"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." — Albert Einstein
Yesterday, it was so good to be back in nature. We made our way from arid Phoenix to the lush mountains north of Flagstaff, Arizona, for a day of hiking and landscape photography. This time, we lucked out on our timing to find bountiful wild flowers in bloom, highlighting a rich green backdrop of vibrant plants.
In the High Sonoran Desert areas like Phoenix, elevation 1,200 ft, we're graced by wild flowers just a few weeks in the early Spring, say in March to early April if not sooner. Here in the Flagstaff area, elevation 7,200 feet, Summer Monsoon rains usher in dense wildflowers, which peak in August or early September.
My approach to the wildflower photography was mostly one of waiting on the Sun, as broken clouds created dark shadows on parts of the landscape, while other areas remained in bright daylight. The other challenge was the wind, which seems ever present along the mountainside. Windy conditions required me to use high shutter speeds, like 1/500th of second and faster, to "freeze" the flowers and plants in motion. This, in turn, required the use of high ISO levels, 500 to 800 ISO for most of my shots.
All of that said, I've recommitted to visit this wonderful Northern Arizona mountain area more often in the year ahead; be it for wildflowers, autumn colors or a view of snow-capped San Francisco Peaks. This is a very special place, indeed, with such natural splendor in every season.
Camera Gear: Nikon Z7, Nikon 24 - 70 mm f/4.5 and Nikon 12 -24 mm f/2.8, Hoya polarizer filter and Gitzo Tripod.
Landscape photography techniques, photo expedition travel planning and hiking tips.