Stay Wild (Flower) Child

Welcome Wanderers!

We’re just back from a visit to the California SUPER BLOOM and we’re going to share our photography tips for how (and where!) to view these beautiful wildflowers sustainably and mindfully while still getting the shot before the blooms are gone!  

CU purple wild flowers

If you’ve heard of the famous blooms, then you’ve likely also heard about the disrespectful trampling, over-tourism leading to accidents, and lack of resources that forced the town of Lake Elsinore to close to tourists.

“This is why we can’t have nice things,” my new camping friend Alyson remarked, as we watched a swarm of tourists march past the “trail closed” signs and onto the beautiful wildflowers.  I must admit to not understanding actions that cause damage to the very thing that you’ve come to witness and photograph.

(Left: Spot where people sat on the wildflowers for their photo. Right: Tourists trample hillside that was marked as CLOSED)

The thing is, we’ve found through conversations that many people are unaware of their negative impact on the environment, so we wanted to share a few quick tips with you for how to limit your impact and get the shot.

Mindful and Sustainable Wildflower Viewing Tips and Photography Tricks:

1. Stay on the dirt paths already created by human impact or walkways provided and maintained by the park.

Photography Tips:

  • Find a clever angle!  Scout for an angle where you don’t see the path in the photo.  Have the photographer crouch low, to accentuate the look of the blooms surrounding you.
[PHOTO CREDIT: Grace Kathryn Photography]
  • USE the path!  Often paths lead the eye somewhere pleasing to the viewer, like that super gorgeous patch of wildflowers over there…see it?  Cool.  [Instagram Photo Tip: I’ll say it…it’s totally a trend on Instagram to capture winding roads, or dirt paths.  But there’s a good reason for that!  So, no reason to leave the path and trample flowers, when the path is actually the star of the photo.]C on path walking
[PHOTO CREDIT: Grace Kathryn Photography]

2. Do not pick the wildflowers- if everyone who visited had done that before you, there wouldn’t be any flowers for you to enjoy!

Photography Tip:

  • Engage with what’s around you! Nothing puts the viewer more in the place, than the subject interacting with something in the photo.  Instead of killing the flower by picking it for a quick photo, try holding the blossom in your hand.  Lean in to smell it, or hover your hand to give the impression you’re gently running your hands through the blooms.  [Instagram Photo Tip: Honestly- just have fun with it!  When you’re having fun, it shows, and we all want to double tap smiling faces because they make us feel good, too!]
    C playing with ferns in Amir's
    (Having fun, and a joking example of interaction with the elements around you in the photo)
    C enjoying Amir's Garden
    (Example of interacting with elements in the scene/photo)

3. Be respectful of other visitors, and help each other get the shot.  You already have something in common by being there to see the wildflowers! Offer to shoot their photo for them, and ask them to return the favor.  You’re all there for the same reason, so why not help each other out?

Photography Tip:

  • Make a friend! Ask a fellow wildflower lover to take your photos.  [Instagram Photo Tip: If you’re worried they won’t capture what you’d envisioned,  it helps to put the camera where you want it, take the shot, then show the kind person taking your photo what your “frame” is.  We have found that people are often happy that we did that since it takes the stress off them to create the photo!]

Now that you know how to get those shareable shots, read on for our recommendations for where to see them, and a link to a website with updated super bloom information!

Where to see the super bloom in Southern California?

Our answer for where to see the super bloom might just blow your mind.  Ready?  The answer is…almost anywhere!

It’s been strange to witness the masses descend on one or two bloom areas like Antelope Valley near Palmdale, and the aforementioned Lake Elsinore, because some of our favorite bloom sightings have been on random hikes, work commutes, or an impromptu road trip! Here are our top 3 off-the-beaten-path wildflower viewing spots:

1. Junction of the Angeles Forest Highway and the 14

Palmdale Wild Flowers

We were driving out to camp and rock climb in Joshua Tree and just happened upon this beauty!

2. The Santa Monica Mountains

C walking SM Mountains Wildflowers

Deciding to try a new hike really paid off…with gorgeous green hillsides sprinkled with wildflowers!

3. Carrizo Plains

C sitting enjoying Wildflowers Carrizo

[PHOTO CREDIT: Grace Kathryn Photography]

Carrizo was crowded compared to our other suggestions, but less so than other popular spots! And, from what we’ve read, it’s just starting to peak! The wide expanse of the plains was rimmed by mountains that seemed to have been painted yellow- but it was fields of wildflowers!

If you want to check specific areas and get up-to-date super bloom information, we recommend the Theodore Payne Wildflower Hotline.

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We hope these wildflower tips and photography tricks lead you on a wonderful adventure all your own!  If you want your wildflower shots featured on our Instagram Stories, be sure to tag us @CoupleaWanderers!

Our goal as Couple a Wanderers is to encourage everyone to get outside and enjoy nature, respectfully and mindfully.  Overpopulation is a challenge for our planet and no matter what, humans have an impact and consume resources.  But, we can choose to limit that impact, and be respectful of our planet as well as the other people around us who have come to enjoy the beautiful displays of nature which unite us all. 

Thanks for wandering with us!

Pura Vida,