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Trillium Flower and Leaves

Trillium Flower and Leaves. Coast Redwood Forest, California. March 24, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell - all rights reserved.


A single trillium flower grows in the redwood forest of Muir Woods National Monument


I was brought up mostly in the San Francisco Bay Area. (I like to describe myself as a "virtual native" of California, since I've lived here since I was four years old.) When I was a child my parents would often - or so it seemed to me - bundle us into the family car for day trips to many of the nearby areas where I photograph on day trips today: Point Lobos, Pinnacles National Monument (now National Park), San Francisco, Big Basin State Park. One of the main attractions of Big Basin is the presence of coast redwood trees. I suppose that because I've always known trees this large that they don't shock me the way that they do visitors who haven't seen them before - but every once in a while I realize just how remarkable their size is.


However, with all of my youthful visits to redwood forests, it seems odd to admit that I never saw the trillium flowers there until I was much older. In retrospect, I'm pretty certain that visiting such places was a warm weather event in my family - and trillium blossoms appear at a time of the year when things are still distinctly wet and chilly. Now I try to see them every late winter and early spring, and to photograph them if possible. With this goal, I made a one day trip to the redwoods of Marin County north of San Francisco last week, making sure to arrive very early, before the hordes of tourist buses would arrive from nearby San Francisco. I managed to get a couple of hours in the deep early morning shade of the redwood forest to photograph these flowers before the sun and the other visitors arrived, making photography less appealing. Those who may not have seen the plant in the wild might be surprised at its form. Beneath the three trios of leaves/flowers that you see in this photograph, the whole affair is supported on a single long and bare step that rises vertically from the forest floor. The flowers, which can range in color from pure white through pink to a sort of dark and dusty burgundy, don't last long, and if you aren't there during the short interval when they blossom you might not notice them at all.


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.

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Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

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Taken on March 24, 2013