There are a few subjects I can’t seem to keep from photographing. Milkweed seeds, for example. Patterns of ice on frozen wetlands. Dew-covered insects. And sunflowers.
What flower is more distinctive? Their bright yellow color and big round flowers stand out, even in the most showy of flowery prairies. Insects seem to find stiff sunflower attractive too, based on the number of insects I’ve found and photographed on them.
We’re fortunate to have seven different species of sunflower in our Platte River Prairies, five of which are perennials. The above photo is of one of the two annuals, plains sunflower, which inhabits the drier sandy uplands of our sites and is very abundant in the Nebraska Sandhills to our north.
I have plenty of sunflower photos I like, but this is one of my favorites from last year. I like the overall composition, but I also like that the sunflower in the foreground is atypical. Something has prevented the petals (ray florets, for you botanists) from developing completely. It’s interesting (and not unattractive), and also stimulates questions about what happened, and why.
I like mysteries…