Rolling Hues
Rolling Hues
Painted Pano
Painted Pano
Carrizo Overlaps
Carrizo Overlaps
Lupine LEDs
Lupine LEDs
Golden Stretch
Golden Stretch
Blackbird Daydream
Blackbird Daydream
Yellow Brick Road
Yellow Brick Road
Carrizo Arc
Carrizo Arc
Erosion of Color
Erosion of Color
As Above
As Above
Carrizo Layering
Carrizo Layering
Carrizo Twist
Carrizo Twist
Adrift in Phacelias
Adrift in Phacelias
Fiddleneck Deer
Fiddleneck Deer
Flower Crossing
Flower Crossing
Juniper Shade
Juniper Shade
Leading Lines
Leading Lines
Peach Fuzz
Peach Fuzz
Purple Bonzai
Purple Bonzai
Sea of Phacelia at Midnight
Sea of Phacelia at Midnight
Soda Wave
Soda Wave
Yellow Hot Spot
Yellow Hot Spot
Spilled Paint Homage
Spilled Paint Homage
Temblor Path
Temblor Path
White-tailed Castaway
White-tailed Castaway
Yellow Overlaps
Yellow Overlaps
Rolling Hues
Rolling HuesLone hiker explores a surreal landscape of wildflowers in Carrizo Plain National Monument, California, during the superbloom of 2016.

There is no way to showcase the scale of the flower-covered hills, but the lone hiker in this purple hill at least gives some sense of how vast the space is.

We passed by his parked minivan some moments later, and I left a note with my contact info, so I was able to show him these images days later when I received an email from him. 

This was shot from our truck, using the telephoto lens. If I had used a wide angle, the hiker wouldn't have filled a single pixel.
Painted Pano
Painted PanoThe painted hills of the Carrizo Plain National Monument explode in painterly colors during the superbloom of 2019. Carrizo Plain, California. We had a great weekend photographing the colorful hills. I think it was as good as the previous superbloom, and though some areas we saw last time were a bit patchier, some others that were not covered in flowers last time were blanketed by them this year.
Carrizo Overlaps
Carrizo OverlapsOverlapping hills covered with different flower species are lit by quickly shifting beams of sunlight, during the 2019 superbloom at the Carrizo Plain National Monument, California. We returned to this spot in the Temblor Range, which we had visited years ago during the last superbloom. Last time we only had perfectly clear skies, but this year we had some clouds that changed the pattern of the light from moment to moment. I took a lot of photos in this same spot, and they all look very different.
Lupine LEDs
Lupine LEDsSilver bush lupines (Lupinus albifrons) holding onto a steep hillside are lit by a barely scraping edge of sunlight, in New Cuyama, California. Our trip to Carrizo Plain was only partially successful. We had a lot of areas on our custom map we wanted to visit, but most of these on the south end (outside of the National Monument area) where on private properties: farmlands and oilfields. So, we didn't get close to a lot of the spots that looked the best from the recent NASA images. One road that was not private was Cottonwood Canyon Road in New Cuyama, and it had some good views of flowery hills on a farm across a creek, and also lots of hillsides covered in lupines. The hill in this photo was steep, and the angle of the sunlight hit only the very tips of the lupines, making them glow like LED lights.
Golden Stretch
Golden StretchVisitors take a break in an endless field of California Goldfields (Lasthenia californica) in Carrizo Plain National Monument, California, during the superbloom of 2016. 

I stood up on the edge of the truck's door to get a higher vantage point, and stalked strangers with the 100-400mm lens. The landscape was vast, unending, a lot of people simply sat down and got swallowed by the golden fields.
Blackbird Daydream
Blackbird Daydream
Yellow Brick Road
Yellow Brick RoadA yellow brick road cuts through a hillside of wildflowers in Carrizo Plain National Monument, California, during the superbloom of 2016.

