The Dogwood flower season in Sacramento (California, USA)

Last year I wrote about one tradition among photographers from the Sacramento area, photographing Lotus flowers at the William Land Park in the summer, but I somehow managed to skip the Spring’s Dogwood flower season in town. Every April, photographers walk the streets of Sacramento, trespassing on people’s lawns and driveways, to capture the beautiful Dogwood flowers that grow in the residents’ gardens. The neighborhood around the McKinley Park is one of the best, but if you do not like trespassing, the Capitol Mall also has white and pink dogwood flowers.

On April 3rd, my friend Beth and I headed to town very early in the morning to photograph the Dogwood flowers. As usual, I felt that I am too short for this type of photography and, for the most part, we were aiming and shooting up. The featured photograph was an exception: trespassing rewarded me with this eye-level flower. I photographed it with my z50 coupled with Nikon 105 mm 2.8 at f/8, 1/200s, ISO 320. In post-processing, I added some grain.

Another photo from that outing, displayed below, was taken with the same equipment and settings, in the traditional position, looking up. Both are in my printing queue.

Dogwoods belong in the genus Cornus (family Cornaceae), which has some 60 species. I really don’t know which species are cultivated in the Sacramento area, but I think on my walk today I spotted at least three varieties, two white and one pink.

Dogwood flower

A third photo I took that day, I have posted on my botanical “flower” portfolio. GeoGalleries offers these room views with your art on the wall, and I made a screen shot because I think the decoration of the room looks pretty cool. But white chairs… not so sure I would like that in my house.

A color version of this photograph is available for print purchases here.

Question for my readers: in your area, are there recurring photography themes the local photographers join each year and post on social media? Besides the dogwoods here, there are the lotus, the Lupines and California poppy on hills, mustard fields and sunflowers.

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Published by Alessandra Chaves

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

21 thoughts on “The Dogwood flower season in Sacramento (California, USA)

  1. Oh these are spectacular ! Love the lighting and lens flare. They are not blooming here yet. Love the room with your photography on the wall. Beautiful. Those are chairs for people who don’t have kids or pets. Though hopefully someone thinks to drink white wine from those glasses on the table. 3 glasses and 2 chairs .. hmmmmm … ah yes wait… the third person stands and looks at your photograph while drinking wine. 😁 There are no photo groups in my area.

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    1. Thank you. I thought the same about the chairs. Wine, coffee, dogs, cats, food, your life becomes about trying to protect the chairs! Hopefully the flowers will be out there soon, although here, if you believe me, we had snow in the Sierra Nevada yesterday enough to require tire chains to pass through.

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      1. Ya we had a snow and wind storm that went through Tuesday in the middle of the night and knocked out our power till 1 am the following day. There are still people without power in the northern zones. We got about 6 inches of heavy wet snow. Lots of power lines came down. The snow is mostly gone now but they are still cleaning the mess. Lots of trees fell. But an entire day without power had me catching up on tasks that didn’t require electricity. I didn’t realize I had so many bunnies living under my couch !

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  2. I don’t think of dogwoods in connection with California. Nevertheless, the BONAP maps at

    http://bonap.net/Napa/TaxonMaps/Genus/County/Cornus

    show five Cornus species native in various parts of California. The maps are delineated by counties, so you can see which of those five species have been reported in your county. Of course what people have planted may well be species from elsewhere in the country, or else cultivars.

    At times I’ve carried a small lightweight aluminum step ladder around in my car’s trunk in order to get higher vantage points than I could by myself. Have you thought about doing something like that, or actually done it? We short photographers sometimes profit from a boost.

    In processing your vertical dogwood flower photograph, did you consider removing the lens artifacts in the upper left corner? An argument for removing them is to keep all the attention on the flowers, especially if you then cropped down tighter at the top. An argument for leaving the artifacts is that they create more of a diagonal.

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    1. Carrying a small ladder is something a lot of photographers do. But using it on people’s properties might be a little too much… Asking for trouble.
      Photographing the Dogwood in the Sierra Nevada, particularly at Yosemite’s Merced River, is another local photographer mania here in the spring. I think the species there is Cornus nuttallii. I am wondering if there will be any this year and when, since we just had snow there! The vertical photo of the dogwood flower, I posted precisely because of the bokeh balls and not inspire of them. The flower itself is not interesting enough as shot, wide open lens and little D.O.F. Thanks for your input.

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  3. Love the angle of that first shot. I have two small dogwood trees in my backyard that are weeks from blooming. Feel feee to trespass:). A couple weeks the trillium will be out here!

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  4. Our dogwoods are just now cracking their buds so it won’t be long. I enjoyed your interpretations and the wall display looks great. I work in a furniture store and always shake my head when people buy white upholstered furniture or white carpet. So maintenance heavy.

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    1. Believe me, my parents once bought a white couch! Very soon, my mother made a cover for the couch, dark blue, and we never saw the original color of the couch again. My sister and u were children when they bought that couch 😂

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  5. I always have thought of dogwoods as a southern or southeastern tree; I was surprised to learn that you have it there, and that people make pilgrimage to photograph it, just as we do with our bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush. It’s a beautiful flower. I was particularly taken with the first photo; it looks as though the flower is serving up its stamens on an elegant platter.

    My parents bought an off-white sofa when they built their new house, but we had no pets, and I was in high school by that time, so the threats to it were minimal. On the other hand, there were some interesting parental parties in that house; how it survived unscathed I don’t know.

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  6. Beautiful photos, delicate and evocative. To answer your question, in Belgium there’s quite a bit of action around the bluebell season. There are a few spots not far from Brussels where woods are basically covered in bluebells for 7-10 days.

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  7. You are skilled at these flower photos! I love the one illustrated on the wall. Great use of light to guide your eye to the center of the closest flower.

    Of your question, I always used to visit the cherry blossom festival in DC , but around my current area it is more looking for fall colors these days.

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