Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Sometimes a right angle is the right angle

with 37 comments

How about this curiously flexed rain-lily (Cooperia drummondii) that I found at the Doeskin Ranch on April 8th? And before anyone gets all bent out of shape by the flower in the picture not quite living up to the post’s title, yes, I realize that the angle here is a little less than 90°. I claim geometricopoetic license.

I also claim—and I think you’ll agree—that this is quite a different take on a rain-lily from the March 26th one that appeared here not so long ago.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 20, 2020 at 4:40 PM

37 Responses

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  1. Squirrel!! (I hope you saw Pixar’s “Up!”–if not, Google Doug from Up, that’ll help. Great shot!!


    April 20, 2020 at 5:04 PM

    • So you think a squirrel bent the flower stalk? I didn’t see Pixar’s “Up,” and although I did the search you suggested I didn’t turn up anything that seemed related to this bent rain-lily. Can you explain?

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 20, 2020 at 6:07 PM

      • First, you MUST see “Up”–don’t be fooled, Pixar productions are many-layered, definitely not just for children. Have some tissues handy for the first 10 minutes. Seriously.

        In “Up” there’s a character named Dug the dog. Well, actually, there are quite a few dogs in the story. But they all stop, when they or someone says “squirrel!”–and many things happen when they lose concentration so completely. I guess it’s a kind of non-sequitur, but the immediate halt and turn with the word “squirrel!” was what I thought of with that lily. Maybe a squirrel did turn the lily, they’re always up to no good.

        Try this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSUXXzN26zg


        April 20, 2020 at 6:31 PM

        • Without your explanation I never could have figured out the reference to halting and turning.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 20, 2020 at 9:12 PM

          • I think I see things differently from most people. I have to explain myself way too often.


            April 20, 2020 at 9:35 PM

  2. Excellent picture.


    April 20, 2020 at 5:32 PM

  3. A lily of a day
    Is fairer far in May
    Although it fall and die that night
    At least it wasn’t bent to the right

    That’s from 1st year English class, Ben Jonson. Just bent the rhyme a little bit.

    Robert Parker

    April 20, 2020 at 6:28 PM

  4. Yes!!! No problem focusing on this beautiful rain-lily, Steve!

    Peter Klopp

    April 20, 2020 at 9:37 PM

    • In fact I found focusing on this rain-lily pretty easy because much of it lies in approximately the same plane.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 20, 2020 at 9:41 PM

  5. It’s plain your (thought) train stayed mainly in the plane.


    April 21, 2020 at 2:14 AM

  6. Great shot and not seen a lily like that. But at first glance my immediate thought was ‘Concorde’….. You may not recall Concorde but it was that supersonic Transatlantic Plane. An icon but sadly now to be found only in Air Museums.


    April 21, 2020 at 3:18 AM

  7. My first thought was of a tornado siren. I’m not sure what warning a floral siren might sound: perhaps the approach of a storm of photogrpahers?

    I know I just don’t ‘get’ a lot of things when it comes to math, but I saw the angle as more than ninety degrees. I finally decided it’s a matter of perspective. You’d raise the flower up to get the ninety degree angle, while I saw gravity pulling it down, beyond ninety degrees.


    April 21, 2020 at 6:02 AM

    • It’s good you included a link to a picture of a tornado siren; otherwise I’d have had no idea what one looks like. Fortunately the storm of cars and visitors was mostly in the parking lot at the Doeskin Ranch. Once on the trails I avoided all but a few people, and those I kept a distance from.

      An old riddle asked how far someone could walk into a forest. The answer was half-way, because beyond that the person would be walking out of the forest. Measuring the angle in this photograph is similar. You measured the angle starting with the rain-lily’s presumed original vertical position and going clockwise. Along the way you hit 90° and went a little further. I measured the angle remaining to bend all the way down to the bottom, which is a little less than 90°.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 21, 2020 at 6:13 AM

  8. Elegant. And I second the recommendation for “Up.“

    Michael Scandling

    April 21, 2020 at 10:27 AM

    • It occurs to me that the seconding of a recommendation could be called a secommendation.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 21, 2020 at 10:32 AM

      • Just a sec. I’ve gotta think about that.

        Michael Scandling

        April 21, 2020 at 10:36 AM

        • I’d say “sec” is too much of a shortening of the term, and apt to be confused with a French dry wine.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 21, 2020 at 11:31 AM

          • Yes, but that’s what I was thinking of. Unabbreviated it is “let me slip on some wine while I think about this.”

            Michael Scandling

            April 21, 2020 at 1:45 PM

            • If you do slip on some wine, I hope you’ll maintain your balance and then clean up the wine so nobody else slips on it.

              Steve Schwartzman

              April 21, 2020 at 1:58 PM

              • I dictated through Siri. It’s Siri who needs to watch it. But I need to watch Siri better. I think Siri is a lush.

                Michael Scandling

                April 21, 2020 at 2:09 PM

                • I’ve photographed some lush vegetation so maybe I should photograph Siri.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  April 21, 2020 at 2:24 PM

                • Being ephemeral, she’s kind of hard to find. But if you do manage to get a picture of her, send me a copy so I can throw darts at her image.

                  Michael Scandling

                  April 21, 2020 at 2:31 PM

                • Be careful, though. If you throw darts you’ll be a darter, and the dictionary identifies a darter as ‘a fish-eating bird of warm inland waters having a long flexible neck and slender sharp-pointed bill.’

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  April 21, 2020 at 2:59 PM

                • Busted.

                  Michael Scandling

                  April 21, 2020 at 3:24 PM

  9. Reminds me of the solitude that we are experiencing, which with optimism will lead forward to a newly impassioned world. Hope that you are well and safe.


    April 21, 2020 at 11:08 AM

    • Same to you, Sally. I haven’t managed to go for any of the longer drives I’d usually take at the peak of the Texas wildflower season, but I have gone out picture-taking eight times in April so far, mostly no more than a few miles from home. The native plants know nothing about coronavirus; they just keep on doing what they always do at this time of year, and that’s encouraging.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 21, 2020 at 11:29 AM

  10. There’s one in every crowd. Just a little personal independent expression…why be normal?

    Steve Gingold

    April 21, 2020 at 4:54 PM

    • In my two decades of photographing rain-lilies, I don’t remember another one that was bent this way—definitely a new slant on things.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 21, 2020 at 5:04 PM

  11. Well, I can honestly say that’s something I’ve never seen before. Almost looks like a portable blow torch or flame thrower.

    Todd Henson

    April 21, 2020 at 6:19 PM

    • Such an unusual posture for a rain-lily (I’d never seen the likes of it) conjured up a tornado siren and now you’ve added a blowtorch or flame thrower.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 21, 2020 at 6:28 PM

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