We found this spot while getting lost on the south end of the Carrizo Plain National Monument. We followed dirt roads, looking for a distant peak with a very golden dome of flowers. No roads on the maps seemed to lead to it, so we took random roads that looked interesting to see if we were lucky enough to find a way in. In the end, we ended up behind the peak we were searching for, on a beautiful road that followed leading to a solitary camping spot overlooking both the north and south valleys. An impressive sight, and with rocky formations very different from the silty soil you find in the plains.
Carrizo Arc
Carrizo ArcThe painted hills of the Temblor Range explode in painterly colors during the superbloom of 2019. Carrizo Plain National Monument, California. I waited a bit at this spot for the clouds to cast some interesting shadow patterns. I took a few panos at different moments. This one happened to have a perfectly placed contrail arching over the two peaks, and though the highlights made some of the purples and oranges disappear a bit, it created some good variety in the center of the image.
Erosion of Color
Erosion of ColorWildflowers make the smoothly eroded hills erupt in colors in Carrizo Plain National Monument, California, during the superbloom of 2016.

The best hills with flowers where on the north side of Carrizo Plain, and since the hills faced west-south west, shooting from the plains always gave a very flat light. I took this photo from the dirt roads up in the mountains, where there's a much smoother, silkier light with cool shadows, which form clear volumes and round shapes instead of flat color.
As Above
As Above
Carrizo Layering
Carrizo LayeringOverlapping hills covered with different flower species are lit by quickly shifting beams of sunlight, during the 2019 superbloom at the Carrizo Plain National Monument, California. We returned to this spot in the Temblor Range, which we had visited years ago during the last superbloom. Last time we only had perfectly clear skies, but this year we had some clouds that changed the pattern of the light from moment to moment. I took a lot of photos in this same spot, and they all look very different.
Carrizo Twist
Carrizo TwistThe painted hills of the Temblor Range explode in painterly colors during the superbloom of 2019. Carrizo Plain National Monument, California. I liked the clean swoop in this photo, simple diagonal flow and overlap. The back hills had a bit of shadow from a cloud and that made the overlapping effect better.
Adrift in Phacelias
Adrift in Phacelias
Fiddleneck Deer
Fiddleneck DeerThree white-tailed deer climbing an orange hill of fiddlenecks. In a canyon road of the Temblor Range, California, during the Carrizo Plain superbloom of 2019. Close to the exit of the treacherous canyon road where we got stuck, we saw three deer climbing a hill full of fiddlenecks. I shot this from the truck's window, the deer disappeared over the hill right after.
Flower Crossing
Flower CrossingA dusty road cuts through a hillside of splattered wildflowers in Carrizo Plain National Monument, California, during the superbloom of 2016.

The rolling hills of the Temblor Range gave us great opportunities for this type of flattened perspective, with multiple opposing angles across hillsides. It almost looks like a drone photo, but it was taken while hiking on an opposite hill.
Juniper Shade
Juniper ShadeOld juniper creates a nest of cool shadows over a field of daises in Carrizo Plain National Monument, California, during the superbloom of 2016.

I was trying to get a picture of a single tree completely surrounded by flowers, but the angles I could get did not allow for that extremely isolated shot. I went under one of the trees and focused on contrasting shadows, abstract shapes, and speckled light instead.
Leading Lines
Leading LinesDusty road leads to power lines on a colorful hillside of wildflowers in Carrizo Plain National Monument, California, during the superbloom of 2016.

When you aren't sure if there's a road where you want to go, look for power lines, there is always a road next to them (though sometimes with locked gates). From this spot, the road by the power lines that took us up the mountain was one of the best spots we found, and practically no one else was in the area, while the rest of the main areas of Carrizo Plain were overcrowded. Clean composition, contrast between horizontal bands and a strong vertical, with the road as a clear leading line towards the post.
Peach Fuzz
Peach FuzzFuzzy sprouts of creamcups (Platystemon californicus) emit a bristly glow on a mountain dirt road in Carrizo Plain National Monument, California, during the superbloom of 2016.

