Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 23 comments


The American style of numerical dates puts the month number first, followed by the day number and then the year, or more often the year’s last two digits, with a slash separating each piece from each adjacent piece. Today is therefore 11/12/22. But what’s a slash between friends? Eliminate the slashes and you get 111222, in which the arithmetician notes a pleasant pattern. Given the reality that we have just 12 months in our year, 111222 is the only such sequence we can derive from an American date. 22/23/33 would require at least 22 months in a year, and I haven’t heard any calls to expand beyond the current 12 months.



What does this arithmetico-calendrical rambling have to do with today’s photographs? Only that the pictures are making their debut here on 11/12/22. If you can come up with any other connection, let us know.



This post’s real title should be something like “Looking down at Sandstone Bluffs,” which as the two previous posts revealed, is in the El Malpais National Monument in west-central New Mexico. Not that “looking down” meant I flew over the bluffs; no, just by looking down at the ground from eye level I found many interesting designs, textures, and colors in the sandstone I was walking on or close to. I’ve interspersed four of them in this little disquisition on dates and numbers.



© 2022 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 12, 2022 at 4:29 AM

23 Responses

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  1. We were talking about coincidence the other day…. well, I just opened this post at 11 minutes past twelve (midday) here. 12:11pm


    November 12, 2022 at 5:14 AM

  2. Maybe because Thanksgiving is approaching, some of these shots look like baked goods. I guess if there was a basaltic lava flow overtop them, there’s probably a layer of quartzite where the sandstone got baked. So 11/11 might be cooking instructions, Leaven! Leaven!

    Robert Parker

    November 12, 2022 at 7:43 AM

    • Leaven away, but remember that man doth not live by bread alone. And when it comes to preparing other kinds of foods, strive to make them come out ten-der. If that fails, you can surreptitiously feed them to a ca-nine and claim you eight them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 12, 2022 at 7:55 AM

  3. That’s a fun date fact!! I shared it with #1 Grandson. Is the red or rosy red in the middle image iron related?


    November 12, 2022 at 9:40 AM

  4. Very confusing to have different systems for writing the date…we put the day first.

    Ann Mackay

    November 12, 2022 at 10:23 AM

    • Putting the day first has the advantage of going from the smallest of the three time units to the largest: day, month, year.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 12, 2022 at 11:31 AM

  5. Colorful mineral deposits and I knew we could count on you for a numerical slant, either yesterday or today. 🙂

    Eliza Waters

    November 12, 2022 at 2:45 PM

    • For yesterday, I take it you’re alluding to the original Armistice Day, which went into effect at 11 o’clock on 11/11 in 1918. And yes, you can count on me for colorful mineral deposits, too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 12, 2022 at 7:06 PM

  6. Beautiful abstract patterns and soft colors. Is there some lichen on the rocks?


    November 12, 2022 at 9:20 PM

    • Thanks. I believe some lichens were on the rocks. I couldn’t always distinguish lichens from minerals or other markings.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 12, 2022 at 10:07 PM

  7. The only connection I can see is that both the photos and the numbers are pleasing to look at. Did you know ( I didn’t until a few minutes ago ) that the US military doesn’t use the American style of numerical dates? It uses dd/mm/yyyy.


    November 13, 2022 at 2:01 AM

    • I’m pleased that you’re pleased with the numbers and the photos.

      I did know that the US military uses the dd/mm/yyyy system that other countries use. The US military also expresses time with a 24-hour system to avoid ambiguity between AM and PM for hours 12 and under.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 13, 2022 at 6:18 AM

  8. I didn’t see baked goods here, but the first photo did bring to mind a pair of cheeseburgers, sans bun. The second photo is especially appealing with that mix of color. The layers, with their rounded edges, seem a little unusual, even though they probably aren’t, for sandstone.

    An odd little experience that probably belongs with your previous post about coincidences is that nearly every time I’ve opened my phone in the past week, the time has been something like 2:22 or 11:11. Unlike my numerologist friend, I doubt there’s any cosmic significance there.


    November 13, 2022 at 8:04 AM

    • Where you saw two bunless cheeseburgers, I imagined a pair of fried eggs.

      I don’t remember seeing a color mix like the one in the second picture elsewhere at Sandstone Bluffs, but I might have been so caught up in what I was doing that I didn’t notice.

      What? No cosmic significance in 2:22, 11:11, and their kin? Oh ye of little faith! Actually that fits right in with my previous post and raises the question of whether your recent spate of such occurrences is any more significant than periods when you don’t have them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 13, 2022 at 8:26 AM

  9. There seems to be an endless variety of patterns to find out there, and these are some nice ones with my favorite possibly being the last one. One thing I enjoy about many of these are how there’s no size reference, sometimes leaving me to wonder if I looking at a macro or something from far overhead.

    Todd Henson

    November 15, 2022 at 2:52 PM

    • I spent lots of time looking (and aiming) down at the patterns and textures on the ground there. In a few cases people had trodden damp ground and left shoeprints that foiled a would-be picture. I still found most of the ground unmarred and was able to make many abstract photographs. You’re right about the absence of an obvious scale in these pictures; call it one size fits all.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 15, 2022 at 2:59 PM

  10. A nice collection of abstracts and abstract thinking.

    Steve Gingold

    November 18, 2022 at 4:05 PM

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