I tend to be fairly meticulous about certain characteristics of any photograph that I'm willing to show to the public. If it's black and white, I want a full range of tones. If in full color, I want the colors to contrast where appropriate to highlight the subject, but to balance overall, as with all other elements of the composition (such as shapes and their placement in the frame). I want lines to have interesting directions, so that they help to move the viewer's eyes around the image. If any portion of the photo (sometimes all of it, but not necessarily so) should be sharp, I want it to be really sharp. I want foreground lines to cross over background lines just so. And so forth.
On the other hand, when I'm looking for natural subjects, such as flowers, I don't insist that they be perfect specimens. There is certainly something special about a portrayal of an unblemished, beautifully formed bunch of blossoms, and sometimes a utopian vision of a single "best" flower against a toneless, texture-free studio background creates an ideal impression. For me, it's often more fun to look for the standout in its natural environment. Besides, sometimes that's the only choice I have.
I went back for another look at the anemones that I've been photographing on and off for a few weeks. More had opened, many already looked tired and worn, but one looked fresh, and seemed to preside over its companions. I was even happy with the existing light, and didn't try to "improve" it with flash or reflectors (which I don't hesitate to do when I feel like it, as seen in other posts recently).
So here she is. I've even given her a title: Beautiful Anemone among the Wannabes.
* Correction * : I had been told by a friend that these were anemones, and there are varieties that do look quite similar. My wife, when she saw this, said "those are Lenten roses", and it seems to me that she's right. Sources like this one from the Missouri Botanical Garden confirm that Helleborus orientalis is what we're looking at. The hellebore is often known as Lenten rose. Native to parts of Greece, Turkey, and Russia, it blooms in late winter, so the behavior I've been observing is not unusual for this plant. I'm not going to change the title of this post, but I'll try to refer to the hellebore or Lenten rose accurately in future. I need to also find some true anemones to photograph!