These lovely cups were tiny things, about 6 inches high, with buds eagerly waiting to blossom. I enjoyed walking down that abandoned road, it seemed like no one had been there for ages, and the flowers had taken over entirely.
Purple Bonzai
Purple BonzaiA striking bush lupine (Lupinus albifrons) is silhouetted over a hillside of California goldfields (Lasthenia californica), during the superbloom of 2019 at Carrizo Plain National Monument, California. The bush lupines over the Temblor Range look mostly like gray clumps when seen from afar, they get lost in the bright yellows. Once you approach them, you can see their distinctive purple colors.
Sea of Phacelia at Midnight
Sea of Phacelia at MidnightMy husband Timothy holding very still for a long exposure, wading in an ocean of phacelias in Carrizo Plain National Monument, California, during the superbloom of 2016.

Finding the phacelias at midnight was tricky. We arrived at Carrizo Plains at 11pm, and decided to go find flowers without having seen any of the park yet, in the blind. We used some satellite images, compared to our data-less Google maps, and headed to this location. We parked and walked in the dark for a while, until we entered the huge purple-blue field of flowers. It was immense, about a mile full of blue phacelias, but without the moonlight to help one could only see a few feet ahead. The red glow comes from the city of Taft, on the other side of the mountains.
Soda Wave
Soda WaveThe still soda lake mirrors the distant hills, while the open fields blossom in orange and yellows. Seen from a steep hillside on the Temblor Range, California, during the Carrizo Plain superbloom of 2019. For a moment, while we were up on the hills, the waters of the distant soda lake froze still. It was already a bizarre sight, and I decided to abstract it further with a very disorienting composition. The scales are truly hard to guess here. For reference, the cut on the near hillside is an unused dirt road, and on the far shore behind the lake, the white dots on the left are big camper vans, and the almost invisible black dots on the right are a series of parked cars.
Yellow Hot Spot
Yellow Hot SpotLone hiker explores a surreal landscape of wildflowers in Carrizo Plain National Monument, California, during the superbloom of 2016.

There is no way to showcase the scale of the flower-covered hills, but the lone hiker in this purple hill at least gives some sense of how vast the space is.

We passed by his parked minivan some moments later, and I left a note with my contact info, so I was able to show him these images days later when I received an email from him. This was shot from our truck, using the telephoto lens. If I had used a wide angle, the hiker wouldn't have filled a single pixel.
Spilled Paint Homage
Spilled Paint HomageWildflowers make the wavy hills erupt in colors in Carrizo Plain National Monument, California, during the superbloom of 2016.

There is a famous image from Carrizo Plain taken by Frank Kee in 2005. I found the precise same location from where he took the photo, and 12 years later the bloom hit the same hills once again. Though it was not as dense as it was in 2005, it was still impressive. Kee's image has been stolen countless times, sold around pretending to be from different photographers from places like Chile and Nevada, stretching the image, oversaturating it to hell. It's sad to see how far people will go to take credit for something they didn't create. Kee left some instructions on how he got to this spot, but his GPS coordinates directed to a point farther south. One needs to climb over an extra hill and drop into a hidden little valley to find the spot, which I did by chance while wandering about.
Temblor Path
Temblor PathThe painted hills of the Temblor Range explode in painterly colors during the superbloom of 2019. Carrizo Plain National Monument, California. This secluded area in the hills of Carrizo Plain had the best road, completely surrounded by colors. Just a bit earlier, we were on the peak to the far right side of this photo, looking down towards this road and trying to spot a way to connect to it.
White-tailed Castaway
White-tailed Castaway
Yellow Overlaps
Yellow OverlapsWildflowers make the sandy hills erupt in colors in Carrizo Plain National Monument, California, during the superbloom of 2016.

While most people decided to hike up the hill towards the orange and purple flowers, we stayed down in the canyon in this area. You can barely see the hikers, find them as small pixels on the trail on the top-left. I tried for a symmetrical, overlapping composition. The light was too flat, I couldn't get any sense of depth unless pieces were overlapping. The white silt was a solid point of contrast and anchored the whole image.
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