Adorable wildflowers now blooming at the Stebbins Cold Canyon Preserve (California, USA) 

A while ago I wrote a post about Springtime photography at the Stebbins Cold Canyon (California, USA). Last Thursday, March 31, I decided to take my own advice and go there.

I joined a free educational photo walk led by the photographer and naturalist Jock Hamilton. We were a group of ten, plus the instructor. Jock led us into the canyon, showed us some wildflowers and how he photographs them, including discussion of equipment. It was a pleasant morning with variable but generally gentle breeze, and partly cloudy. We went on a relatively fast pace and took turns sharing the “models.” 

Since I did not have much time for each subject, I chose to shoot wide open (2.8-3.2). This allowed me to have a fast shutter speed to freeze the movement of the flowers in the wind, and move faster without the tripod.  

Wildflowers are adorable, and in view of their cuteness, I am relatively pleased with my results, a few of which I show below. If you live in the Sacramento area and can afford to go, don’t wait. Go now! Spring is advanced here in California, owing to yet another dry winter.

Click on each image to see a larger, more detailed version. If you like those photos and would like a print of a California wildflower, I have a small portfolio here.

Photography tips: When shooting macro wide open and without a tripod, take many photos of the same subject. The tiniest movement will change the focus point, and it may change it to somewhere you don’t want it. Taking several photos will ensure that at least one will be just like you envisioned. Also, to get a larger area in focus, try to keep the camera as parallel as possible to the main axis of your subject. For wildflower portraits, chose the ones that are relatively isolated from the vegetation, and pay attention to the background, which should not have anything bright shiny, for instance distracting rocks and sticks trying to steal the thunder.


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Published by Alessandra Chaves

Photographer with a preference for nature photography in black and white and other abstractions.

14 thoughts on “Adorable wildflowers now blooming at the Stebbins Cold Canyon Preserve (California, USA) 

  1. Glad you had a good nature walk. I enjoy going out with a nature expert but have trouble keeping up with a group because of the time I spend on taking pictures.

    Those dewdrops are quite an enhancement. The name Ithuriel seemed to be Hebrew, like others ending the same way like Gabriel and Nathaniel, so I looked it up. The article at confirms it and explains what Ithuriel’s spear was.


    1. This was a photo walk, but still, I didn’t feel like I could spend all the time on a flower having a line of people behind me. Thanks for the link, I had not investigated about the spear.


  2. Oh these are wonderful ! I love little Spring blooms. You truly captured their unique essence and character. I would have never guessed you had time limits on photographing these. Sounds like it was a really fun time. Wish I was there. I’m still waiting for wild Spring blooms here. It snowed here yesterday.


  3. Lovely images and the background was great to hear as well. I just wish those three flowers on the Spear image were all in focus. That composition with all the flowers in focus and the background lovely and hazy would have been fantastic. I haven’t tried this but I understand if you hand hold and have your camera set to take a burst of images, that as you move a bit closer to the flower through the exposures, you will get the equivalent of focus stacked images and so can get a much deeper depth of field without a tripod and doing it “Properly”.


    1. “I just wish those three flowers on the Spear image were all in focus. That composition with all the flowers in focus and the background lovely and hazy would have been fantastic” Absolutely. For the purpose of this post,which is about what you can get wit wide open lens on a camera walk, it’s fine, but I would not offer it to a customer unless he/ she asked for it. I have a few other photis of this flower from other times that have more d.o.f..


  4. We have a Silverleaf Nightshade with flowers that so closely resemble yours I thought we shared a species at first. I especially enjoyed seeing the Tufted Poppy; it’s beautiful.

    I first learned the lesson about keeping the sensor parallel to my subject with dragonflies. It certainly is true with flowers, too — especially with those which have vertical columns of blooms. I’ve become aware recently that I’m rushing a bit with my photos: possibly because I have such limited time to be out and about, and always want to see what’s ‘around the next corner.’ Taking even an extra minute or two can make a difference!


  5. Just found your blog (and recognize a few of your commenters.) After bailing out for a year I find there’s room in the reader again for more good bloggers. I look forward to the new posts.

    Liked by 1 person

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