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Botanical Identification Desert Gallery Flowers of San Jacinto

There’s no flower like Snowflower, like no flower I know…

The Snow flower, or Snow plant, (Sarcodes sanguinea) inhabits mountainous regions from Oregon down to California. They are found growing near conifers as a parasitic plant that derives nutrients from the mycorrhizal fungi attached to the roots of trees.

We normally see them popping up around this time (and earlier) up at Mount San Jacinto State Park. They are hard to miss with their vibrant red color amidst a floor of dried pine needles! Our friend Luis spotted this one from over 100 feet away.

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Desert Still Life

Shell, Branch and Ephedra

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The dancing cat gallery

Thomas Gets Serious

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The dancing cat gallery

Thomas and His Expressions

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front The dancing cat gallery

Thomas and a Wave of Blue

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Desert Still Life

Desert Still Life 001

The desert is is full of inspiration for desert still life photography!

Traversing the desert, we tend to collect little treasures/objects: a unique rock, a distinctive piece of wood, flowers, flowers, and more flowers. Desert Still Life 001 features some of these found desert objects: a dried Bougainvillea flower, a broken Creosote branch, and a fresh juniper berry.

Desert Still Life 001 — Details

Bougainvillea flowers are an abundant ornamental that add a splash of color to the desert landscape. They come in many shades: white, pale pink, a rosy peach, fuchsia, and a deep, royal purple. And, the coolest thing about them, they bloom year round here.

The other plant that is prevalent here in the Colorado Desert is the creosote bush, or chaparral, (Larrea tridentata). Prevalent may be an understatement as the term usually associated with creosote bush is ubiquitous. Creosote is old. As a matter of fact, a ring of creosote in California is recognized as the oldest living organism on earth at 11,700 years old.It is also highly prized by the Cahuilla Indians for its many medicinal and non-medicinal uses.

As you move up higher elevations in the desert, the landscape changes. There, you find manzanitas, cedars, pines, and junipers. Some junipers are full of juniper berries! We couldn’t resist and picked some juniper berries with their powdery blue skin. The junipers we found are of the California Juniper (Juniperus californica) variety.

Desert still life 001 is part of a series of modern art still life photography. Taken with a macro lens to capture the exquisite detail of the wood and the veins in the Bougainvillea flower.

Desert Still Life 001 — Prints

When we printed Desert still life 001, we printed it on two types of paper: photo paper and matte cotton rag paper. As a photograph, we knew it would look great on Epson’s Exhibition Fiber paper, which has a gorgeous texture (not entirely smooth, but not really textured). The Epson’s Hot Press smooth cotton rag paper was the unknown factor. It has a warmer tone and the colors are more muted (because the paper is completely matte). While both papers are gorgeous and each has its charm, we decided on the photo paper with its slight sheen.

Desert Still Life 001 is available in our Etsy shop.

 

 

 

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The dancing cat gallery

Thomas Dreams of Desert Mallows

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The dancing cat gallery

Up Shadow Mountain

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The dancing cat gallery

Thomas the Cat Sunbathing in Orange, Gold, and Rose

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_dropcap]Do you[/fusion_dropcap] see anything? Maybe, glimmering in this picture?

It’s not a trick question.

I think, imho, the outlines in the leaves of the background look like gold, but there is no gold, it’s a trick on the eyes! Because there is no such thing as gold in the RBG color space. Digital gold is simply various shades of yellow (a gradient) in juxtaposition to one another. There be digital gold in them thar’ hills!

ka_20160729_groundCloverThis effect is also ,of course, more pronounced when the resolution is a little higher. The proximity and gradient of the yellow in contrast to the oranges really make it look like gold. This would be amazing printed with gold accent ink!

The other thought, was the very Japanese block-printy feel—or, like patterns on origami squares. That wasn’t necessarily planned, it just sort of happened. Photoshop really is an amazing tool to learn about color… Hmmm, Japanese kimono, or a botanical Serigraph?

The background is, actually, an interpretation of some lovely ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea) pictures taken from our backyard in Maine. Interestingly, another name for ground ivy is catsfoot! (Also, it’s not an ivy but part of the mint family.)

I am reminded of warm, sunny days in Maine when we would work in the garden and the cats would find their spot, and bask in the sun outside. Sometimes we would find them snoozing, almost hidden in ground ivy, which has a way of popping up everywhere…

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Glechoma hederacea
Glechoma hederacea

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Galleries Saraswatī

Slate hexagon pattern

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Desert Still Life

Desert Driftwood

There’s never a dull day here at TLB. What might seem like an innocuous image of a piece of driftwood, it’s really the BTS, or behind the scenes, that tells the story.

