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Nature's Palette

Posted by
Don Smith (California, United States) on 15 March 2010 in Landscape & Rural.


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With it being an El Nino year here in California (warmer than average ocean temperatures), we have had an abundance of February rain. The temperatures are gradually beginning to warm and the hillsides are starting to come alive with colorful wildflowers.

Acting on a tip from an amateur photographer, I headed south from my home and drove almost two hours to find this area! I was told that the entire area along California Highway 198 would reveal color, when in reality, it was a section of no more than 500 yards. Nonetheless, it was indeed colorful. I am by no means a flower expert. The yellows in this image is common mustard weed (prevalent everywhere in the Golden State), but I am having a hard time identifying the purple flowers (they are not lupine). There were also a mixture of fiddlenecks.

I captured this image with late afternoon light painting the hillside at almost a 90-degree angle from the sun. I used a Singh-Ray neutral polarizer to help punch the colors a bit, and this was the result. The hardest part was finding an area to safely park my car. This area is located just east of the Parkfield Grade Road (which BTW is closed). Be careful if you visit as cars fly off this grade at a high rate of speed!

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III 1/15 second F/16.0 ISO 200 70 mm

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