Carlsbad Flower Fields

  Viewing best show, even if it is human cultivated

Trip Report 20190326

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The Experience

I have lived in San Diego for most of my adult life and had never been to the Carlsbad Flower Fields.  Since I got Kathleen a very nice macro lens for her Fuji XH-1, we both thought it might be fun to see the fields in person.  So, we grabbed some our various cameras and headed up I-5 to see the sights.

The photos below are what we saw.

Having a "good lens" is no panacea when it comes to taking close-up photos.  Special lenses, called "macro lenses" are made to make small things look big.  But, getting up close creates other challenges, easily shown in the photo above.  The bloom is perhaps 3" long, but note that the camera could only get a very small portion in focus.  This phenomenon is called "depth of field" or DOF.  The DOF of a lens is determined by several things, but the 2 biggest factors are focal length and aperture.  My macro lens is a Sony 90mm.  The longer the lens, the shallower the DOF as shown above.  All other things being equal, it is possible to deepen the DOF by "stopping down" (making the aperture smaller) but at the end of the day, this approach will be limited by the amount of available light and the length of shutter speed you are willing to suffer.  The photo above was hand-held at ISO 250, f/5.6, 1/250. 

We got out of the shadows and into more light and I reduced aperture to f/9 and it markedly improved DOF.  All subsequent close-ups were taken at f/9.  Note the yellow pollen on the flower petals.

This flower had a clean structure and pastel colored petals.

  This species of flower is present close to our home.

The non-yellow flowers were more appealing to me.  Note the center structure.

These flowers were bursting with pollen.  The dark spots are dust.

Note the fine hairs on the blooms.

The shape of this flower was novel compared to the others.

Interesting structure.

The morphology of some of the flowers was complex.

Kathleen working the camera.

I have no idea who this girl is, but she did make a fine subject when surrounded by the beauty of the flowers.

And speaking of beauty, I am guessing this was a mother-daughter pair.

Ah, to be young again.

Farm tractors were used to shuttle folks around the fields.  We opted for the shoe-leather express.

As we got higher on the hill we could see the old Carlsbad power plant.  The cultivated flowers created blazing bands of color in the hazy sun.

The colors were so vivid it made our eyes water.

The yellow colors were perhaps the most intense.

Looking toward the water gave a different view with new color patterns.

A wonderful sight.

The fields are actively used for flower production and there were workers in the distance harvesting the blooms for sale by florists.

Clean, well defined structure.

Sometimes, the colors of the flowers were intermixed.

More interesting structure.

Not all pollen is yellow.  This bloom had black pollen.

The bloom on the left is almost fully open while the bud on the right is just starting to open.

Sadly, I never noted the species name or common name of the blooms.  But "a rose by any other name....".

The admission to the fields was almost $20 a head, but it was worth it to see the blooms up close.  I was sorry that I waited all those years before coming, but we will surely come again next year.

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