For this particular piece of desert driftwood, G constructed a lightbox for our indoor “studio” (emphasis on the air quotes). We have used one before constructed out of white foam board, but here, G took a solid cardboard box (from our cat food delivery), cut out windows on three sides for lights, used white tissue paper to cover said windows to diffuse the light, placed a thick piece of styrofoam inside as the base, and cut a narrow strip of white poster board for the sweep. Et voila! A lightbox perfect for taking product photos and other small, interesting pieces.

The purpose of this is so we can take pictures whenever the mood strikes or whenever we need pictures asap! Although it is sunny here in SoCal for 98% of the year, there is only a short window from which to take pictures in our studio. So this makes our job, er G’s job, much easier!

As for the desert driftwood, it’s a gorgeous piece of wood that we picked up on our hike up the hill. You’ll see this little guy more, I’m sure, as we adorn the set with dried flowers, seeds, resins, and what-not.

 

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Desert Still Life

Desert scene: driftwood, stone, and dried flowers

In addition to taking pictures of flowers when we’re hiking, we sometimes pick up odds and ends. Especially if they are interesting! We picked up this piece of driftwood up the hill for its intriguing shape, texture, and color. The rock was chosen because it looks like a wide, slightly flattened heart. And the palo verde flowers had just fallen off the tree… You should see the piles and piles of yellow flowers scattered underneath the palo verde trees! Lastly, there is a single ocotillo flower for a splash of color. The ocotillos are particularly stunning when they are blooming.

There’s the running joke when we are hiking: who put rocks in my backpack?

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Botanical Identification

Lesser Yellow Throated Gilia

This is one of my favorite flowers! It’s about 3 mm in diameter and doesn’t open until after 10 am. There are a few flowers in the gilia family. This one is star shaped with petals that slowly transform from a bluish-purple to pink at the tips. The inside of the flower is white, then inside the throat is an unmistakable yellow—hence, yellow-throated. The anthers (or pom-poms as I like to call them), of which there are five, are a light blue. How can something so tiny contain so much color?!

They are everywhere on our hikes, but you have to look for them (because they are so delicate and tiny). That’s another thing, how can something so delicate withstand the heat and not wilt? The desert is a constant source of amazement! Well, many of the ones we find grow in the lee of a rock—those tend to stick around longer and are taller than their counterparts that grow in the open.

Some lesser yellow throated gilia have more pink, some a little more blue, and yet others a little more purple. This one is a gorgeous example of all three colors prominently featured. I particularly love the outline of the petals in that bright pink. Simply stunning!

I wonder how long these little guys and gals will last…

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Botanical Identification Flowers of San Jacinto

Little White Desert Flowers

Karla and I are at it again! This time, at the Randall Henderson Trail in the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. Today, we’re going for 32 bit HDR… I’m not even sure what that stands for, but WE LOVE IT!!! The image file is HUGE.

We found this delicate little white desert flower along the trail. Thanks to our friend at Friends of the Desert Mountains, we now know this is little flower is Ditaxis lanceolata. It appears that Ditaxis doesn’t have a common name…

Pointed, star-shaped, five-petaled flower with fuzzy silvery, green leaves. It was so bright that the flowers were almost invisible (plus, they’re tiny). It’s amazing that we continue to spot new species of wildflowers every time we go hiking.

Also, on the trail today, we tried our first mammalaria fruits. They were reddish-orange… small… and seedy… but yummy (though Karla asked, are they supposed to be “slightly slimy?”).

Updated on October 22, 2016

Categories
Botanical Identification Desert Gallery Flowers of San Jacinto

Prickly Pear Cactus Flower

The most collaboration we’ve put into a picture yet! I’m working the camera, and Karla’s working the Ipad remote, checking the focus and exposure, so that we could combine multiple images into this interpretive HDR. Our new Sony a6000 rocks… seriously.

For months, G and I hiked up the mountains looking at flowers and identifying ‘new’ species (new to us). Each hike took a few hours…with the backpack…the camera…camera equipment…snacks…and water…lots of water. We would set our at dawn and, sometimes, return home in the afternoon. No, we are not crazy; but we are, dedicated.

So imagine our surprise when we spotted this beauty in the Sculpture Garden at the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert. Since we were in picture taking mode, we brought our camera and equipment everywhere.