Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Nueces coreopsis alone and in combination

with 31 comments

On March 29th in Colorado County I photographed mixed colonies of Nueces coreopsis (Coreopsis nuecensis) and sandyland bluebonnets (Lupinus subcarnosus). I also got on the ground and aimed upward so I could get a different blue overhead and use it to isolate one of the Nueces coreopsis flower heads.

In the last post I noted that it’s common to hear politicians and activists bandy about the phrase “common sense.” I said it’s a loaded and misleading term because some or even many things that a majority of people believe to be common sense are easily shown to be untrue. The first example came from arithmetic, and now here’s one from chemistry.

Suppose that you have an empty one-quart clear glass container with markings on the sides so you can tell how much liquid is in the container. Now pour a measuring cup’s worth of water and then a measuring cup’s worth of alcohol into the container. How much liquid will you have in the container? “Common sense” will tell most people that 1 cup plus 1 cup equals 2 cups, but that’s not correct here. Water molecules and alcohol molecules interpenetrate somewhat, so the volume in the container will fall short of the 2-cup mark on the glass container. You’re welcome to watch a couple of cheerful kids perform the experiment.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 9, 2021 at 4:39 AM

31 Responses

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  1. Beautiful blue+yellow in both photos .. they’re a joy to behold!

    Ms. Liz

    April 9, 2021 at 4:44 AM

    • Yes, they are. We’re going out an equal distance in the opposite direction today to see what other colonies we can find.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 9, 2021 at 5:09 AM

  2. Common sense is also called “horse sense.” (humorous aside)


    April 9, 2021 at 6:55 AM

  3. Those two images started my very overcast morning with a splash of bright and beautiful color! I would say common sense is the biggest part of making it through a day for me. Everything from watching weather conditions in planning my day’s work, to fixing or patching something that breaks down, to developing new ways to achieve something in a better manner or saving time. I love the way I’m challenged and use common sense to move forth.


    April 9, 2021 at 7:54 AM

    • Glad to have sent you this happy splash of colors to liven up your overcast morning.

      You seem to make good use of common sense—and you don’t try to bamboozle people with the phrase the way politicians do.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 9, 2021 at 6:14 PM

  4. I’ve developed a real fondness for Nueces coreopsis. Whether shown in colonies or as a single flower, it really does shine. The red markings are especially attractive; it’s fun to see the different patterns from flower to flower. It’s clear that blue and yellow can please a fellow just as much as that other, occasionally dangerous, combination of red and yellow.


    April 9, 2021 at 8:09 AM

    • Now, I’m pondering this: if you combine one cup each of two certain liquids in a container that holds exactly two cups, it’s likely that your cup never will runneth over.


      April 9, 2021 at 8:12 AM

    • I’m likewise fond of Nueces coreopsis. Because they don’t grow in Austin, I have to travel an hour or so south or southeast to find some—and then they seem plentiful, at least at this time of year. I’ve thought about the red marking and have wondered whether anyone has studied the patterns. For example, do any smaller elements of the markings appear on different flower heads?

      I’d also thought that blue and yellow thrill (rather than kill) this fellow.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 9, 2021 at 6:19 PM

  5. I marvelled at the second shot. Photos taken from below especially of flowers are truly remarkable.
    If alcohol is not available, one can demonstrate the same idea by using tiny marbles and sand.

    Peter Klopp

    April 9, 2021 at 9:02 AM

    • If only lying on the ground could always lead to marvels. At least it’s often a way to get good flower portraits.
      The marbles and sand certainly show how some of the space gets filled.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 9, 2021 at 6:06 PM

  6. What a joyful combination of color!


    April 9, 2021 at 11:26 AM

  7. Now that I didn’t know, though I have struggled in the past to get someone at work to understand that you can’t just average a set of figures that are already averages. Beautiful yellow flower against the blue sky.

    • Hooray for you for knowing that you can’t average averages, and for doing your best to make other people aware of that too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 9, 2021 at 6:09 PM

  8. I’ve replicated that experiment with gin & tonic, but somehow I never remember the results.
    It seems like we’ve had quite enough of isolation, but this particular one came out great.

    Robert Parker

    April 9, 2021 at 4:16 PM

    • Your first sentence is funny—hardly surprising coming from you.
      The second picture is indeed a kind of isolation we especially welcome after a year of the other kind.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 9, 2021 at 6:10 PM

  9. […] a majority of people believe to be common sense are easily shown to be untrue. In that post and yesterday’s I gave examples of “common sense” leading to incorrect conclusions. Here’s […]

  10. Here’s another example that brought a smile this morning. If you fill a coffee pot up to the line that says “four cups,” only three cups of liquid will be in the pot post-brewing. To get four cups, it’s necessary to use five cups of water, or so little coffee that the result will be undrinkable.


    April 10, 2021 at 7:31 AM

    • I wonder whether any coffee pot manufacturers point that out in their manuals. They’re probably too busy filling up the first umpteen pages with cautions and warnings to keep from getting sued. You know, things like “Don’t drink coffee while it’s still boiling” that used to be considered common sense.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 10, 2021 at 7:51 AM

      • Isn’t that just the truth!


        April 11, 2021 at 8:42 AM

        • With household devices I’ve bought in recent years I know to just keep turning through the early pages and eventually I’ll get to a section that actually tells me how to use the thing.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 11, 2021 at 9:58 AM

  11. Blue and yellow makes you a happy fellow for the closeup as you have said before but I like the first even more with that combination of colorful blooms.

    Steve Gingold

    April 10, 2021 at 8:28 AM

    • In Austin I’ve usually relied on greenthreads to provide the yellow complement to bluebonnets, as for example last spring. The Nueces coreopsis gave me a different species to do that with for a change, one that doesn’t grown in Austin.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 10, 2021 at 8:39 AM

  12. What a beautiful flower!

    Alessandra Chaves

    April 10, 2021 at 5:53 PM

  13. […] a majority of people believe to be common sense are easily shown to be untrue. In that post and the next and yesterday’s I gave examples of “common sense” leading to incorrect […]

  14. […] a majority of people believe to be common sense are easily shown to be untrue. In that post and the next and the next and yesterday’s I gave examples of “common sense” leading to […]

  15. Gorgeous close up Steve …


    April 15, 2021 at 3:06 PM

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