Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Cost of a buttercup

with 30 comments

What this gialloscuro take on one buttercup (Ranunculus sp.) in front of another cost me was a more-than-an-hour drive to a roadside on FM 366 west of the little town of Cost in Gonzales County on March 19th. And speaking of this kind of flower, you’re welcome to listen without cost to “I’m Called Little Buttercup” as sung in a 2014 production of H.M.S. Pinafore by Gilbert and Sullivan Austin.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 30, 2021 at 4:44 AM

30 Responses

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  1. Great shot of the buttercup, very cheerful and nice texture on the petals. I’ll pass on the song though.

    Robert Parker

    March 30, 2021 at 6:34 AM

    • You say you’ll pass on the song but you don’t say who you’ll pass it on to. And yes, yellow is such a cheery color.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 30, 2021 at 7:02 AM

      • I’ll pass the song on to Linda Ronstadt.

        Robert Parker

        March 30, 2021 at 7:35 AM

        • Too bad she didn’t star in a production of H.M.S. Pinafore around the same time she did in Pirates of Penzance. Now it’s too late.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 30, 2021 at 8:22 AM

          • Yeah, it’s a shame her singing career was cut off prematurely, and that they’ve got no cures for her condition, very sad.

            Robert Parker

            March 30, 2021 at 8:57 AM

            • Yes it is very sad. I saw her perform live only once, in Charlotte, North Carolina, in around 1975.

              Steve Schwartzman

              March 30, 2021 at 9:27 AM

  2. Bright and beautiful. Yellow is the happiest color to me. Singing is another happiness in life. I’m not a very talented singer, but out here with nature as my stage, the wild things don’t seem to mind when I sing while I work.


    March 30, 2021 at 7:44 AM

    • “All things bright and beautiful.” I agree with you, and have often thought my favorite color is probably yellow. As for singing, I’m afraid some of the wild things would indeed mind if I started croaking while out in nature.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 30, 2021 at 8:25 AM

  3. Beautiful. I think it was worth the drive. 🌺

    Melissa Ratner

    March 30, 2021 at 1:09 PM

    • I do too. Yesterday we drove even farther afield in our wildflower quest, covering 230 miles round trip.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 30, 2021 at 1:20 PM

  4. Great composition and sharp as a knife.


    March 30, 2021 at 2:22 PM

  5. A long drive but the result looks well worth it! An absolutely gorgeous photo!

    M.B. Henry

    March 30, 2021 at 2:24 PM

  6. Your coinage of ‘gialloscuro’ reminded me of Galliano, that herb-infused, sunshine-colored drink that was such a staple of 1960s socializing. The color of the buttercup isn’t quite the same, but it’s close enough. I prefer the sharpness of your photo to the sweetness of the liqueur.

    In Cost, did you happen to take the road (marked 95) that leads from the historical marker on the highway down to the spot near the Guadalupe where the flags and a plaque commemorate the ‘first shot’? That’s one of the places I found fringed puccoon in the past, and white larkspur. If you stopped at the highway marker, was the mountain laurel budding or blooming?


    March 30, 2021 at 10:28 PM

    • Strange to say, I never did follow 95 down to the river, in 2019 or this year, because I didn’t realize it goes to the river. That’s plain enough on the map now, but I didn’t notice it till now. As for Texas mountain laurel, I’ve seen not a single one blooming this year, whether at the monument or in Austin, where it’s often planted as an ornamental. Maybe I just haven’t been in the right places, or the February freeze caused those trees to put off blooming till next spring. In a normal year I’ve seen them blossoming as early as late February.

      One thing that makes gialloscuro less like Galliano is the pronunciation. I should have mentioned in last year’s post that gi is the Italian way of designating the sound that j has in English. In fact I just went back and added a note to that effect.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 31, 2021 at 6:28 AM

  7. A beautiful example of gialloscuro, Steve. Buttercups are among my favorites! They are another one of those blooms that seems to sine with an inner light.

    Lavinia Ross

    April 1, 2021 at 9:31 PM

    • That was supposed to be shine, not sine, but they are radiating at a high frequency. 🙂

      Lavinia Ross

      April 1, 2021 at 9:35 PM

      • A clever comeback! This former math teacher will never object to sines, and could have cosigned your comment.

        Steve Schwartzman

        April 1, 2021 at 10:09 PM

        • I wish I had taken math from a teacher like you. I learned enough from a functional standpoint to get through college, but never enjoyed it.

          Lavinia Ross

          April 3, 2021 at 11:48 AM

    • I’m glad you appreciate the gialloscuro. Yellow is such a cheerful color, and the surrounding darkness makes it shine all the more.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 1, 2021 at 10:11 PM

  8. Your angle accentuates the turned up petals here. Nice!


    April 5, 2021 at 12:24 PM

  9. The flower is a beauty and the angle shows it well. A little twist on the old complaint, “I drove for an hour and all I got was this picture of a buttercup”. I hope you got a t-shirt saying so.

    Steve Gingold

    April 8, 2021 at 5:59 PM

    • Unlike some other wildflowers that I do have to travel an hour to see, this species grows in Austin, but I’ve never found one here aligned as nicely with another one behind it and a darker area beyond that.

      As for that T-shirt, it’s a good suggestion.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 8, 2021 at 8:07 PM

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