2023 in plant life

A western Joshua tree in bloom near Mojave, California. (jby)

Following on from my post of 2023 bird photography highlights, here’s some of my favorite flowering plant images I captured in 2023. Flowers are, of course, easier photography subjects, but I’m still learning how to balance lighting and depth of field to really capture details with the most aesthetic interest and botanic value.

Above, the example with the greatest professional value: Joshua trees in flower this spring, after record-breaking winter rainfall across a lot of the Mojave Desert.

One of my regular opportunities for wildflower photography was class trips, and I took this photo of a miniature lupine — maybe my favorite image of a personal favorite wildflower — when I brought my spring botany class to the Antelope Valley California Poppy Preserve.

A miniature lupine at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Preserve outside Lancaster, California. (jby)

Maybe my most dramatic wildflower image of the year, though, was this Columbia lily, flowering along the trail to the ghost town of Monte Cristo in Washington State — a really nice day hike that we timed well for wildflowers in July.

A Columbia lily along the trail to Monte Cristo in Washington. (jby)

I also like to try and find an image that isn’t just focusing on a single flower or inflorescence, and I really like this shot of a patch of blooming partridgefoot, along a trail in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness this summer.

A bed of partridgefoot in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington. (jby)

And in the same vein, figuring out how to frame trees is an interesting task I’m still learning. I like how this photo of alders along a riverbank turned out, but I’m not sure I could make it come together this nicely a second time.

Alders along the trail to Monte Cristo in Washington. (jby)

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