Because there can be only one …. Does anybody remember that show or am I dating myself … again? In this case, there was only a single blue iris growing in my sister and bro-in-law’s yard. At the time I didn’t think much beyond how beautiful it was (and how lonely it must have been), but later on, I realized it was summer and this iris was apparently trying to be a rebel, because iris usually just bloom in the spring, don’t they? Here it was in July.
This image was captured with a 100-400mm telephoto on my Canon 1DX. I left the macro lens at home (despite my “kitchen sink” attitude where I like to try and pack every bit of gear I have with me). The 1DX was set to track and focus on movement (flowers swaying in the breeze) and it has a fast enough fps speed that I applied the burst method (aka “spray and pray” to get clear shots of the flowers, not only in a Yakima neighborhood but also in Mount Rainier National Park.
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.
Strawberry Pitaya Cactus Bloom
One of the reasons I traveled so far to visit Big Bend National Park, Texas, in late April, was to view and photograph the blooming cacti. I don’t know what it is about being so excited to see these lovely flowers as opposed to any other spring wildflower. Perhaps it’s because I am always so amazed to see something so prickly and painful produce something so colorful and delicate.
Englemanns (?) Prickly Pear Cactus Bloom
Eagle Claw Cactus Blooms
Pollen-Laden Bee and Prickly Pear Cactus Bloom
Claret Cup Bloom
Strawberry Pitaya Cactus
Tree Cholla Bloom
Bee and Cholla Bloom
Two Bees in a Prickly Pear Bloom
Prickly Pear Bloom
Bird’s Nest in a Blooming Cholla
I used several different methods for achieving these blooming cacti shots – all without the use of a dedicated macro lens:
- Canon 70-200 or Canon 100-400 telephoto lens zoomed in at their longest focal length
- Canon 40mm “pancake” lens with a close-up filter attached
- Pentax WG-3 point & shoot using its macro mode
- Canon 24-70mm at the 70mm focal length with the image ultimately cropped
Blooming Prickly Pear and Chihuahuan Desert Scenery in Big Bend National Park
For my first vacation of the year, I drove from my home in southeast Texas to Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas – a 13-hour drive (if my friend or her husband had let me borrow one of their brand new Corvettes, it might have only been a 2-hour drive)
I’d visited the park back in December 2013 and I returned to that park for two reasons: the starry night skies (it was a new moon when I visited) and the blooming cacti.
So, where does the ocotillo come in?
Because it’s not a cactus.
Even though it has thorns. Lots of ‘em.
No, an ocotillo is a shrub. Most of the year, it looks dead. But, when it rains, it puts out lots of little green leaves and these beautiful, orange-red tubular blooms. The leaves fall off pretty quickly in an effort to conserve water, but these blooms remain for a bit longer. Ocotillos can live between 60-100 years and grow 20 feet tall.
The ocotillo is a pretty cool plant.
Spring means bluebonnets in Texas hill country.
It’s been maybe 4-5 years since I traveled into the hill country in search of those quintessential blue harbingers of a Texas spring.
One day, last week, a co-worker emailed to tell me she had driven to Chappell Hill and then on to Washington-on-the-Brazos to view the wildflowers. She said the color display was amazing.
So on my next Friday off, I took my cameras and myself on a little drive along Hwy 290 to Chappell Hill to see the color for myself.
Yesterday, I drove out toward Texas hill country to capture some images of the bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, and other wildflowers – like this field of gold wildflowers (whose name I need to look up). It was a beautiful day and I managed to get some great shots, more of which will be in a future post.
If you are currently in the southeast/central part of Texas, drive Hwy 290 over to Chappell Hill and then take 1155 from there toward Washington-on-the-Brazos state park to see some lovely carpets of blue, red, and yellow covering the fields as well as much smaller spots of scenery.
I converted some of the flower photos I took at the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. I was aiming for something a little different, and I think I got that with this photo. I used Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro and got rid of some of the structure, but not all of it. I wanted some detail delineated, but nothing that would overwhelm.