Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

More resemblances from Mt. Rushmore

with 17 comments

In a post a couple of weeks ago you saw the naturally sculpted remains of a tree that had resonances of the carved rocks at Mt. Rushmore. Elsewhere at the national monument the resemblance went the other way. As I see it, this photograph of rocks could be a close-up of a tree trunk:

In the pareidolia department, does this other formation seem to any of you, as it does to me, like the blunted image of a face?

And in the back-to-reality department, notice the two sapling pine trees growing out of the rocks, one on each side of the “head” (the sapling on the right is hard to see at this size).

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 24, 2017 at 4:55 AM

17 Responses

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  1. “Pareidolia” is a great word to know. If I squint, I see the face of Squidward, from the SpongeBob cartoon, but I guess Jimmy Durante would be runner-up.

    Robert Parker Teel

    July 24, 2017 at 8:49 AM

    • I’ve resorted to the useful word pareidolia several times here since I learned it over a year ago. I don’t know the SpongeBob cartoon, but I can certainly picture (and hear) Jimmy Durante. My own vision is more like the Indian on the old nickels that still circulated when I was a kid. The pine sapling on the left of the rock formation fills in for one of the feathers in the Indian’s hair.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 24, 2017 at 9:03 AM

      • I wondered who that was on the nickel – – the article I found said the image may be a composite of three men (I wonder why?). One might have been John Big Tree, a Seneca, who’s buried south of Syracuse on the Onondaga reservation. I can see the sapling as a feather, or Roman wreath.

        Robert Parker Teel

        July 24, 2017 at 9:17 AM

        • Maybe living near Seneca Lake makes you think of Seneca, the Roman philosopher and writer, and then of a Roman wreath.

          My guess is that if three models contributed to the figure on the nickel, the designer must have liked a certain feature that each had that the others lacked.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 24, 2017 at 11:40 AM

  2. I see an old Native American chief, and a feather adornment. That eye of his seems to follow one everywhere!


    July 24, 2017 at 9:45 AM

    • I hope you independently saw the Indian chief and feather. I didn’t mention in the text of the post that that’s how I see this formation, but I did mention it in my reply to the first comment.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 24, 2017 at 11:44 AM

  3. Yes, I see face (profile), head, and neck – cool.


    July 24, 2017 at 8:09 PM

    • Pareidolia is alive and well in Massachusetts: good for you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 24, 2017 at 8:57 PM

      • A new word for me – thanks for the link to the definition in your post…


        July 24, 2017 at 9:10 PM

        • The eid in pareidolia is the same eid that’s in kaleidoscope. It means ‘to see,’ as in the related word video.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 24, 2017 at 9:23 PM

          • I wondered about the etymology- the root is actually the Greek eidos for form, in kaleidoscope and eidetic as well. You meld a form in your mind to what you see in the photo in order to perceive the face.


            July 26, 2017 at 7:23 PM

            • As Greek developed in the times before the Classical era, the language lost its w. Stick that w back on in front of eid-, and it’s easy to see the relationship to Latin video (and we have to remember that the Romans pronounced the letter v the way we pronounce w). The reason Greek eidos meant ‘form’ is that, etymologically speaking, form is what we see when we look at a thing. The native English cognate is wit, which has gone off in a different semantic direction.

              Steve Schwartzman

              July 26, 2017 at 7:30 PM

  4. The first thing I spotted was the pair of trees, and I saw them as brooms: one large, like a floor broom, and the smaller one a whisk broom. Maybe it’s my subconscious telling me it’s time to clean house.

    The broom imagery did call to mind a proverb I grew up with: “The new broom sweeps clean, but the old broom knows the corners.”


    July 24, 2017 at 8:30 PM

    • The second part of that proverb needs to come out of the corners because it’s less well known. Broom, by the way, was originally (and still is) the name of a plant. Now it’s the use to which that plant was put that has become the word’s most common meaning.

      Good for you for seeing both saplings at this resolution. The original has much more detail that makes the smaller sapling easier to notice. In both cases the young trees appeared to be growing right out of the rock.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 24, 2017 at 8:49 PM

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