A Little Dragon

A Little Dragon
A Little Dragon by I Nancy, on Flickr

Last weekend, Hutch and I went exploring to Figueroa Mountian in the local Los Padres National Forrest. Last year the wildflowers were tremendous and we hoped to find more of the same this year. We had a beautiful 70-degree day with a few light clouds. Even with all kinds of rain this year, the flowers were disappointing as it seems that this springs dramatic cycles of hot and cold weather has stunted their growth.

We did find a nice field of goldfields with some beautiful, if hard to get to, chocolate lilies (more later). While wandering, looking for the perfect set of flowers, I found little horned-toad crawling in the grasses. To give you a little perspective, the yellow flowers are just tiny goldfields just couple inches high. Mr. Horned was probably no more than three inches long. Here he is stalking through his jungle. Check out the reflection of the wildflower landscape in this little guy’s eye.

Back to the chocolate lilies. This is the first I’ve every really seen of the chocolate lily and they are a challenge to photography due both to their small size and the fact that they bloom facing down toward the ground. They are only about an inch or so in diameter. This is definitley a get on your belly and crane upward sort of shot. Here I was lucky to be able to underneath this cluster with some nice back-lighting, They are quite beautiful and were pristine the day were were there.

My Chocolate Lily Sweet
My Chocolate Lily Sweet by I Nancy, on Flickr

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Remembering the Spring of 2010

Magical Suspension, originally uploaded by I Nancy.

Today is Memorial Day, the official start of summer and the weather has cooperated with the warmest temps of the year so far. Although Yahoo Weather says high of 75 and partly cloudy, I’m pretty sure it was a little warmer and there was definitely not a cloud in the sky.

Spring in southern California comes in April. By May the hills are beginning to dry out. On this May 31st, after an unseasonably wet winter, the hills are already clad in their summer browns.

This shot was taken during my flurry of wildflower shooting in April. Remember spring 2010. It may be another 5 years before we get another great set of wildflower blooms.

California Poppies and Guest

California Poppies and Guest

California Poppies and Guest, originally uploaded by I Nancy.

Today I took my day off to head to the Conejo Valley Botanic Garden at 8am to see what I could see. I met one of the garden volunteers and she was telling me about different things blooming in the garden. When we turned the corner I saw the field of poppies. I’m quite sure that she was probably disappointed at my excitement. Although this is the state flower, and they bloom only during a short time in spring, they are quite common. She had hoped I would be more interested in the exotics. She didn’t know that I was looking for layers and textures and ended up shooting mostly what she might consider “the weeds”. Never-the-less, I am quite happy with my poppies for this year.

I’ve been experimenting practicing with different layers of focus. Been getting some interesting shots. I use a friend, who has a very classical eye, to judge how I am doing. He hasn’t liked many, but this one caught his attention.