Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ozark Wildlfower Season 2 Months Off

Crested Iris -- Lost Valley
Mark your calendars to visit for spring wildflower season. The spring season runs from late March until about the first of June. The easiest way to time the beginning of the season is to track the emergence of daffodils. When the daffodils are ready to bloom, the very first wildflowers should be in bloom.

Wild flower season follows pretty predictable patterns each year, but the blooming dates shift around according to weather and micro environment. This can move peak blooming dates a week or so.

Maybe the most interesting part of this is micro environmental factors. Lowlands and hollers bloom first and mountains much later. There seems to be a difference in bloom times in different hollers. For example, Lost Valley is about a week ahead of Smith Creek Preserve.

Selective Light and Dreamy Bokeh Convey the
Emotion of Spring Wildflowers -- Lost Valley
Some of the destinations favor certain wildflowers. For example, Smith Creek Preserve is great for Dutchman's Breeches, Lost Valley has a great Ozark Wake Robin (trillium) bloom.

Remember that there are early species and late species. The bloom dates between them can be over a month. To get all the species you need to make many visits and visit different locations.

Make this the year you start a "bucket list" for wildflowers. My bucket list has gone beyond collecting species and now includes getting better poses for each species.  I will do a few different posts on wildflowers in the coming weeks.

You never actually "get" a flower species, your compositions show different moments in composition, time and light. My belief is that taking pictures of wildflowers is a powerful way to strengthen your compositional skills. When you see a great wildflower picture, you are witnessing the command of the camera, an understanding of existing light, the play of color, and negative space, etc.

Because wildflower photography is deceptively difficult, working at wildflower photography will carry over to all your photography. Wildflower photography is more than a great time, it will strengthen all your skills. The 2012 season is now just a bit over 2 months away.

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