A Foggy Day in Goliad Town

White prickly poppy ~ Argemone albiflora

During the first weekend in March, my swing through wildflower country had been bedeviled by clouds and early morning fog. Still, with places to go and a tight schedule, on Sunday morning I set out from Port Lavaca to Goliad despite my dislike for driving in dense fog.

It wasn’t a pleasant trip, but when I reached Goliad things had improved a bit, and it occurred to me that I might have a chance to photograph wildflowers in fog. Deciding to stop at the historic Presidio, I little imagined that my first ‘find’ of the day would be my beloved white prickly poppies.

Taken in dim light, most of those first photos weren’t especially appealing. Nevertheless, as the fog continued to lift and my experimentation with settings began to pay off, I began to think of my fog-bound drive in a new way. After all, it had given me a chance to see my favorite flower in a new way.


Comments always are welcome.

70 thoughts on “A Foggy Day in Goliad Town

    1. You certainly have had enough ice this year; I’m not surprised it would come to mind. Some of our meteorologists have been pondering the computer models for this weekend, and suggesting that it might not be out of the question for a little sleet to get mixed in with your rain. When one said, “Conditions would have to be perfect, of course,” another responded, “Let’s pray for imperfection.”

        1. Oh, my. Of course that sent me off to see if there might be photos of bluebonnets in snow, and there sure are. In fact, there are some from as late as Easter. I’m sure you’re as ready as the rest of us for ‘full spring,’ but what a way to cap off the year bluebonnets in snow would be.

          1. Eve was thinking maybe we should drive out there but it’d be a long way to go on wet roads (because any snow would have melted on contact), and even where a bit of snow did accumulate, it would probably melt quickly.

            1. You always could go out and photograph flowers by nature’s flash bulbs — from the videos I’ve seen, you folks are getting quite the lightning storms tonight.

    1. With our coastal fogs, being in the right place at the right time really is important. When sea fog rolls in, it can make for wonderful photos, but it’s unpredictable and it’s hard to find a vantage point. There was no question that this fog was going to stick around for a while, and the complete absence of wind allowed those drops to form.

    1. Since it was early Sunday morning and I was on a less-traveled road, there were only a few other vehicles around, and everyone was being considerate: no bumper-hugging by the impatient. The poppies — and other flowers I found — were reward enough for the roughly sixty miles of slow travel.

  1. Bedewed & bedecked, very pretty! Even the one with some folded petals, it looks very graceful.
    I saw an article somewhere talking about new technology for self-driving cars, that could also be used for human drivers, that uses a double radar unit, to make it much safer to drive in dense fog. MIT is working on a ground-penetrating radar (like the units used by utility companies, archaeologists, etc.) to keep people on the road when dealing with heavy fog/snow/rain.

    1. I’ve been told that some flowers hang their heads downward as a way of protecting their pollen and nectar from rain. When I looked at the flower with the folded petals, I couldn’t help seeing them as a sort of umbrella protecting the flower’s pollen.

      The thought of ground-penetrating radar for navigating in fog, snow, or rain is amazing. It’s worlds away from a story one of my raised-in-Minnesota friends tells about driving home with a friend in a blizzard. My friend drove, while her passenger opened her car door and hung her head out to keep on eye on the road’s edge. As she puts it, they were more afraid of freezing to death if they stopped than they were of keeping on through the snow. Of course, they were quite young at the time, and had teenagers’ judgment.

      1. Wow sounds like a tough drive! Do they have “rumble strips” on the roads in Texas? where did they carve ridges along the edge of the road or sometimes down the center line, so you hear and feel it if you start to wander out of your lane. those things come in pretty darn handy sometimes, I don’t know who thought that up but good idea.
        there’s a stretch of rumble strip on the old Route 66 in New Mexico, I have never driven there but supposedly if you do 45 miles an hour it plays “America, the beautiful

        1. Some roads do have them, but not all. I think that, generally speaking, state highways do, but the farm to market roads don’t, even though they’re often paved. The road I took to Goliad was a state highway, and it had those strips along the side and at the center. Very useful!

          I wonder what song my highway’s rumble strips would play, and at what speed? That’s a fun thought to play with.

