They have been saying, Winter is Coming, and this year in LA, they were right! We had the more rain between the December to March period than almost any on record. Its really not something we are used to in southern California, but the great outcome of this has been an amazing snow dump, the end of the drought, and one of the best natural super bloom flower shows we have ever been treated too.
There are a number of locations within an hour and half or so drive from Los Angeles where this natural phenomena occur. But the most well know would have to be Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve due to the large poppy festival held nearby in May.
Antelope Valley is located 90 mins north of Los Angeles and just outside the city of Lancaster. Its quite an easy drive, but due to the popularity of the flowers, the traffic near the reserve, and the lack of parking can make it quite difficult to get too. I highly recommend going early and arriving near the opening time of 8-9am before the crowds get really busy.
Once you have braved the almost always horrible LA traffic (during Spring Break there was a line of cars waiting for up to 2-3 hours to get in!), at first approach you are rewarded with small patches of orange flowers dotting the sides of the road that eventually opens up to a sea of magnificent orange.
Photographically, flowers have always been a great subject to play with. Creatively, there are some many options from wide angles taking in the vast expanses of flowers to macro shots that feature the amazing detail and color of a single flower filling the frame.
I took both my Leica M with the 75mm Summicron f/2.0 APO lens which has one of the closest focusing distances of all the M lenses at 0.7m, and my Leica Q for both wide angle 28mm shots, but also to utilize the amazing macro features of the camera.
(I also took along my new toy, my Fuji TX-1 Xpan film camera. I shot on Fuji Veliva 100 slide film. But sadly I messed up the settings and most of the shots are very over exposed. I am still learning!!)
I’ve only had the 75mm Summicron for a few months, but I am constantly blown away by how sharp the details and how rich the colors are captured with this lens. Now that I have been using almost non-stop on my M, I am starting to get used the very short focusing throw. It makes accurate focus quite hard to achieve initially, but with practice I am finding most of my shots are now keepers focus wise.
If you find yourself in LA during Spring, and we have had one of those rare wet winters, its well worth visiting Antelope Valley to photograph this beautiful site.