Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Question Everything.

with 30 comments

Question Everything 1532

Okay, here’s something different. After I’d photographed the Mexican hats you saw in the last two posts, I walked a little further down Morado Circle looking for other plants along an undeveloped stretch of land on one side of the road. Before long I noticed that someone had gone to the trouble of painting a portion of a light pole white in order to write a message on it. As you can see, the person got off to a rough begiining beginning. Too bad there wasn’t any way to move the dot of the mistaken i to the end of the sentence to make up for the missing period.

Speaking of missing things, this is supposed to be a nature photography blog, so here’s another picture of a Mexican hat, Ratibida columnifera, from that January 2nd outing. Notice how the tiny disk flowers develop from the bottom toward the top of the “thimble.” In terms of composition, I like the way the arc of amorphous yellow patches in the background echoes the predominant yellow in the subject’s ray flowers. That arc also amplifies the slight curve of the flower head’s stalk.

Mexican Hat Flower Head 1463

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 18, 2016 at 5:00 AM

30 Responses

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  1. As someone who suffers from Consonantus duplicatus (the tendency to double consonants that shouldn’t be doubled, and leave undoubled those which should), the pole-writer has all my sympathy. At least his or her inner editor caught the error.

    Along with your amorphous yellow curve and curving stalk, I like the way the red in the predominant foreground ray curves in the other direction: an echo of the Fibonacci-like spirals in the flower head.


    January 18, 2016 at 5:30 AM

    • We might say this pole vaulted you into a place consonant with your own inclinations.

      As Fibonacci-esque as the tiny disk florets are, the ray flowers apparently don’t share that property. I thought maybe the number of rays would be a Fibonacci number, but a field guide that I checked just now says the number varies from 4 to 10.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 18, 2016 at 7:53 AM

  2. English can be a tricky language, can’t it? Why is there an e in judge but not in judgment and so many other unwritten -or is it unwriten (kidding!) rules. In any case your Mexican Hat is a beauty 🙂


    January 18, 2016 at 6:28 AM

  3. Great image!


    January 18, 2016 at 7:29 AM

    • Thanks. I’m sorry for the delayed response but I just discovered that WordPress mistakenly put your comment in the spam folder. That sometimes happens to comments for no apparent reason.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 22, 2016 at 11:44 PM

  4. Love the sign AND the flower! I’ve tried to grow Ratibida columnifera here but without success – probably a soil problem.


    January 18, 2016 at 8:07 AM

    • I think it’s a sign that you should move to Texas, where the soil brings forth Mexican hats in abundance.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 18, 2016 at 8:16 AM

  5. I love your inclusion of such a thoughtful social message, some truly useful advice.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    January 18, 2016 at 12:50 PM

  6. No final period needed as “Love is Just the Beginning” and there is no end. 🙂

    Despite understanding the science, geology, and botany that allows for January flowers in Texas, it still blows my simple brain to see this as a current wild capture.

    Steve Gingold

    January 18, 2016 at 2:01 PM

    • Your first sentence is a great insight, period (and it won’t make our deductibles and premiums go way up).

      About an hour ago I passed the same little group of Mexican hats and found the plants still flowering. A while before that I’d also found my first spring-flowering species of native plants doing just that.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 18, 2016 at 2:10 PM

  7. I love those words!
    And your nice flower photo(s) 😉


    January 18, 2016 at 5:01 PM

  8. A careful composition juxtaposed with a not so careful composition. Or maybe the writer decided to take his/her cue from texting where the period is considered unfriendly. http://www.chicagotribune.com/bluesky/technology/ct-texting-period-terrible-study-20151210-story.html


    January 18, 2016 at 10:08 PM

    • Thanks for the link to that article. I’m afraid I’m an old fogey who does use punctuation in texts—not that I send many texts. It occurs to me that texting takes us back a few thousand years to the beginnings of writing systems.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 19, 2016 at 7:41 AM

      • Indeed it does. Here is an interesting piece on the use or non-use of punctuation in Ancient Greek. http://greek-language.com/grklinguist/?p=657 This was one of the aspects of Greek which both intrigued and infuriated my daughter.


        January 19, 2016 at 7:29 PM

        • I was already aware that ancient Greek and Latin was written without punctuation, and usually with the words run together. That’s why I made the comparison to texting and why I value modern punctuation. At least people who text normally separate their words.

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 19, 2016 at 10:03 PM

          • Ah, I wondered if you were referring to the Ancients in your earlier comment, but thought I would send the link in any case. Yes, thank goodness for word separation. Lifebecomesdifficultwithoutit.


            January 19, 2016 at 10:22 PM

  9. Beginning is one of those words isn’t it? Beautiful flower 😀


    January 19, 2016 at 2:14 AM

  10. I love it that you shared a bit of what you see down there. I think it is neat when people do interesting things like painting a pole so they can write a message on it.
    Like you, I admire the arc behind the flower in this photo.


    February 1, 2016 at 7:02 PM

    • I expect the City of Austin utility people aren’t thrilled when people write things on poles. This writing isn’t your run-of-the-mill graffiti, and I wonder what kind of person wrote it. There are a few places I know in my part of town where some die-hard Communists (I assume) have stenciled images of Marx and Engels on the pillars of highway bridges; I occasionally see those images when I wander down below to photograph some local creeks, as I did a few days ago.

      Yes, that arc was special for me. I’ve taken so many pictures of Mexican hats that I’m grateful when I can get a portrait that’s different in some way.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 1, 2016 at 7:52 PM

      • Communists in Texas~now there’s a thought! That will have me snickering the rest of the day. I’m glad the flowers tipped their hat to you and gave you a nice arc 🙂


        February 3, 2016 at 10:01 AM

        • The city where I live isn’t called The People’s Republic of Austin for nothing. What anyone hopes to accomplish with those stencils on bridge columns, I don’t know. If I knew how to track down the perpetrator(s), I’d be curious to find out the answer.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 3, 2016 at 10:20 AM

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