice but it was a tough decision.


    September 25, 2015 at 6:46 AM

    • Thanks, Ken. I like the positive implication of a tough decision.

      Polldaddy provided only radio buttons for the choices. If checkboxes had been an option, people could have selected more than one picture that they were fond of.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 25, 2015 at 6:52 AM

  4. I chose number 1. I love it totally. The others are quite lovely, though.
    In Seattle there was a troll under an overpass, clutching a VW Beetle. It wasn’t a diesel Beetle, however. Sadly, it has since been defaced with graffiti and I am not sure it is even still there.


    September 25, 2015 at 8:39 AM

    • So we can say that number 1 is your number 1 choice.

      I found pictures of your Seattle troll:


      The first stick shift I ever drove was a VW beetle that someone lent me for a few hours in the spring of 1967.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 25, 2015 at 9:07 AM

      • I’m so glad to see that many people enjoyed it as my family did. Thank you for the link.
        Ah, to be driving a Beetle in the 60’s. That sounds mythical to me. If they ever get their act together I plan to buy another one, but for now it is a boring but reliable Toyota for me.


        September 25, 2015 at 9:59 AM

        • Our 1998 Toyota Avalon passed 200,000 miles some months ago and is still going strong.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 25, 2015 at 1:40 PM

          • Thank goodness at least one car company knows how to make a car that can hold up. I fully expect my car to be on the road as long as I am. Do miss my cute Beetle, though.


            September 26, 2015 at 11:23 AM

  5. Hm.m.m.m. Choose one…How? The first is absolutely gorgeous as is Number 4 but those don’t allow one to look “inside” and, of the other two, I’d say No.2 wins at that level.
    So, the upshot is – I’m not a good one for polls.

    Rana Sanders

    September 25, 2015 at 8:58 AM

    • I’m not a good one for polls either, Rana, because there are always nuances that can’t be captured in a multiple-choice question. I just thought I’d try a poll to bring a tiny bit of novelty to this blog after four years and four months of daily posts.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 25, 2015 at 9:10 AM

  6. I’m not a fan of online polls, but asked to select my favorite from your four offerings, it’s definitely the third. Your composition including the arrangement of the softened elements provides extra interest and a more satisfying overall effect. And the selective lighting is exquisite.


    September 25, 2015 at 9:16 AM

    • It’s the first poll I’ve ever tried, just to see how it would go. Did you enter your choice in the polling box at the top of the online post? I discovered that the e-mailed version of the post didn’t show the poll box at the top but only provided a link to it, so some e-mail subscribers might not have noticed it.

      The third image is different from the others because it includes some withered flowers along with the fresh one that’s the center of attention.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 25, 2015 at 1:17 PM

  7. 1, 4 and 3 are my favourites, and I too can see the resemblance to a freesia. I have tried the poll for a mix-up on my blog, but found that not many people used it, then again I don’t get the traffic on my site that you do on yours 😉
    Interesting name, copper lilies, I can see some copper veins and the buds look copperish, but the flowers look mostly yellow-gold to me. Very pretty.


    September 25, 2015 at 10:12 AM

    • I’m with you, Jude, in seeing more yellow and gold, but somebody must have seen copper for the flower to have the name that it does.

      As for the poll, we’re now more than 8 hours past the time the post went out, and not many people have voted, so your experience may prove to be mine as well.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 25, 2015 at 1:22 PM

  8. #1

    kathy henderson

    September 25, 2015 at 1:19 PM

  9. Number 1 .. 😃 with number 4 in second ..


    September 26, 2015 at 2:12 AM

  10. The first has an elegance that, combined with the lovely backgound, appeals to me the most.

    Steve Gingold

    September 26, 2015 at 3:50 AM

  11. I voted for #1, with pleasure. The connection between the flower and the background is so obvious, so close, it’s possible to see the flower as the source of the light, or as a distillation of the light already present in the world.

    I’ve not gone back to the rain lily series to check out the discussion yet, but I think this surely must be the flower my farm and ranch specialist referred to as an “orange rain lily.” In the first and fourth photos, especially, the resemblance is striking. And of course there’s your comment about them springing up after rain. It’s a beautiful flower.


    September 26, 2015 at 7:31 AM

    • The bright backgrounds (above the flower in #1, below it in #4) caught my attention as well. You’ve heard me exaggerate more than once by saying that the three most important things in a portrait are background, background, and background.

      The copper lily is almost certainly the “orange rain lily” in question. The way both of these wildflowers spring up shortly after a rain makes people think that copper lilies are just differently colored rain-lilies, even if botanists now find enough differences to put them in different genera.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 26, 2015 at 7:44 AM

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