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Spring Wildflowers, Little Panoche Valley

Posted by
Don Smith (California, United States) on 21 March 2010 in Landscape & Rural.


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Amateur photographers love to share tips! Thankfully, today's image involved a tip from a long-time San Benito County resident. While on a recent shoot, this gentleman stopped by to let me know he had just driven from the central valley across Little Panoche Road in Fresno County and saw what he described as some of the best spring wildflower cover in recent memory.

Some people have vivid imaginations when it comes to describing scenes, but I will have to say, this guy wasn't pulling my leg. Friends Mike Hall and Scott Schilling braved an early wake-up call to join me as we drove about an hour to this desolate location for sunrise. I came across this scene near the end of our 90-minute session just south of the Mercey Hot Springs Resort (think clothing-optional) along Little Panoche Road.

Fortunately there were no nudists out for a stroll, just this incredibly colorful field of wildflowers (the yellow flowers are fiddlenecks, but I'm not sure what the purple ones were). Fortunately this scene was best photographed from north to south placing it at a 90-degree angle to the low morning sun. Because the sky was void of clouds, I decided to crop it out so as not to be a distraction to the eye.

I captured this image with my 70-200mmL at f/11, but to ensure focus from near to far, I bracketed five frames with various focus points to yield an image with incredible depth of focus. I combined the five frames with Helicon Focus Software. There was absolutely no wind, which allowed the five frames to blend seamlessly.

1/25 second F/11.0 ISO 200 150 mm

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