"Purple Sage Blossom"
May 2012, Santa Susana Mountains, California
If winter rainfalls have been sufficient in my local Southern California mountains, I know that I can expect wonderful wildflower displays on their hillsides in spring. I always get excited during any winter storm, first because I just love rain, and secondly because it means that there is a good chance that I'll be able to do some local wildflower shooting in the months to come. The rainfall in 2012 was only average, but the flora in my area is generally resilient, having become accustomed to surviving in a semi arid climate zone. The hiking trails that I train on were surrounded with breathtaking displays of purple sage, monkey flowers, asters and phacelia. Purple sage is perhaps the most resilient of all, typically thriving well into June. The flower shown here is about 4 inches tall.
I worked really hard for this image. It is actually a total of 46 images combined into one. I used a technique called focus-stacking to achieve the result seen here. In a nutshell, focus-stacking involves taking multiple pictures of a subject, with each successive frame focusing on a different plane. The difficult (and frustrating) part is that you can have no subject movement whatsoever during the course of shooting your set. For this reason I always shoot macro sets like these early in the morning before even the slightest breeze has had a chance to form.
CaliforniaFloraFlowersMacroPurple SageSpringWildflowerssalvia leucophylla