San Rafael Valley, AZ ~~ Photo by Bill Haas

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I've been finding and photographing wildflowers for forty years -- it's my hobby. That doesn't mean YOU have to tag along. So, as usual, if bloomers aren't your bag, skip this post, go clean out your garage and come back later!!
Renting a car to travel the twisting, rolling mountain roads in Great Smoky Mountains National Park allowed me to pull over and jump in and out just about anywhere I discovered bright spots to photograph along the way. At last count, 1600 wildflower varieties are found in Great Smoky NP. Don't panic now...98% of them remain unphotographed by me!

I like photographing certain flower varieties in a series -- first the entire plant, then close in on the miraculous, distinctive details inside. Using a digital camera for macro photography has presented a whole spectrum of new challenges and strategies for me, but the best part is I'm not using film anymore so I can just focus and click away to my heart's content!

Clicking on the close-up thumbnail will uncover tiny little works of Mother Nature's art.

Flame Azalea

Wild Potato Vine (yes, it's in the Morning Glory family)

Mimosa (Silk) Tree -- I followed its bloom Northward from Florida, May to July. The flowers remind me of delicate Asian fans.

Mountain Mint, related to Bee Balm. The bees love the nectar in the flowers; I loved its pungent, fragrant leaves.

Queen Anne's Lace

Green Headed Cone Flower

Not a cultivated Hibiscus but it is in the Hibiscus family. This is a WILD Crimson-Eyed Rosemallow/Swamp Rosemallow. Its blooms are as big as a salad plate, and it is stunning!

Wild Lilac

Wild Hydrangea, just starting to bloom

Although its shape resembles Red Yarrow, this is a shrub, not the medicinal herb; for me, it remains an "UNK" for now!

Crown Vetch

Beardtongue Penstemon

Mountain Laurel -- There's no such thing as taking too many pictures of this enchanting shrub!

Its individual flowerettes reminded me of dancers' costumes from a Busby Berkeley production.

Thyme-Leafed Bluets, a tiny tiny flower just starting its Summer bloom -- so easy to step on.

Bear Berry

Rosebay Rhododendron - End of the season

Rosebay Rhododendron - Beginning of the season

Butterfly Weed. All wildflowers are weeds. I especially love weeds that flower!

Turk's Caps (known as Tiger Lillies in other locales)

Lizzard Tails