Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A world turned upside down

with 22 comments

The post’s title may go for our human world, too, but it’s meant for this four-nerve daisy (Tetraneuris sp.) that I found along Q Ranch Rd. on May 2nd. The ray florets in these daisies normally fold back and turn from yellow to white as they age. Whether any of that process happened after the stalk got broken and the flower head was upside down, I don’t know. I do know that the fast-moving clouds and the breeze made lining things up the way I wanted difficult. As a result I took about 30 pictures from various angles, expecting that in at least a few frames both the focus and the composition would come out okay. You’re looking at one that worked for me.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 24, 2020 at 4:43 AM

22 Responses

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  1. It’s certainly been a topsy-turvy time for many of us, and the journey back toward normalcy is taking an awfully long time–as, of course, it must.


    May 24, 2020 at 5:50 AM

    • Regarding the pandemic, New Zealand is fortunate to be so relatively small and isolated that it’s been able to control the situation. Most other countries are much more interconnected, and the consequences of that are what we’d have expected.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 24, 2020 at 6:24 AM

  2. Looks like a lantern! What diligence to have taken ~30 pix! Did you happen to take any where the lens aims into the flower’s center? BTW, thanks for linking to the “Orange, black, and yellow” pic–extraordinary find and composition!

    Speaking of Q Ranch Road, that’s one of my favored ruralish paths. Occasionally have taken some pix of Mexican hats, shoal creek chaste tree, and a bank of prickly pears. Most recent visit was 5/22 for stills & vid–“Eye-caught Snippet, Prickly Pear Bank with Beez Buzzing Bloomz” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UE65N1hILY)


    May 24, 2020 at 6:42 AM

    • Yes, I did take a few where the camera looked up into the center of the flower head: [https://portraitsofwildflowers.files.wordpress.com/2020/05/aging-four-nerve-daisy-on-broken-stalk-with-clouds-6215.jpg] And yes, that was some obliging beetle I photographed on a four-nerve daisy back in 2013.

      I’ve noticed that most prickly pears that people have planted in accessible places, like the one in your link, are of the spineless variety. Presumably the planters don’t want to run the risk of getting sued if a passerby falls into a cactus full of spines.

      Q Ranch Rd. has provided me with plenty of pictures in recent years. I like your description of it as ruralish. I try to spend time there every year, and May 2nd proved fruitful this year.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 24, 2020 at 7:30 AM

      • Thanks for the image of the flower head! The curled petals remind me of hair rollers women used to sleep with. Weird that the petals roll around themselves instead of just wilting.

        Interesting about spineless types. Prickly pear plants this year don’t seem to have as nice looking pre-bloom “toes” as they did last year. Not sure if rainfall or timing affects their life cycle.


        May 24, 2020 at 9:53 AM

        • I haven’t seen many nice prickly pear flowers in the neighborhood this year. After getting a quota of good pictures near Inks Lake a month ago, I didn’t feel pressed to look for more close to home.

          I’ve never learned why the ray florets on four-nerve daisy buds fold back the way they do, nor whether it serves any purpose.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 24, 2020 at 2:23 PM

  3. Thanks to digital photography we can take so many pictures to get the one that is truly acceptable to us. In the days of the film loaded cameras that would have been an expensive proposition.

    Peter Klopp

    May 24, 2020 at 7:42 AM

    • Ah yes, I remember it well. The cost was one limitation; I also wouldn’t want to return to those years of standing in the dark for hours at a stretch and breathing chemical fumes.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 24, 2020 at 8:18 AM

  4. Absolutely worth the effort. And the juxtaposition of the incredibly soft cloud is a perfect addition.

    Michael Scandling

    May 24, 2020 at 11:38 AM

  5. The four-nerve daisy is an unknown daisy to me, apparently not found in Rhode Island. Prior to reading the post I thought the poor flower’s condition had been caused by the collapse of the stem. Upon reading in the post that the folding back and turning color is the normal progression of the flower, I was intrigued and wanted to learn more. I used the link to the April 9, 2013 post and from a comment there went back to March 8, 2012. All three of these photos are amazingly beautiful. However, I still failed to understand why they are named four-nerve, and went to my usual source of information on Wikipedia. There, as you likely could have told me had I asked, I found the explanation and that the plant is also called Bitterweed. What amused me is that the four-nerve daisy is a plant in the sneezeweed tribe within the daisy family. This has been a pleasantly entertaining and educational visit. Thank-you!


    May 24, 2020 at 5:53 PM

  6. Usually that tactic is used in wildlife photography. Guess it can apply to flower photography too.

    Steve Gingold

    May 24, 2020 at 6:00 PM

    • I almost always do at least a few takes when photographing a specimen so I can pick the one with the best focus. Under difficult conditions I usually increase the number quite a bit to try to ensure a success.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 24, 2020 at 7:48 PM

      • When I found some aquatic milkweed blooming in the depths of a dark, swampy area this week, I did the same, and came home with about fifty images of that gem on Saturday. Every one of those photos was unsatisfactory: blurry (too-slow shutter speed), harsh (flash can be iffy), dark (too-low ISO), or poorly composed (boardwalk confinement). So, I did the only reasonable thing and went back on Sunday to try some different approaches. A lot of those photos still were lacking, but I got one that’s worth publishing — and one is enough.


        May 25, 2020 at 6:37 AM

        • Now that’s devotion: going back after finding none of your pictures had worked out. As you say, all it takes is one good picture to make an outing worthwhile.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 25, 2020 at 6:52 AM

  7. It looks like Nature was fishing for a photographer’s attention!


    May 25, 2020 at 6:37 AM

  8. We are so very lucky in NZ Steve …


    May 31, 2020 at 1:17 AM

    • New Zealand’s small population and geographic isolation from the rest of the world worked in your favor.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 31, 2020 at 6:19 AM

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