Last March, I made a mental note to return. I had spent three mornings at Picachu Peak State Park photographing wild flowers. They were magnificent, particularly the Mexican Poppies. Like a fluffy blanket they appeared to flow amongst the Saguaros, barrel cactus and rock out crops.
I had spent considerable time on my compositions. Hoping to emphasize the ‘flowing motion’ of the Mexican Poppies, I set my camera and tripod at almost ground level with a 12mm to 24mm zoom attached. I was pleased with the results.
Closer examination of these images on my computer a few days later showed that I needed to return. I saw so many more image possibilities.
Earlier this week I made my return visit. I left Ellen at Eloy, AZ for a pickleball tournament and continued on with anticipation to my destination. The sun was still fairly low in the sky. I was excited.
Driving in though, I sensed that conditions were not the same as last year. Initially, I didn’t know why but as soon as I had parked and had my gear out it hit me. The blankets of Mexican Poppies were not there. Barely visible were dried stalks and leaves. Either they had already bloomed or the unusually hot weather in February had stifled any growth that did occur. I had high hopes for the images I would make this year. I was very disappointed.
There was, however, nobody else to blame but myself. A simple phone call to the park’s office would have saved me a lot of time and energy. Had I made that call in January I might have learned when the flowers were expected to bloom, if at all.
Its all very well to think that a good understanding of one’s camera and photographic skills is sufficient to make beautiful images. Necessary too, is knowing your subject. That requires research and planning.
On this occasion, I needed to be in touch with the park office to determine the timing of this year’s wild flower bloom. And I should have had a backup plan. South of Picachu Peak State Park is the Sonoran Desert National Monument. That would have been an excellent alternative. Oh well, another lesson learned for the old Geezer.