Monday, April 4, 2011

2011 Wildflower Update

It is now the earliest stage of the mid-spring wildflower season. New species keep coming on line, while early-blooming species slowly fade. The number of species is too great to list, but the most popular subjects are covered in my writings.

Dutchman's Breeches Showing
Both Stem Types
Probably the new star of the current bloom is Dutchman's Breeches. This unusual flower is located in low and wet areas. It's unique bloom looks like a group of pink knickers on a stem. Colors vary widely from nearly white to a pale pink. The stem can be roughly vertical to a sweeping arc. This provides photographers with a lot of choices in terms of compositions.

There are many places where Dutchmen's Breeches are common. Two great spots are Smith Creek Preserve, and the entrance road to Kyles Landing (about halfway down to the river).  In both these settings there are abundant wild flowers, and there is a nice bonus, in both places there are water features for cascade and waterfall fans.

Spring Beauty at Twin Falls
(These are tiny flowers)
Photographers will want to acquaint themselves with shooting opportunities along the entrance road to Kyles Landing, and the branch in that road that leads to Boy Scout Camp Orr. The fork leading to Camp Orr goes to the entrance to Twin Falls at its base. You will see a sign on the right as you enter the camp and you can park there. The short path to the twin falls is lined with wildflowers, and home to a few less common species. Here you will find green trilliums, false rue anemone, and spring beauties (in addition to other species like blue phlox and yellow dogtooth violets, etc.). These areas are a week or more behind the bloom dates at Lost Valley.

Dogwoods will be in bloom in a week or two, probably within a week. Redbuds are at peak now. Often these flowering trees border waterfalls. Get here in the next week or two to get these photos, earlier to be certain with the redbuds.

Spiderworts from 2010
Anther one of my favorite shooting areas is the road leading to Broadwater Falls, just north of Compton across from the Fire Department across HWY 43. Down that road are a few place to pull over and you can work the bank for many different species of wildflowers at eye level. This provides outstanding variety in angles of view so that you can create unique compositions. Just further down the road is Broadwater Falls. I like to work Broadwater Falls because of its complexity. There are large boulders and interesting runoffs that scream black and white to me. The road down to Broadwater Falls is my favorite place to shoot the various varieties of spiderwort a little later in the season.

If you love wildflowers it is time to get here. We are in the early season peak and it will not continue long. Some species are already pretty much done, but the majority are not. Bloom dates vary from destination to destination, so if you don't see a certain flower in one place, it could well still be blooming in another. The wildflower show is in full gear now, don't miss it.