Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Ant on pavonia mallow

with 24 comments

We have several pavonia mallow plants (Pavonia lasiopetala) in our yard, but I’ve never managed to get as good a portrait of one from behind as when I went walking through the Taylor Draper entrance to Great Hills Park on October 10th. The backlighting brought out patterns not apparent in a conventional view, as you can confirm by comparing a picture from 2012.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 17, 2018 at 4:44 AM

24 Responses

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  1. Beautiful Steve. It’s almost a totally different flower from this perspective.


    October 17, 2018 at 7:19 AM

    • It is indeed different from this perspective. I’m glad I took the time and trouble to lie on the ground, which I had to do to get a picture of such a low flower.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 17, 2018 at 8:00 AM

  2. lovely shot, Steve…wonderful forms of the sepals (?)


    October 17, 2018 at 8:01 AM

    • I think you’re right that those are sepals. Not until I took pictures a week ago did I realize how appealing a feature of this species its sepals can be.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 17, 2018 at 8:24 AM

  3. Even more decorative, viewed from that unusual angle.


    October 17, 2018 at 8:34 AM

    • I had to “decorate” the ground with my body to get that unusual angle. It was worth it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 17, 2018 at 8:39 AM

  4. The difference between the images is remarkable. In the earlier photo, both the flowers and the leaves seem so stiff and thick: almost as though they were cut out from construction paper, or done in clay. In this one, I especially like the translucency of the sepals. Seeing light shining through petals or leaves is fairly common, but I don’t remember seeing an entire flower glowing like this.


    October 17, 2018 at 8:41 AM

    • I just looked back at the comments on the 2012 post and was reminded of how you’d come across a mention of the Pavonia station on the PATH subway line in New Jersey. I replied that I had a personal experience with that station from 1967, when I regularly came up from underground at night and emerged into a surreal industrial wasteland. That was decades before I knew there was such a thing as a pavonia flower.

      And yes, those translucent sepals really (surreally?) do make this latest pavonia picture come alive. The watchword is:

      Go with the glow.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 17, 2018 at 10:12 AM

  5. Beautiful! And the intricate layered designs are very much more intriguing than simply looking down at a flower. Definitely worth “decorating” the ground to get the shot. Maybe you could say “bedeck” as in “hit the deck.”

    Robert Parker

    October 17, 2018 at 10:50 AM

    • Or we could sing “Deck the ground with boughs of body….”

      As much as I like pavonia mallow from the front or side (which emphasizes the stamen column), I’ll agree with you that the translucent rear view is something extra-special.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 17, 2018 at 11:16 AM

  6. I have not been good at marking my footprint here, but I do visit frequently and always enjoy what I see. The tininess and industry of the ant here led me to search out quotations about ants. Here’s one I particularly liked: An ant on the move does more than a dozing ox.
    LAO TZU, attributed, The Book of Uncommon Quips and Quotations

    Susan Scheid

    October 17, 2018 at 10:56 AM

    • It’s good of you to focus on the ant and to follow up by seeking out a related quotation. The one you cited strikes me as similar to the fable of the tortoise and the hare. Consider your footprint well marked.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 17, 2018 at 11:21 AM

  7. Nice Steve! I really like the perspective from behind!

    Reed Andariese

    October 18, 2018 at 3:50 PM

    • You’ve probably found in your photography, too, that the perspective from behind can be better than the one from the front.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 18, 2018 at 5:19 PM

  8. I love this!!


    October 18, 2018 at 8:10 PM

  9. Lovely image and colours Steve .. is that an insect that I can see?


    October 22, 2018 at 1:20 PM

    • Yes, it’s an ant. I mentioned it in the title but then never said anything about it in the post’s text. I find ants on lots of flowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 22, 2018 at 4:46 PM

  10. Silly me .. missed ant in your headline!


    October 22, 2018 at 1:21 PM

    • Ah, yes, you just caught it. The ant moved around a lot and I didn’t always catch it in a good position when I photographed the flower. In this image I did.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 22, 2018 at 4:48 PM

  11. Oh I really like this ant’s view shot. It is a real pleasure to look at a flower from an unusual perspective.


    November 11, 2018 at 10:49 AM

    • Just change my first name to Unusual and my last to Perspective. You’ll remember that I carry a mat around to cushion my frequent contacts with the ground to get a non-traditional view of things.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 11, 2018 at 10:59 AM

      • Oh yes, I remember. There are many plants that benefit from the treatment. I’ve been surprised at the number of flowers that are determinedly down-turned.


        November 12, 2018 at 8:45 AM

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