Spring Flowers

Yellow blossom of a purple pricklypear

In the front yard of my house there grows a large and (I like to think) magnificent purple pricklypear.  Every year, late in the spring before the heat of summer descends in earnest, it puts on a lovely display of yellow blossoms.  Every year when the flowers come back I tell myself I’ll take some pictures.  But it seems I’ve always got something going on, though, and I never do.  Before I know it, the flowers vanish and the opportunity is past.  This year, however, I finally decided to seize the opportunity.

It was getting to be late afternoon when I pulled into the driveway.  As was my custom I admired the flowers and thought for the nth time that I should take some pictures.  And then I thought again – I’ve got nothing pressing at the moment, why not now?  So I did.

There were a number of blossoms that were in the shade of the cactus and my neighbors tree.  The diffused light was perfect.  Often I find when flowers such as these are in bright sunlight it’s too much.  The colors end up being brilliant but overexposed.  I pulled out my macro lens and tripod and went to work.  I’ve resigned myself to using a tripod for the majority of my macro shots.  The depth of field is shallow enough and I’m unsteady enough that it’s the only way to get a decently composed shot.

The results are what you see here.  In the process I discovered a previously unknown positive attribute about this flower.  Despite pretty breezy conditions the cactus was steady enough that the flower was pretty much stationary during the entire shot.  This made for a much easier time composing each shot.  Most flowers are out on long wispy stalks or branches and sway abominably at the slightest hint of a breeze, a real pain when you’re trying to focus on very specific and small details.