• The tidy tips are pretty small: just an inch or two across. So I had to get super low in order to give them some more impact in the photo
  • I estimate this patch was maybe 1/3 mile across
  • had to walk very carefully from bare patch to bare patch to get while minimizing my impact on the flowers

Field of Dreams - Carrizo Plain National Monument

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(Click the photo to see it large, you know you want to :)

The plan was to visit Carrizo Plain on April 2-3 for some wildflower shooting. But it wasn't clear how good the bloom was, and I was feeling broke, and a number of other lame things, so I ended up not going. Then Jeff Sullivan started posting up some killer shots from Carrizo that same weekend and I was really really kicking myself for not making the trip.

So this past weekend, flush with a little extra cash from teaching a seascape photography workshop, I decided nothing was going to stop me from getting down there. And boy was that the right decision. I arrived in Carrizo Saturday afternoon under a sky full of gorgeous cumulous clouds, and though I had heard the flowers were nothing special this year, the vast carpets of tidy tips still blew me away.

I spent the next 20 hours chasing the flowers, getting chased by rain, getting stuck on muddy backroads, and generally having an awesome time.

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Tech Notes on this Photo
-----------------------------------
Nikon D300s
Tokina 12-24 f/4 at 12mm on a crop sensor
ISO320 - to help speed up my shutter (didn't want to go much higher than this in order to prevent noise from entering the photo)
f/16 - I needed some extreme DOF here, as my camera was probably only 10 inches out of the flowers. This is a single shot; no focus-blending here. Gotta love UWA lenses for their amazing DOF!
1/25 sec - a relatively quick shutter (compared to shooting seascapes that is) in order to freeze the flowers in place. This photo was taken during a brief period of extreme calm when the flowers were barely moving.
Lee 2-stop soft GND filter

Post-Processing
----------------------
In Raw Converter (Nikon Capture NX2)
- Processed single raw file twice: once for majority of image, and once at +0.3ev to brighten flowers in the mid-ground which had been overly-darkened by my GND filter
- Global contrast for added pop
- Local brightness and contrast adjustments in the clouds to make them pop a bit

In Photoshop:
- Noise reduction via Neat Image
- Selective sharpening of flowers only
- Hand blend of two tifs to brighten mid-ground
- Minor curves adjustment to further brighten midground

Thanks for your visits!

~Josh

D Breezy - davidthompsonphotography.com, and 158 other people added this photo to their favorites.

View 20 more comments

  1. TJD223 69 months ago | reply

    Awesome picture Josh!

  2. A Camera Story 69 months ago | reply

    Nice. I was debating between going snowshoeing in Tahoe and shooting wildflowers - and in the end, went snowshoeing. And this is what I missed.

    I have always missed the wildflower displays in Carrizo, though I caught it all over the place outside Carrizo last year. Maybe next year.

    Fantastic shot. It is just sheer delight to stand amidst vast fields of wildflowers. It is an eternal pleasure. The low angle certainly emphasizes the vast expanse of flowers.

  3. tropicaLiving - Jessy Eykendorp 69 months ago | reply

    Josh, this is a beautiful carpet of wildflowers..seems endless...

  4. Jesse Estes 69 months ago | reply

    Very nice work here Josh!

  5. ©Helminadia Ranford 69 months ago | reply

    Gorgeous yellow flowers,Josh..

  6. M-Kuhns 69 months ago | reply

    just beautiful

  7. Jim Patterson Photography 68 months ago | reply

    Some Carrizo goodness right here. Glad there were still some flowers after you got through with the video. ;)

  8. jeannie'spix 68 months ago | reply

    Outstanding work

  9. Xindaan 68 months ago | reply

    Wonderful as well.

  10. Photo--Graphy [deleted] 68 months ago | reply

    Marvelous image, nicely composed and shot.

  11. Sunnyvaledave 68 months ago | reply

    magnificent work.

  12. jason edlund 67 months ago | reply

    Unreal Josh, never seen anything like this! Beautiful location, I would love to see this.

  13. David M Hogan 67 months ago | reply

    Damn, what a beautiful spot and great timing!

  14. koonsphotography 67 months ago | reply

    Wow! This is heavenly. These flowers are amazing. Well captured!

  15. " Mdawi " 66 months ago | reply

    Very cool view

  16. JMS' 62 months ago | reply

    That's really a field of dreams......and a wonderful picture !

  17. ©Ale... [deleted] 61 months ago | reply

    Absolutely beautiful...like paradise.

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