Poppies, Poppies and More Poppies

Wildflowers are blooming in Arizona and the season seems to be in full swing a bit early this year!  Yesterday I spent the day at Picacho Peak State Park as several photographers had posted photos on social media.  They have been blooming for a couple of weeks, so it was a possibility the poppies were passed peak and I had missed them.  Still, I took the chance knowing other wildflowers were most likely blooming.  There will be a gallery at the end of the post and you can click on any image to start a slide show.

poppies and dew dropsThere had been reports of dense fog in the area and as I was driving south on I-10 I could see the fog.   While driving I was envisioning photographing wildflowers in the fog and thought they would be so unique.  Unfortunately the fog had all lifted by the time I arrived.  However, there were beautiful white puffy clouds and my plan was to stay until sunset.  At the entrance the park attendant informed me the poppies were so wet from the rain and fog that they weren’t open.  Wet poppies?  My mind immediately was focused on dew drops on the wildflowers!  Not only were the poppies wet, they were bent over from the added weight. A few unopened poppies still had on their rain hats and were soaked!

poppy with dew drops and reflectionAs I was on the ground a couple was hiking the trail and I immediately apologized for being in their way.  They said I wasn’t and wanted to know what I was shooting.  I told them there were dew drops on the bottom of a poppy and I could see a reflection and my hope was to find some open poppies.  They continued on their way and I continued on making images.  While processing this image I noticed the dew drops are almost running down the poppy they were so large and heavy.

mexican gold poppiesAfter searching for a couple of hours I finally found a few open poppies alongside the park road.  As I was shooting a truck drove by and then backed up.  I looked over and it was the couple that had been on the trail earlier when I was shooting the above photo.  The gentleman asked if I was the person they had seen earlier,  I replied “yes” and he replied “I’m glad you found some open poppies”.


brittle bush at sunset at picacho peak state parkI spent about 5 hours searching for open poppies yesterday and was able to make a few images.  It was then time to think about sunset and the possibility of some beautiful color in the sky.  As I was getting set up for a sunset shoot a couple pulled up and the gentleman got out and brought a small portable table with two cup holds.  He then brought out two camp chairs and his wife brought two wine glasses and a bottle of wine!  I said “You two know how to do it right!”  The lady replied they just had different toys than me.  We chuckled and settled in to watch sunset, them with their glasses of wine and me with my camera, tripod and a 3-stop  graduated split neutral density filter. Disappointed the sky didn’t have more color, I packed up to leave..  full moon at picacho peak state parkThe lady who had been drinking wine came over to me and mentioned that the moon was coming up just over the mountain behind us.  The moon was almost full.  I couldn’t resist grabbing a quick shot.  Once again I packed up my gear and proceeded to leave the park.  I had been shooting on the west side of the park and the entrance is on the east side.  Part of me thought I should have checked the moonrise before leaving home as I probably could have made a much better image.  However, I wouldn’t have met such a nice couple!

Driving home I was disappointed at how many poppies didn’t open to make for some beautiful wide images, but still it was a good day.  I had chatted with two nice couples and made a few nice shots of the beautiful wildflowers in Arizona and it doesn’t get much better than that!


17 thoughts on “Poppies, Poppies and More Poppies

  1. karengadient

    Wonderful photos and a wonderful story of your day too! We were out early yesterday morning in the east valley and saw lots of fog. “Pea soup” in some places. Pretty wild, but it didn’t stick around long. This is a great time of year in Arizona; too bad summer eventually shows up!

    1. tbeckerphotos Post author

      Thank you Karen, it was a fun day! The SE Valley seems to have more interesting weather in my opinion. Yes, summer will be here soon and I am already dreading it!

  2. seekraz

    So very pretty, Tamara…you did wonderfully! Thank you for making that drive and spending all of those hours down there….and for sharing your bounty, too, of course. 🙂

    1. tbeckerphotos Post author

      Thank you for such a lovely compliment! I enjoy sharing all my work and telling the stories narratively as well as photographically. It was a long day, but not as long as the day I went to Peridot. There’s another story to be written about that day!

      1. seekraz

        You are most welcome…I know that a lot of work goes into making your photos, processing them, and then putting together such a fine post…and I certainly appreciate your effort. I’ll look forward to your story about Peridot…..

      2. tbeckerphotos Post author

        Scott, thank you for realizing all the work that goes into photography and writing, not everyone does. And I should probably invest in some knee pads!

      3. seekraz

        You are very welcome…and yes, given the rocky ground where you/we find our subjects out here, knee pads would be a worthwhile investment. 🙂

  3. Ingrid

    Beautiful photos! Sunday we’re heading back over to the Superstitions and I’m hoping to find some poppies…. fingers crossed 🙂

    1. tbeckerphotos Post author

      Thank you! There are wildflowers blooming in the Superstitions, not sure about the poppies. They started to bloom early there and with the 80+ temps we had a few weeks ago they fizzled fast, or so I heard. You can always call the ranger station in advance and ask them if and where the poppies are blooming as that will save you time looking!

    1. tbeckerphotos Post author

      Thank you! Good to know, as I have been wondering about Bartlett Lake as that is typically an incredible place to see a large variety of wildflowers!

      1. Margie

        We haven’t been up that way yet. We’re fairly new visitors to Arizona . We don’t know the names of many flowers yet – so can only say that the purple flowers are blooming in the ditches!

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