Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Shadow as an emblem of a bird in flight

with 45 comments

Along the North Walnut Creek Trail on the morning of September 19th I looked down at a mushroom and saw a dark bird winging west. Oh, the world of illusions we live in. Casting the magic shadow spell was a straggler daisy plant, Calyptocarpus vialis.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 27, 2018 at 4:46 AM

45 Responses

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  1. Awesome 🙂


    September 27, 2018 at 4:50 AM

  2. Fabulous!


    September 27, 2018 at 5:14 AM

  3. Very deceptive!


    September 27, 2018 at 5:16 AM

  4. Very cool! takes a keen eye.

    Robert Parker

    September 27, 2018 at 6:29 AM

    • Don’t know that I can take much credit: I glanced down and there it was. But who knows: maybe my eye is keener than I thought.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 27, 2018 at 6:35 AM

  5. Amazing capture! I particularly like the textures of the mushroom, too.

    Dianne Lethcoe

    September 27, 2018 at 8:11 AM

    • To my naked eye, the mushroom was more uniformly bright. Fortunately in processing the image I was able to bring out more of the detail in the mushroom. It’s especially interesting to me how the radiating gills as they coincide with the left “wing” appear to be individual feathers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 27, 2018 at 8:20 AM

  6. I like how you see things.


    September 27, 2018 at 8:27 AM

  7. Very cool image!


    September 27, 2018 at 9:31 AM

    • Cool and unique in my experience. I’m glad I happened along when I did: a few minutes later and the shadow would have shifted.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 27, 2018 at 10:40 AM

  8. Amazing shot!


    September 27, 2018 at 9:32 AM

  9. Fleeting…good catch.

    Jim R

    September 27, 2018 at 9:50 AM

    • Fleeting is a good word for it. Given how quickly shadows shift with the movement of the sun, I’d have missed this if I’d come five minutes earlier or later.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 27, 2018 at 10:44 AM

  10. Excellent vision, Steve.

    Steve Gingold

    September 27, 2018 at 4:43 PM

  11. Such an ordinary little plant, transformed into such an extraordinary vision. I see more than the bird — I see the bird flying across a full moon. One photo like this can make a whole day.


    September 27, 2018 at 9:33 PM

    • The mushroom did look more like a bright full moon to me as I first saw it when I was standing up. A closer view with a macro lens revealed more of the mushroomy texture. If we can have a man in the moon, I guess we can have a mushroom in the moon. This picture, unique as it was, did make my day.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 27, 2018 at 11:04 PM

  12. Now that’s a cool capture Steve nature can be very deceiving at first glance !!

    Bernie Kasper

    September 27, 2018 at 10:42 PM

    • You’ve seconded both “cool” and “deceptive.” Our imaginations are pretty willing to see some things as they aren’t.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 27, 2018 at 11:06 PM

  13. A fortuitous moment captured most beautifully. The disc shape and the shadow remind me of airline logos which use birds. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airline_liveries_and_logos#Birds


    October 1, 2018 at 4:30 AM

    • That’s a fun page you linked to. I can’t say I’m surprised at how many airline logos show birds, but I was a bit surprised at how few people appear in the logos of people-movers, which is what airplanes are.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 1, 2018 at 6:35 AM

      • So true. You would think there might be a place for something like the figure heads once put on ships, although that could result in gender wars. Thinking of strange things and planes; have you seen the whale in the sky? http://www.ladbible.com/news/interesting-airbus-launch-new-beluga-xl-plane-that-looks-like-a-whale-20180720 Now that would surely cast an interesting shadow.


        October 1, 2018 at 6:45 AM

        • No, I hadn’t seen that whale of the skies. I see that an actual beluga whale is sometimes called a melonhead, and I can understand why.

          As for figureheads, I guess an airline that wanted to use them could have half be male and the other half female in order to avoid charges of discrimination. On the other hand, cynical me thinks that nothing will be a deterrent to people who want to enlist in the gender wars.

          Speaking of which, most people don’t realize that nature itself isn’t 50–50. More boys are born than girls:


          Steve Schwartzman

          October 1, 2018 at 7:14 AM

          • And to return to plants; I am always amazed by the kiwifruit vines in my garden. The male plant has an abundance of flowers. The female vine relatively few. I would guess 10 male flowers to one female flower. The pollination rate seems to be quite good though with almost every female flower resulting in a kiwifruit. It being 1.37 a.m. now I am incapable (as if I ever were) of telling you anything about ratios or probabilities re the kiwi fruit, but there is definitely a gender imbalance which in the end is fruitful.


            October 1, 2018 at 7:39 AM

            • And literally fruitful, at that. I didn’t know about that roughly 10:1 ratio in kiwi vines.

              Buenas noches to you from Texas, where it’s going on 8 in the morning of the day you’ve already lived.

              Steve Schwartzman

              October 1, 2018 at 7:49 AM

  14. A fortuitous find, Steve! A beautiful image!

    Lavinia Ross

    October 1, 2018 at 11:19 AM

    • A fortunate find, indeed. A few minutes earlier or later, and the shadow wouldn’t have been on the mushroom.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 1, 2018 at 11:43 AM

  15. I am still trying to figure out which bird might have flown over the mushroom, Steve… 😊


    October 1, 2018 at 10:42 PM

  16. that is a fantastic capture! wow! gold star for you today!!!

    Playamart - Zeebra Designs

    October 2, 2018 at 2:21 PM

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