Even though it was an unfortunate year for the California poppy due to the fourth year of crushing drought, and wildflowers in the areas surrounding Sacramento bloomed unusually early due to an early season heat wave, there was still a short window of time to capture the brief blooming season this Spring.
Popular among hikers, rock climbers and mountain bikers, the unusually named Beeks Bight, located on the northwest section of Folsom Lake in the city of Granite Bay, is known among locals for the spectacular purple lupine display in April. The coverage of the lupine was significantly less than last year, but there were still thick blankets of blooms to be found closer to the lake edge. One of the features I love about this area is the granite rock boulders which provide for an interesting variety of compositions. Afternoon light here can be harsh for photography, but the rising morning sun over the hills of the lake can provide an interesting composition with the lupine and the lake in the foreground.
Located in a rural area of Amador county in the tiny town of Volcano, southeast of Sacramento, Daffodil Hill is a privately owned farm that opens its doors to the public when the blankets of daffodils bloom on its hills. It’s an extremely popular location, with limited dirt parking, and is best to arrive early in the day. The timing of the daffodil blooms vary from year to year, and last for a very short season, so it is best to give them a call or connect with them via their Facebook page to determine opening times.
This year was unusually early for all spring flowers, causing Daffodil Hill to open in February, then closing by mid-March. There are dozens of colorful peacocks strutting the grounds among the blooms, and if you’re lucky, you’ll spot the single albino peacock. Antique farm equipment and picturesque vintage structures on the grounds provide further interesting photographic opportunities.
North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve
In the flat buttes outside of Oroville, north of Sacramento, Table Mountain puts on quite a wildflower show between February and March, featuring a variety of purple lupine, California poppies, yellow and purple owl’s clover along the reserve’s vast expanse of lava outcrops.
The presence of waterfalls and seasonal streams among the wildflowers and oak trees enhances the unique beauty of this area. It is an area that is open to cattle grazing, and it is best to visit before the wildflower petals get thoroughly munched by the abundant number of happy California cows. These photos were taken in mid-March, and upon returning just a week later, the blooms were significantly reduced in coverage. When you visit, there is a small gravel parking lot bordering the rural reserve, and no marked trails or signs, but guided tours are available.
I hear the dogwood trees are still in bloom in Yosemite Valley, so there is still some opportunity to photograph spring flowers before next season!