natural light images | Is California Poppy Time!

Is California Poppy Time!

April 09, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Did you know that the State Flower of California is the Poppy?


It's a very finicky flower that requires just the right amount of rain and sun to blossom. And, its difficult to photograph:

  • It doesn't like early morning or late afternoon light ... of course, that's the "soft" light photographers like best!
  • If the wind is blowing, the blossoms will stay shut. And, when does the wind blow most frequently in the desert? Yes ... in the afternoon.
  • It needs just the right amount of rain (not too much, not too little) at just the right time.
  • Photographers like landscapes with clouds in the sky. What do clouds usually bring with them in the  desert ... yes, wind!

So finding the right conditions with clouds in the sky and a not-too harsh light and light winds blowing can be problematic. Then, too, the California drought in the last few years really hit the poppy fields hard. Last years bloom was the worst I've seen in many years.  

So, during the rains this winter, I wondered if it would be a good year for the poppies. The answer is in ... YES!

Luckily, over the years, I've found a reliable spot that's off the beaten track. It requires all-wheel drive or better to get into and thankfully, the large crowds at the State's Poppy Reserves this year haven't found this area. 


This first shot was taken behind a ridge line that provides shelter from the wind:


The next two shots were taken from the exact same spot. The difference between them is the focus point and the aperture of the lens in each instance:


See how the background is blurred in this image ... hopefully focusing your eyes on the flowers in the foreground:


I turned around and saw this dramatic lighting of the hills ... no poppies but I liked the composition ... Click!


Here's another cluster of flowers a little closer to the base of the highest hill in the area:


The track I was on turned to the Northwest and I crossed over the sheltering ridge line to this spectacular view. FYI, those vertical towers you see on the right side of the image against the mountains are windmills!


I got down low and took this photograph of the cluster of poppies you see in the lower left corner of the image above:


A little further down the track we came across this ridge filled with poppies:


So 2017 is a good year for the poppies. If you are in Southern California, go visit them ... but not on the weekends!

Thanks for looking,




P.S. Did you remember to click on any of the images to see an enlarged version of it?  They look much better that way!


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