Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Yellow in a photograph and yellow implied in words

with 42 comments

Above is a view from below of an Engelmann daisy (Engelmannia peristenia) flower head along Great Northern Blvd. on March 13th. Note the tiny insect, which I don’t remember seeing at the time I took the picture. Maybe we should stop saying “as blind as a bat” and start saying “as blind as a photographer.”

Below is a view from above of some adjacent Engelmann daisies. In both pictures, notice the notch at the tip of each ray flower.

The unrelated “yellow implied in words” that this post’s title alludes to comes from a multiply alliterative sentence in Tom Standage’s 2009 book An Edible History of Humanity, which I’m reading now: “A cultivated field of maize, or any other crop, is as man-made as a microchip, a magazine, or a missile.”

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 18, 2018 at 4:44 AM

42 Responses

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  1. Thank you, well said and shown.

    Lynn Somerstein

    March 18, 2018 at 6:10 AM

  2. Love daisies and yellow ones are so cheerful 🙂


    March 18, 2018 at 7:29 AM

    • Botanists over here use the initials DYC for “darned yellow composites,” given that we have so many kinds of yellow daisy-type flowers. DYC could also follow your sentiments and stand for “delightful yellow cheer.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 18, 2018 at 10:18 AM

  3. Dad planted maize. His rows were never as straight as those of his young neighbor. Dad told him you get more corn in a crooked row.

    Jim R

    March 18, 2018 at 7:36 AM

    • What farmers plant now is a far cry from the original Mexican teosinte that got turned into maize over centuries of selective breeding. Whether that development went in a mostly straight line or followed a crooked path, I don’t know. That aside, do you know whether plant scientists have done research on the advantages and disadvantages of planting corn in crooked rows?

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 18, 2018 at 10:24 AM

  4. Very pretty! Those must be a welcome sight!
    I can relate to “blind as a photographer”. About a decade ago I returned home from a hike during which I took some photos of a very pretty section of river. When I downloaded them to the computer I discovered, right in the middle of one picture was a black bear that I had not seen when I took the picture.


    March 18, 2018 at 9:19 AM

    • They are a welcome sight each spring. Beyond the bright flowers, the lobed leaves feel pleasantly soft to the touch.

      Maybe it’s just as well for your nervous system that you didn’t notice that black bear at the time.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 18, 2018 at 10:43 AM

      • Well, I got a good close look at the bear about ten minutes after the picture was taken and after stalking him for a bit got a couple pictures of him then.


        March 18, 2018 at 12:15 PM

  5. Missile? hmmm. Well, it does sort of make one think.


    March 18, 2018 at 11:13 AM

  6. Very colorful and a welcome sight this time of year! Spring is coming.

    Reed Andariese

    March 18, 2018 at 1:34 PM

    • May it come soon for you. I’m sure you’re tired of winter by now, especially after three recent storms in the Northeast.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 18, 2018 at 4:12 PM

  7. Your post inspired me to get out and about yesterday to see if I could find some explicit yellow. I’d already noticed a few yellow flowers that appear to be greenthread, but I saw them at 40 mph, and there wasn’t any convenient way to stop and explore.

    I never found any yellow flowers, so your cheerful examples will have to do for the time being. I didn’t find any maize, either, but I was amazed to find myself waylaid by the Buddha. It never hurts to take a new route, or to have good peripheral vision.


    March 19, 2018 at 7:17 AM

    • Too bad you didn’t find any fellow yellow flowers. I’m with you in expecting some greenthread to have come out by now near you, as has been the case over here, especially given the jump you had on us a few weeks ago.

      I finally tracked down your reclining Buddha in the slow-to-open (because so full of photographs) post at:


      Some of the other strangeties (to coin a term, and to pronounce it in three syllables, like strategies) in the post might become future destinations as you ramble this way and that way.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 19, 2018 at 8:04 AM

      • Ah, but not Sugarland. Santa Fe, instead. It’s much closer to home.


        March 19, 2018 at 8:09 AM

        • I just realized I’ve never seen that “castle” in Santa Fe, either. I always go around the town, but road construction led to the detour. Sometimes construction can be a good thing.


          March 19, 2018 at 8:13 AM

          • I checked a map and I see how close Santa Fe is to you. I bet now you’ll make a point of stopping by the castle. Maybe a post about Santa Fe is in order.

            Steve Schwartzman

            March 19, 2018 at 9:09 AM

  8. Beautiful images. I empathize with what Tom Standage says in his book. Are crops essentially ‘domesticated’, simply because they have been ‘cultivated’? What is this meaning of ‘domestication’ as far as crops of food go? Apparently, they are indeed, as with the example of ‘maize’ in the book. I was able to read an excerpt in Amazon, and now I think it’s worth buying.

    Hey, you’re an author! You have your Math book still out in print! That’s really interesting!


    March 19, 2018 at 4:37 PM

    • Yes, Standage’s book is worth getting. I ordered a used copy online. I was sorry to see that it had been discarded by the Las Vegas–Clark County Library even though the library acquired the book only nine years ago, when it was published. Oh well, Nevada’s loss was my gain.

      And yes, my math dictionary is still in print, but the publisher now sells digital copies, so I no longer make more than a few dollars a year—not that I ever made a lot from the printed copies, either.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 19, 2018 at 5:10 PM

      • Well, perhaps what I like the most about digital books is that they may contribute to less deforestation (which is also relative because more electronic devices are then manufactured to read the books which in turn also pollute the environment even more), although I’m also sorry for your financial loss. Books are books, and they don’t require electricity to use, which is a virtue these days.


        March 19, 2018 at 5:20 PM

        • Like most things, there are arguments on both sides. In fact there are usually more than just two “sides.”

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 19, 2018 at 5:34 PM

          • I agree! Finding a ‘happy medium’ is also convenient I suppose. For example, the issue with ‘paper’ coming from trees has lessened over the years due the advances in the recycling industry. Many papers are now made from recycled fibers, which is great to hear. Years ago, however, this used to be a huge controversy.


            March 19, 2018 at 6:01 PM

  9. The yellow pops against the blue sky! I had to look for that tiny bug .. great shot. 🙂


    March 23, 2018 at 1:45 PM

    • Glad you like the pop, Julie. As you’ve read, I didn’t even notice the little insect at the time.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 23, 2018 at 4:24 PM

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