            1. Absolutely! And if the traffic were bad, we could follow up with Hank Williams’s version of “Move It on Over.”

              I saw that the Link Wray cut is from a whole series of historical ‘rock’ videos. I subscribed; it’s just full of great pieces: really interesting stuff.

    1. Aren’t they pretty? I love crystals, and perfect dewdrops always remind me of them. It hadn’t occurred to me until I found these droplets that fog can have one advantage over rain. With fog, there’s often no wind at all, and the drops can stay put while they grow.

    1. It was yet one more experience that proves this wonderful truth: there’s no predicting what we’re going to see when we go out into the world. Every time I see your photos of ice and snow, I’m reminded of that. Your willingness to get out and about in inclement weather has produced some gems, too.

    1. I was pleased to find the dew drops extending along the whole length of the plants. It really was a pretty sight, even in the relatively dim light. I don’t know why I didn’t think to try using flash; it would have been interesting to see what the images would have looked like with that addition.

  2. Outstanding photographs!

    I think the fog worked in your favor as those white blooms may not have been treated well by harsh sunlight. And just look at all those “dewels”! Okay, so maybe the droplets aren’t from dew but from the moisture of the fog. “Fewels”? Nah. “Wonderful water droplets” works just fine.

    Although we have Argemone albiflora here, we seem to find its cousin, A. mexicana, more frequently. Either one is just fine with me! The petals of both blooms remind me of paper mache.

    1. In fact, I tossed quite a few photos of these poppies from the Rockport cemetery. I showed up there at high noon, and you’re right that the light was less flattering. Still, there are a few ‘high relief’ photos of the poppies yet to be shared.

      I’ve yet to see your A. mexicana. My sense has been that it’s more common in the south and west of the state, but in fact it’s listed for only a few counties, and Brazoria is one of them. I was surprised to see how common it is in Florida. Apparently the reference to Mexico has shaped my understanding of where it’s most common.

      I hadn’t thought of paper mache, but that works. I sometimes see old-fashioned crepe paper when I look at them.

        1. Oh, gosh, yes. Tell Gini it took a nanosecond for me to see my crinolines standing at attention on the basement floor, drying for the next wearing. What a long time ago that was!

  3. I love the foggy photos. They have a beautiful, mystical quality to them, almost otherworldly. And fog driving — my worst nightmare, especially early in the day or twilight when you add prime time for deer as well. I’m glad you had a great trip!

    1. I’ve heard hunters say that deer tend to move in light or moderate fog, and become less active in dense fog. It makes sense — if we can’t see five feet in front of us, neither can they. Still, you’re right that the possibility of coming upon them is another consideration. The number of dead deer along the highways attests to that.

      I do love fog; I just don’t like driving in it. But walks on a foggy night? “Little cat feet” kinds of fog? Perfect!

      1. My worst drive ever — taking Rick to the hospital in Charlevoix, 45 miles away, while he was writhing in pain at 5 a.m. on a foggy, winding road during deer time. When we got to the car he got out fast and got into the hospital ER as fast as possible. I sat in the car for about five minutes just trying to get my bearings.

        1. I remember that experience. Wasn’t it a kidney stone? I know exactly what you mean about needing a little time to get your bearings. That kind of anxiety and need to be on constant high alert wears a person right out!

  4. Glad you drove to and fro in safety and it paid off: those are some great photos! I love white flowers and the foggy conditions set them up to their finest.

    1. Serendipity strikes again! I’d never say to myself, “Gosh, it’s foggy. Let’s go drive around and see if we can find some fog-bejeweled flowers,” but it certainly worked out nicely. As much as I love color, I’m not sure why white flowers head my list of favorites, but they do — and these are splendid.

    1. Down here, I think a lot of people enjoy white flowers because they add a cool note to hot summer gardens. These poppies are tough, too. They can deal with heat and drought wonderfully well, and often are blooming even when other flowers have given up the ghost. And when they spread, they can cover acres and acres of pasture or fallow land.

    1. That gave me a chuckle, especially since there are murmurings about a little snow in the Texas hill country in the coming days. Good grief! Braving fog is one thing, but I truly don’t like the cold. On the other hand, I’ve seen some photos of bluebonnets in Easter snow, so if it were to come, and if it were within striking distance of my home, I sure enough would get out for a few photos!

