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.
There 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!
As 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.
After 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”.
I 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.. The 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!