Wonderful Wildflowers – A Not So Hidden Beauty

This week’s guest blogger is Patty Hankins,  Patty is a fine art floral photographer based in Bethesda, Maryland

I love photographing wildflowers – especially in the spring.  For the past several years, I’ve spent part (if not most) of the month of April in Tennessee and North Carolina in what can only be described as the most beautiful place on Earth for wildflowers. Be it alongside the road or under a tree, it seems that whereever you look is another wildflower waiting to be discovered and photographed.

The combinations of colors, shapes and textures have to  be seen to be believed. I took this photo of the Yellow Trillium (trillium luteum) and Purple Phacelia (phacelia bipinnatifida) quite literally along the side of the road in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park three years ago.  It has the wonderful combination of the triangles in the trillium and the rounded edges of the phacelia. The complementary shades of yellow and purple bring additional balance to the scene, while the pattern of the trillium draws you into the scene.

It’s not just the beauty that attracts me to the wildflowers – spending time among the flowers brings me an incredible sense of peace and connection with the greater natural world. Not only do I see the flowers – but also the settings where they are. I’m often photographing in the mountains, or alongside a stream. I can hear the birds singing in the trees, the insects buzzing, and the wind rustling through the leaves. I also know that the amazing colors and shapes serve the purpose of attracting just the right pollinator to the flowers to ensure the future of the species.

When I’m out photographing wildflowers people often stop and ask me what I’m photographing. They are so used to looking for the big wildlife or grand landscapes – that they don’t think to look down at their feet to see what’s growing. As I was photographing the trillium and phacelia, two people asked the inevitable question that people seem to ask when they see a photographer with a tripod the park – “Is there a bear?” Umm – no. Given how short of a lens I was using and how close I was to my subject – if I had been photographing a bear at that particular moment – I could easily have been his next meal!

So next spring – whether you are photographing locally at Turkey Run Park or in the Smokies – I hope you’ll take a few minutes to check out the wildflowers. You might find some wonderful subjects to photograph.

Patty Hankins is a fine art floral photographer based in Bethesda, Maryland.  Patty loves sharing the incredible beauty of the flowers that she sees. She hopes that her photographs bring others the same sense of calm and peace that she finds while photographing nature. You can see more of her work on her website http://beautifulflowerpictures.com/ and on her blog http://beautifulflowerpicturesblog.com/

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