  5. I don’t like driving in a heavy fog either, but you’ve got some gorgeous shots here. I love the way these poppy leaves look like somebody decorated them in tiny diamonds! Kind of like they’re ready for a formal event.

    1. I’ve liked sparkly things since I was a kid admiring my mother’s rhinestone brooches and earrings. The sparkle of sunlight on snow always was nice, too; these dewdrops have that same glitter and shine, and I was so happy to find them.

  6. Well done. I enhance as little as possible, because, as my posts are daily diary entries, I like to reflect the weather conditions. Obviously that is not your normal object, but here you have made a feature of it

    1. How could I not, when I saw those gorgeous dew drops? And who knows? I may become a bit more courageous about getting out in the fog now: not foolhardy, but at least more willing.

  7. Fog is my favorite condition to photograph botanicals. Interestingly, prickly poppies around here are summer flowers. I don’t expect to see them, or the prickly poppies, till June/ July.

    1. Ours emerge relatively early, and will be with us for several months. Their drought tolerance seems to keep them going at times when other flowers fade a bit. I have some other photos of dew-bedecked flowers I’ll be showing. Those photos were taken on the same morning but with a little more light. Still, the fog lingered, and the diffuse light was nice.

    1. The law of unintended (or at least unexpected) consequences certainly applied when all was done. While I set off in fog because I wanted to keep to my schedule, the end result was far more satisfying than I could have predicted. As you’ve so often pointed out on your own blog, that tends to happen, and it’s worth celebrating when it does.

  8. Dew always adds a magical touch, Linda. I can never resist, although most of mine are connected to lupine. Not sure why. Grin. Anyway, a nice combination of your prickly poppies and dew.

    1. I really felt lucky with these, Curt. Despite the downside of driving in fog, we’ve had such a terrifically windy spring that any kind of moisture that tried to linger on a plant didn’t have much of a chance. Beyond that, just finding so many poppies was a treat. Now, it’s on to sunshine and blue skies: although we wouldn’t mind a little rain mixed in.

    1. It was fun to have the time to experiment. When I’m trying to photograph birds, or even plants on a very windy day, it’s not so easy. Being able to sit around and think about what I was doing was very valuable — of course, that’s often true in life generally!

    1. I can’t remember seeing any on this trip until I got to Goliad and the area around Gonzales. I remember them being pretty common around East Bernard and Boling-Lago last year, but they haven’t popped up yet. I have a few non-foggy ones yet to show.

  9. I love all those fog drops. If it was cold enough, as it was to your north, you might have got some rime which would have been pretty cool too. The poppies look lovely.

    1. Many of our fogs, like this one, are a sign of exceptionally warm weather: no frost for these flowers! On the other hand, fog like this also means no wind, which has its own sort of advantage — at least for flower photographers. As the light increased, I was able to photograph other still-dewy flowers: so many photos, so little time to post!

    1. Do you remember where you saw your first [whichever sort of bird]? I remember where I finally spotted my first white prickly poppy. It was on TX 35, as I was heading west out of Angleton. I’d seen enough photos of the flower that I recognized it on the side of the road, and slammed on my brakes. Happy flower, happy photographer!

      1. My first meadowlark. When I was 9, my parents finally identified my severe myopia. After receiving my new glasses, we went for a walk down our country road, and there, singing its heart out, was the yellow vest, brown jacket and black tie of a natty meadowlark, just as they had described it to me. Gorgeous!

        1. I was in third grade when I had the same experience. After I got my new glasses, I was astonished to find that trees were filled with the same leaves that covered the ground!

  10. Very nice. I’m glad you had this opportunity to make driving through the fog at least a little worthwhile. I love photographing in fog, but not driving in it. Really nice job sticking with it and creating some very pleasing images, especially that last one.

    1. I like that last photo, too. I arranged the trio in a least light to most light order, so it makes sense to me that the last one would be more appealing; there was more light to make the dew sparkle. There were other dewy flowers around that I’ll be showing, but I decided not to post them in one group. That way, they each can have their day in the definitely shrouded sun!

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