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About 2 weeks ago I came down with a cold and it was something fierce. It sucked. It lasted an entire week! I woke up on Wednesday and I felt like I had been hit by a truck! I thought that it was going to be just a day thing, but man did it last longer.
The ultimate bummer part is that I had plans to go to Death Valley that weekend! I was super hopeful that I was going to get better; however, it just didn’t happen. So… my Death Valley trip got cancelled. It sucked!
Then, after about a week of this not feeling good and having a temperature over 100, I started to feel slightly better, but really not 100%. So another weekend went by of me just being lazy, laying on my couch, and trying to get better.
Finally, after 2 weeks, I was feeling quite a bit better. I started to get the itch. All I could think about was Death Valley and the wildflowers. After deciding I was going to make a trip no matter what, I started to do my research for Death Valley (checking weather and road conditions). To my surprise it was supposed to be in the upper 90’s! Yep, I really wasn’t ready for camping with a low of 65 and a high of 98.
With all that being said, I thought I was going to miss out. I figured it just wasn’t in my cards this year, but then I remembered Joshua tree! I have never been to Joshua Tree and I knew it was supposed to have quite a bit of wildflowers. I checked the weather… High of 75…. Yep Joshua Tree it is!
Joshua Tree National Park is about 5.5 hours from my place. I left around 11am thinking that this would give me enough time to get to the park, roam around for a minute, and then get a sunset shot… Boy was I wrong lol.
I headed down the freeway and everything was going smoothly until I hit the dreaded LA traffic. I got to San Bernidino and the traffic was terrible. It basically cost me 1.5 hours. So my 5.5 hour trip turned into more of a 7 hour trip which put me in a bit of a time crunch.
Joshua Tree National Park Wildflowers
There are two entrances to Joshua Tree, the North and South. I chose to stay in Indio along Hwy 10 in order to start at the South entrance. Then, my plan was to stay in Yucca Valley for the second night which is near the North side entrance.
When I finally reached Indio, I checked into my hotel, and then I was off to the South side entrance of Joshua Tree National Park.
When I arrived, I had about a half hour until sunset so, I ended up barely making it into the park, pulled over at the first trail I could and walked around.
It was awesome! There were so many flowers blooming and the trail was just what I needed to stretch my legs and get some neat shots of the flowers.
While I was there, I figured it would be the perfect time to talk about how to take flower photos. So, I created the video above for my Youtube Channel, and wanted to put these tips into writing. So, lets get to it!
Tips on How to Take Flower Photos
Ultimately I have 2 types of photos that you may want to get, and the tips to get those photos. I wanted to get you started with taking flower photos because Spring is here!!!
1. How to get that creamy background
You need to get at their level. Yep, you have to move your bootay and get down to the ground. Don’t try to stay standing up. This is where most people go wrong.
Use a low F stop/ wide aperature. Basically, the lower the number the better in my opinion. Now most lenses will go to F4. This is ok, but ultimately you want to be around F2.8 or lower. If you are just starting out, just make sure that you are at the widest aperature possible for your lense. As I was saying F2.8 or lower is so much better. This is where you are really going to see that creamy background, also known as bokeh. This means that yes, you are going to have to spend a bit of money to get that type of lens; however, it is totally worth it!
See the images below for example. All of these images were taken from ground level at F2.8.
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2. How to get that amazing landscape shot with the flowers in the foreground
Ok, so do you ever see those images, of the amazing flowers in the foreground, yet some how there is still that awesome landscape in the background? These are some of my favorite images! So how do you get them?
You need to again, get down to their level. Get up close and personal with those beauties. This is going to allow you to have the flower in the foreground and then the gorgeous landscape in the background.
Use a moderate F value. What do I mean? Basically you will want a good ‘landscape’ F value. I prefer F8 - F11.
Focus on the mountains in the background. Whalah! You get your beautiful landscape wildflower image!
3. Other Tips
Type of Lens to use: Really, anything that will allow you to focus manually and to shoot at a wide aperature. For me, I use my Sony 24-70mm G master F2.8
Type of camera to use: You really need a camera that will allow you to shoot manual mode. If you don’t have this, then you are going to be hard pressed to try to use these tips. I use the Sony A7riii and the Sony A7rii
Time of year to take flower photos: Pretty much any time of year that there are flowers! Now, if you want wildflowers you will need to shoot in the spring time.
For desert wildflowers you will want March and April, but these little flowers die quickly so you really need to keep an eye out on how the flowers are doing. There are awesome websites that you can check. The National Park Service website even has cool wildflower ratings :)
For foothill wildflowers you will want to go out during March and April.
For high mountain wildflowers you will want sometime in late July and early August.
Note: This all depends on the weather and the rain accumulation. You will need to check. These months are all a rough estimate.
Time of day to take flower photos: Sunrise or sunset. These are the ultimate best because you are going to get that soft gorgeous light. If you happen to be shooting during the middle of the day, you can always block the flower with your shadow to help mellow out the light.
Do you have any tips on how to take flower photos? If so, comment below. I would love to add them to the list :)
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Wishing you the very best!