This year in California the wildflowers have been particularly prolific.  It has brought photographers out in massive numbers all looking to capture that unique wildflower photo.  On the one hand it is nice to see people out communing with the natural world.  The problem is that they have no clue how to behave while out there.

The open range land where most of the wildflowers bloom is private land.  Some of it is fenced and some of it is just open range land.  Private property is private property and it should be respected, wildflower heaven or not.  For as long as I can remember fellow photographer and workshop leader, Carol Leigh and her wonderful Wildflower Hotsheet has been an Internet resource for wildflower hunters.  It was user driven with reports coming in almost daily once the blooms started.  This year however, due to incredulous bad behavior of photographers in one particular canyon in the south-central part of the state that is private open range land, one of the land owners made a post on the hotsheet asking photographers to stop coming onto their land, to stop tramping all over the place, tearing up flowers, and warning that if the behavior did not stop further legal actions would be taken!  That was last week.  Well all of a sudden Carol takes down the hotsheet and leaves the notice that is there now.  Not only did the bad behavior anger the owners of the land, it has resulted in losing a fabulous resource that was of benefit to so many.  This passed weekend, I heard reports that the county sheriff was patrolling that canyon now, making sure private property rights are observed.

I have photographed in that canyon before, and yes it is a special place, but come on, you don’t have to trespass to photograph there, and you certainly do not have to tear out flowers once you have photographed them or picnic right on top of them, roll around in them or whatever other nonsense people dream up.

Mother Earth has rights as well.  It is always a difficult proposition trying to photograph the wildflowers.  In the process, some flowers are trampled on.  But we must learn how to tread lightly on the earth.  Even though the Earth seems like a resilient rock, its ecosystem is very fragile.  Even more fragile are the flowers themselves.  They rely on pollination to generate the seeds for coming years.  Trample them, or pull them out before they can secure pollination and there will be no more flowers. 

I do my best to stay on trails or on roadside when photographing the flowers.  However I must admit I do love sitting in the middle of them all, sampling their intoxicating spicy fragrance and vibrant over-the-top color.  When I do, I stay put in one place, I follow my own foot steps back out and when at all possible, I step on bare ground where no flower is growing.  And I encourage all my readers to practice the same when you visit the wildflowers this year.  And please do go out and visit them and be grateful for the bounty that Mother Earth and our Creator are giving us this year, just be nice, so that we don’t want to “shoot our selves in the foot” and never get to see the flowers again.  

Poppies in Antelope Valley

Bed Of Poppies