Signs of Life 2019/7

“When a single particle is picked up, the whole Earth is contained in it.
When a single flower blooms, the world begins.”
(The Blue Cliff Record)

The next dozen flower & plant photos from 2019 is here. Not all of these are new flowers but some were really nice surprises to me. I’m adding some more information below the gallery, at the end of this article.

As usual, on small-screen devices like phones or tablets, you can just scroll down. On larger screens, you may also click on any image to open it in the slideshow gallery view. For the best effect, I suggest switching your browser to fullscreen mode then. This is usually done by pressing the F11 key (and again, or ESC, to switch back).

The very first image, of the San Bernardino Larkspur (Delphinium parryi), was made on a local trail – I’ve never seen them before here. I was out for a run and the deep iridescent blue literally stopped me in my tracks. It is also a color that is not easy to get right in a photograph (I wrote about that here: Camera Profiles and Raw Data).

The yellow variation of the Chuparosa (Justicia californica) is another nice find – they’re normally red (here’s a photo of a large bush of Justicia californica, all red; and to give you an idea of its size, here’s a hummingbird feeding on a single Chuparosa flower), but they do express yellow or orange flowers (seldomly though). I saw an orange one in Anza Borrego too this year, but missed to make a photo because I mistook the color for a fading red. Duh! :-)

I’ve seen and photographed Fringed Spineflower (Chorizanta fimbriata) at Lake Hodges before, but this year there are astonishing carpets of them in one spot. The complexity and beauty of these really small flowers is simply irresistible! I have yet to show a more inclusive photo that shows the sheer amount of them. Stay tuned. :-)

The backlit California Four O’Clock (Mirabilis laevis var. crassifolia) made me quite happy because these flowers are not easy to photograph. They grow in somewhat chaotic bushels, with last year’s dead twigs in between the new growth – not very attractive, visually. Then there’s the sheer depth and “three-dimensionality” of the flower, with its long anthers and stamen – difficult to get the focus everywhere it should be with a macro lens. The photo in the gallery below was made with “Big Bertha” at 500mm focal length, and then cropped. That worked better!

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4 thoughts on “Signs of Life 2019/7”

  1. Such beauty! The larkspur is so eye-catching, no wonder it stopped you in your tracks. I will have to read the link, because I know how tough it can be to photograph blue flowers. I love the delicacy of the Goldenstar, and that almost-pink in the background makes it even prettier. I look forward to seeing the carpet of Fringed Spineflower – yet another flower I’ve never seen, and beer heard of. I like the porcelain quality of the Checkerbloom flowers – I always liked the Sidalceas grown in gardens and this looks very similar, just way more delicate. The Indigobush is another amazing rendition of intense blue, wow. All wonderful, Alex! It’s a pleasure to see them.


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