Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Cloud like a ring

with 24 comments


Back on March 12th I was driving north along Mopac when I noticed a cloud in the shape of a mostly closed ring. Exiting the expressway, I hurriedly hunted for and after several minutes found a place where I could park and get a shot of the cloud free from poles, wires, buildings, etc. I took a bunch of pictures showing the ring-shaped cloud by itself but I’ve chosen to show a more-expansive view that includes other clouds as well.



§            §





What can you say about an agriculturalist and a structure for climbing?

To see the answer, follow the arrows.



 What can you say about an agriculturalist and a structure for climbing? 

The former is a farmer and the latter is a ladder.


If you’re curious about what inspired this riddle, it was a sentence I read a couple of hours ago in Marian L. Tupy and Gale L. Pooley’s book Superabundance: “And so, over the millennia, farming gradually displaced hunting and gathering, leaving the former as the dominant human lifestyle in many parts of the world.”

To my taste, writers should avoid “the former, the latter” because readers have to scamper back in the text to figure out what each thing is. It’s better to say straight-out what you mean, even if you have to repeat recently used words.


© 2023 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 28, 2023 at 4:19 PM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , ,

24 Responses

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  1. You didn’t get that off of a bottle cap!


    March 28, 2023 at 5:11 PM

  2. I like the riddle! 🙂

    That cloud formation is a good catch! I have seen hearts (blue “heart” surrounded by cloud) and the most interesting one I saw a few years back, a $ shape. That one was in the distance and did not photograph well. My guess it was the mixing of two nearby contrails.

    Lavinia Ross

    March 28, 2023 at 5:16 PM

    • I was pleased with the riddle, too—and with the clouds. We had a spate of picturesque clouds and I took advantage of them a bunch of times. Too bad your $ cloud was so far away you couldn’t get a good picture of it. I think you’re right that contrails often contribute to the interesting cloud formations we see.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 28, 2023 at 5:32 PM

  3. Watch out. The divine eye is upon you.

    Peter Klopp

    March 28, 2023 at 11:11 PM

  4. It kinda looks like a reptilian eye! 😲


    March 29, 2023 at 12:54 PM

  5. When I saw the clouds, the first thing that came to mind was mycelium. As on earth, so in heaven, so to speak.

    As for your delightful riddle, it reminded me of this old joke: A flying saucer filled with tiny humanoid creatures landed in a midwestern farm field. When one creature emerged to check things out, the first person he encountered was a very attractive farmer’s daughter who towered above him, even though she was only 5’4″. Giving her a good look, the space visitor said, “Take me to your ladder. I’ll see your leader later.”


    March 30, 2023 at 7:52 AM

    • And for me the organism that came to mind is the leafy seadragon. Now we have two living likenesses.

      Old though that joke be, it’s new to me, and a good one. It piles up three similar words: ladder, leader, later. When British English speakers listen to Americans pronouncing “the former and the latter” what they hear is “the former and the ladder,” which they understandably find amusing.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 30, 2023 at 8:18 AM

  6. I like that you’ve kept the wider view of the clouds – makes for a very pleasing competition. And ‘hehe’ to the riddle… 🙂

    Ann Mackay

    March 30, 2023 at 11:15 AM

    • Originally I planned to show a close view of the ring. In the end I went with “the more, the merrier.” The ring still takes up about half the frame, which is enough.

      As for the riddle, you’re probably aware that Americans pronounce latter the same as ladder

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 30, 2023 at 12:23 PM

      • Ah, no I hadn’t thought of that, although I’m bound to have heard it a few times.

        Ann Mackay

        March 31, 2023 at 4:20 AM

        • I remember a Brit being amused years ago when an American pronounced “the former and the latter” in a way that she heard as “the former and the ladder.”

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 31, 2023 at 12:58 PM

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