Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Two more takes on Mexican hats

with 41 comments

In 2020 I’ve made more portraits of Mexican hats (Ratibida columnifera) than in any previous year. In this vertical pair you can sense the different mood created by light clouds versus dark ones. I took the pictures in Great Hills Park on June 2nd, in both cases concentrating on flower heads with long brown central columns. The first view keeps reminding me of colorful hot air balloons over Albuquerque, New Mexico. Fortunately I didn’t even have to leave my neighborhood to see Mexican hats put on a show.

This post could serve as an add-on to the one called Hello Yellow that appeared in New Zealand earlier today.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 5, 2020 at 4:37 AM

41 Responses

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  1. Oh yes, these are bright and beautiful! In the top photo against the light blue, the Mexican hats look like they’re dancing.. what a happy photo!

    Ms. Liz

    July 5, 2020 at 4:55 AM

  2. The Mexican hats do seem to be flying in the first photo. And your photos in Hello Yellow certainly brightened our New Zealand winter. I take off my hat to you.


    July 5, 2020 at 7:26 AM

  3. I am happy you had so many Mexican hat to show us this year. Unfortunately, only a few could be found in the pecan orchard this summer. That’s how it works I suppose. Some years we see plants flourish and then they disappear. Perhaps the conditions weren’t right for germination.


    July 5, 2020 at 7:34 AM

    • I think there must have been so few Mexican hats in your pecan orchard because they all came here. An early lesson I learned when I started photographing native plants two decades ago is that the same piece of land can look very different from one year to the next on the same date. Weather is a big part of it, but maybe plants are just as ornery as some people.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 5, 2020 at 10:32 AM

  4. With all this exposure to the Mexican hat, I will have no trouble identifying this illustrious flower, if I get to see one.

    Peter Klopp

    July 5, 2020 at 8:48 AM

  5. I doff my hat at your hats. They all look like they’re dancing the hula. 🙂


    July 5, 2020 at 9:20 AM

    • I’m not sure about the hula: wouldn’t it be the Mexican hat dance?

      Before I got to your comment, I used doff in my reply to Gallivanta. Did you know that the word is a contraction of do off? Similarly, don is a contraction of do on.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 5, 2020 at 10:37 AM

      • That would certainly make more sense from a regional perspective. I didn’t see your earlier comment, so I ‘do off’ my hat to you, for your hula/ Mexican hat-dancing flowers.


        July 5, 2020 at 1:26 PM

  6. Definitely a hat dance, especially the background flowers.


    July 5, 2020 at 9:47 AM

  7. I propose a name change: Mexican Hat shall henceforth be known as flame flower.


    July 5, 2020 at 1:48 PM

  8. They look delicious!!!! 😉

    marina kanavaki

    July 5, 2020 at 2:32 PM

  9. The first is wild and certainly the hat dance comes to mind.

    Steve Gingold

    July 5, 2020 at 2:45 PM

    • Give me wildness any time. I’d like to see the Mexican hat dance performed by people using hats in the likeness of this flower.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 5, 2020 at 3:13 PM

  10. Hats off to you for this great series–leave it to you not to be targeting us with a dull and sombre arrow!


    July 5, 2020 at 5:35 PM

  11. Your part of the state seems to have won the prize for flowers this year. The second photo is especially beautiful: a reminder of the abundance that can appear when conditions are right. I see what seems to be a dewdrop or raindrop on one ray flower; an early hour or a bit of cloud may have contributed to that overall gorgeous color.


    July 6, 2020 at 7:48 AM

    • Yes, we had a pretty good spring for wildflowers, as you’ve been seeing here for months now. Mexican hats were in good supply, in addition to which I paid more attention to them than ever before. You’re the first commenter to single out the second picture, which I was especially happy with because of its dramatic look. You can see that in both portraits I did my usual thing of getting low and aiming somewhat upward. You’re correct about droplets on one of the rays; whether they were from dew or from rain, I don’t recall.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 6, 2020 at 6:07 PM

  12. These are fantastic. Beautiful. And with all of the eloquence in the comments above, I am hideously embarrassed to say that the first thought I had was, corn dog.

    Michael Scandling

    July 6, 2020 at 11:33 AM

  13. Fantastically vivid images.

    Regards Thom

    Thom Hickey

    July 7, 2020 at 11:54 AM

  14. Wow! These are wonderful … dancing flowers! Art, colour and beauty ..


    July 9, 2020 at 3:22 AM

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