California Poppies with their Golden Yellow Flower Blooms

California poppies opening to the morning sun.

California poppies with their golden yellow flower blooms brighten up the local community gardens for sure! 

The xeriscape gardens have come to the their blooming close for the season. So this is when I gravitate over to the local community gardens for some photo ops. It’s predominately reserved for folks with plots growing their fruits and veggies. However, some also plant flowers. And or there are the perennial regulars that make their seasonal comeback. 

These golden poppies are also known as California sunlight flower and cup of gold blooms. In the local gardens, they’re usually accompanied by regulars such as Bachelor Buttons and Cosmos. So it’s mighty colorful for photographer and bees!

I’ve seen photos some pretty incredible photos of California poppies covering entire mountainsides with their blooms. During years when they are exceptionally prolific with their blooms, such as in May of 2020, NASA even published satellite views of these blooming wildflowers from space. Quite impressive for little yellow wildflowers!!

Up Close and Personal

Golden yellow California poppy flower
Golden yellow California poppy.

While seeing California poppies blooming from space is pretty dang cool, I’m equally as content to photograph them up close and personal at the local community gardens. Their golden yellow color is so beautiful. Like other wildflowers such as Blue Flax, these are coaxed to open with the morning sun.

Getting to the gardens early, many of the little blooms are still curled up. But as it warms up, they begin to unfold and it’s so cool to just observe even before taking photos. Thankfully, unlike bees, I have a bit more discretion and patience rather than forcing my way into a flower before it’s opened.

Armed with my camera and Velvet 56 lens, sitting on the ground with my garden pad presents wonderful photo opportunities. Since these are not in huge patches of flowers, it’s definitely more personal. Then again my preference is for a more macro experience with one flower or just a few clusters.

If a group of them that I’d like to photograph is not quite open yet, I just walk around the gardens for a bit. Being surrounded by all kinds of growing goodies that will soon be edible is both a worthy endeavor and very Zen. Then again, I’ve been known to snag a ripening raspberry or my personal favorite, blackberries!

Sideview of yellow California poppy flowers
Close-up, side view of a cluster of CA poppies.
A cluster of golden California poppy blooms
Looking down on patch of CA poppy blooms.

Sharing the Space with Bees

bee inside California poppy flower
Bee inside poppy with shadow reflected on flower petals.

As noted above, I may have patience, but the bees are on a mission! They busily move from flower to little flower doing what bees do. I’m grateful when they stay put for a bit so I can capture a few photos. The photo to the left was one of those moments. I love how you can see the bee’s shadow reflected on the flower petals.

When I see them forcing their way into a golden poppy with their little butts sticking out, I cannot help but laugh. I look at them, shake my head and say “shameless!”

The photo below is a great example. This little bee was not about to take no for an answer as he was forcing his way into this not-quite opened little poppy.

Bee with it's Butt sticking out of a California poppy.
Honey bee with its little butt sticking out of a California poppy that has not opened yet.
Bee gathering pollen on Cup of Gold flower.
Bee gathering pollen inside cup of gold flower.

One of the pure joys of this flower photography journey is sharing the space with bees. It’s Nature at its finest and I feel honored to experience those rare moments in time 🙂

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