When there are record rainfalls on northern and southern California, wildflower displays cover southern deserts, including the Sonoran Deserts, from Organ Pipe National Monument to Anza—Borrego and the Mojave Desert. I usually head for the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. Get ready for the next spring wildflower season with details on the best locations in Antelope Valley, just north of Los Angeles. My Photograph America Newsletter is full of tips on solving wind problems, choosing the right close—up gear, and finding an up—to—the minute internet wildflower hotline. There’s been a lot of development here with the towns of Lancaster and Palmdale now almost one continuous community. The city of Palmdale is an aerospace industry center. The town of Lancaster has a dozen motels. There are also lodgings in the town of Gorman, on Interstate 5. When I arrive in Lancaster, I stock up on groceries for breakfasts and lunches in the field. I pack bottles of water and ice in an insulated cooler. It’s a long drive back into town for lunch. As far north as Avenue A, the northern boundary of Los Angeles County, I found more large fields of poppies mixed with a type of very low—growing, dark blue lupine, called pygmy—leaved lupine. When there is no space to set up a full—sized tripod, I pull out my six—inch—long, table—top tripod. It’s solid and steady, though not very adjustable. If the ground is uneven and the six—inch tripod is too tall for the shot, I drop a beanbag on the ground as a camera support. Sometimes, I use a 5x7 inch piece of plywood with a small ball—head bolted into the center. My most basic camera support is a twelve—inch steel rod, sharpened on one end and threaded on the other end to screw into the bottom of a small ball head. Depending on the soil, I just push it into the ground and attach a camera.
Notes and images from Bob Hitchman.