Spring has arrived in southern Utah, and as an avid flower photographer, I have dusted off my camera and am back outdoors exploring new and favorite locations, hoping to find the early flowers of the season.
Discovering fields and meadows of wildflowers is always at the top of my list. Wildflowers, however, can be elusive to find from year to year as they often depend on current environmental conditions and rainfall during the previous autumn and winter months. Some years the flowers are scant and not very photogenic, and other years they are plentiful and eye-popping.
Occasionally, when conditions are perfect, superblooms may occur—where some locations are carpeted with glorious profusions of flowers, often in multiple species and vivid colors. Although superblooms are somewhat rare, I’m always hopeful, and at the beginning of each year, I begin scanning the wildflower websites on the internet for predictions of when and where there might be an upcoming superbloom within driving distance from home.
Death Valley is within a long day’s drive and is known for its beautiful wildflower fields, but only about once every decade is there a superbloom. I was fortunate to enjoy and photograph a superbloom in this area where vast expanses of usually dry, sun-baked earth produced a sea of beautiful yellow and purple wildflowers as far as the eye could see.
Antelope Valley in California’s high desert is another region known for its spectacular wildflower displays and is also within a longer day’s drive. Some years ago, I witnessed a superbloom in this area where the hills were carpeted with vibrant orange poppies, yellow goldfields and purple lupine and phacelia in all directions. This year, because of the heavy rainfalls in California during the past months, I hope to see a beautiful display of wildflowers once again, and with Mother Nature’s help, it might even turn out to be another superbloom!
Scene One: Antelope Valley Lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus)
Scene Two: Death Valley Desert Gold (Geraea canescens)
Scene Three: Antelope Valley California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) Reserve
Occasionally, when conditions are perfect, superblooms can occur—where some locations are carpeted with glorious profusions of flowers, often in multiple species and vivid colors.