Antelope Valley, Spring 2003

After a surprise day off, I another chance to visit the western end of Antelope Valley. I was not as excited this time around as the flower bloom was intense, but not nearly as spectacular just a few days before. But, a day out is a day out, and I was going to enjoy it. Nature was against us on this day, we had beautiful light, nice cloud layer to diffuse some light, and a 25 mph breeze that would just not let up all day.

A Davey Gilia stalk poking up between the California Poppies in the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve.

A Davey Gilia stalk poking up between the California Poppies in the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve.

My goal this spring was to get a nice flower shot that I would desire to blow up as a photograph, however, these conditions were not condusive towards this task and a true exercise in patience. It looks likely that I will not reach this goal this season, the flowers bloom has begun to wane, and my only hope appears to be in the foothills of the eastern sierras in a few weeks.

Part Two:

Well, on a beautiful Monday morning I played a little hooky from the office, and decided to head out the Antelope Valley California Poppy Preserve. I dropped by in the spring of 2002 and was greeted with about one poppy. Literally one poppy, it was depressing but was a drought year, so the valley was quite dry and brown. But this year California did not have that problem and this picturesque area epitomized what the golden state is all about. Two weeks prior to this trip I met some friends in the preserve and the trumpet shaped poppy bulbs showed great promise.

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

So, as I made the hour drive from my apartment to the western edge of the Mojave Desert floor my mind was distracted with the wildflowers showing in the San Andreas Fault area. As I neared the preserve itself, traffic slammed to a stop as other people and photographers had also made the trip. Fortunately for me, I have an SUV and am not afraid to us it. You don’t really need one to travel around the rutted dirt roads surrounding the poppy preserve, but apparently most people in their town cards did not feel up to getting their car dirty. Fine by me. So, I soon found myself in a small valley all to myself with one of the most beautiful flower displays I have ever witnessed.

The California Poppy the state flower of California.

The California Poppy the state flower of California.

I find it difficult to describe the scene before me. Deep orange colored poppies in large beds mixed in with purple flowers of the Davy Gilia (Gilia latiflora ssp. Davyi) and the yellow curved heads of the Fiddleneck (Amsinckia tessellata). I have never seen such a concentration of wildflowers in my life. Sparrows surrounded me and a Black-tailed Jackrabbits danced as I setup my tripod and went to work. What a great way to spend a spring day away from the office.

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