Poppies Are Still Going Strong

Poppies in the Merced River Canyon, Sierra NF, CA, USA

Poppies in the Merced River Canyon, yesterday afternoon

The poppies in the Merced River Canyon have defied my expectations. Not only did they survive the series of storms over the last two weeks, but the bloom has expanded further up the hillsides to some of the highest ridge tops, and east towards El Portal. The stretch on the north side of the river, about three miles east of Briceburg (and opposite the Slate Creek Bridge), looks particularly good, as does Grandy’s Hill a couple of miles further east.

The poppies near the beginning of the Hite’s Cove Trail have faded, which is not surprising, since they’ve been blooming for a couple of weeks now. That means the most easily-accessible spot for poppies isn’t as spectacular anymore, but there are still poppies there, and further along the trail you’ll find a variety of other wildflowers – not large swaths, but good subjects for closeups. And there are plenty of other good places for poppies if you look around; just drive up the canyon on a sunny afternoon and you can’t miss them.

Although early-blooming spots like Hite’s Cove are starting to fade, other places are just getting started, so I’d guess that there will be good displays for at least another week, maybe longer. This all looks very similar to 2012, which is the second-best poppy bloom I’ve seen in this area. The photograph above, made yesterday afternoon, shows what some of the hillsides look like now.

— Michael Frye

Related Posts: Hite’s Cove Poppies; Wildflower Update

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Michael Frye is a professional photographer specializing in landscapes and nature. He is the author or principal photographer of The Photographer’s Guide to YosemiteYosemite Meditations, Yosemite Meditations for Women, and Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters. He has also written three eBooks: Light & Land: Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom, Exposure for Outdoor Photography, and Landscapes in Lightroom 5: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide. Michael written numerous magazine articles on the art and technique of photography, and his images have been published in over thirty countries around the world. Michael has lived either in or near Yosemite National Park since 1983, currently residing just outside the park in Mariposa, California.

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10 Responses to “Poppies Are Still Going Strong”

  1. Eric J says:

    I think that was your car parked by the side of the road a few miles below the “temporary” bridge yesterday evening. At least there were couple of cars parked under what looked like an impossibly steep slope carpeted with poppies. Kudos for making that climb!

    To my uneducated eye, the poppies on Hite Cove weren’t bad :)

  2. D says:

    I went up yesterday, and found a whole lotta Poppies! Like Eric I found that spot to be pretty good! The poppies were sleeping even at 11:00AM which was a bit disappointing, but they looked healthy and vibrant. There were quite a few people on the trail too!

    The mountain sides in several places looked lovely in their orange blanket.

    BTW: I’m thrilled that the app worked all over the forest and valley! Thank you for pre-thinking that and making an app that works sans cell service! KUDOS!

  3. I’ve had issues this year photographing wildflowers and I don’t know why. I’m just not wowed by my shots this year. Have you ever taken any at a botanical garden? There’s one near my house with thousands of flowers in bloom but I’m worried they won’t have a natural look since it’s a manicured garden.

    • Michael Frye says:

      David, I haven’t done much photography at botanical gardens, but I think you have to not worry about whether they look natural or not. I think it’s okay if the photos look like they were taken in a garden!

  4. Glenn Cunningham says:

    I love the pictures of the fields of poppies. I also appreciate your helpful comments. I will be going to Texas next week to take pictures of the bluebonnets and other wildflowers in the Texas hill country and surrounding areas. I am an experienced photographer but not professional. Any suggestions for god pictures in that setting?

    • Michael Frye says:

      Thanks Glenn. There’s nothing that different about photographing flowers in Texas than photographing flowers anywhere, or, for that matter, photographing any colorful subject anywhere. Soft light is great for flowers, though you usually have to keep the sky out of the frame with soft light. Backlight can also work well. Other than that, master composition, exposure, and depth of field – simple. :)

  5. Sarah says:

    Hi Michael,

    Do you know if these still any poppies left during the next weekend?

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