Photo Diary where to find wildflowers featuring poppies and ladybugs.

When thoughts start to turn to spring and flowers, the question arises, where to find wildflowers and perhaps butterflies and ladybugs too? The hunt is on for the expanses of color, the bees, the butterflies and the beauty. In Northern California, we go looking everywhere somewhere new.

The subject: Where to find wildflowers in the Auburn State Recreation Area? They are in abundance in many corners if your timing is right and you go to the right place. Areas that get just the right amount of sun and water flourish. On this hunt for wildflowers we chose the Foresthill Divide Loop trail, which is very popular with mountain bikers and runners alike. On the west side of the trail, you will end up closer to the American River with overlooks on tangents from the main trail. Keep your eyes peeled. On the east side of the trail, there are often hidden meadows with swaths of poppies and lupines, and yes, sometimes masses of ladybugs too coming out of hibernation.

The inspiration: We trotted out the west side of the Foresthill Divide Trail and took the first right turn to stay on the west side, then a short tangent up a hill toward the American river to find the answer to where to find wildflowers. Although not a huge hike, it was rewarding for its views and early-season flowers – it was only March but in a dry year the flowers were already popping out.

I was just as ecstatic as the butterflies and bees were with the clumps of poppies, Indian paintbrushes and lupines, among others. A ladybug had found her way to this poppy and had bathed itself in pollen. If you look closely, it is literally covered in yellow pollen! Ecstasy!

Artist’s tools: My Nikon D90 has served me well for many an adventure, as does the 18-105mm lens f/3.5-5.6, both of which I got when I returned to photography after about 25 years! What I like about this focal length on a lens is its ability to capture almost everything for me without fiddling with changing lens or being draped with several cameras with different lenses. I’m a simple photographer like that. I was set at a 1/160th of second at f/10 with a long focal length of 105mm, pushing the edges of this lens. Clouds were coming and going, meaning the sun was coming and going, forcing me to constantly change my settings. Not to mention those dang flying creatures who actually dared to, well, fly!

I prefer to avoid over-processing, so this has only the simplest of touches to bring out the ladybug and colors a bit more. This was taken in March 2015.

Explore more photos in the Photographer's Diary

Thai Park Berlin a feast for eyes and tummies seeking yum Thai food

Germany’s capital of Berlin offers every international food imaginable, in restaurants, street markets or, in the case of the most authentic Thai food in the city, spread across a park. Thai Wiese (Thai Park) comes alive every weekend with arguably the best Thai food in Berlin.

Read More

Bathing in pollen: Ladybugs and poppies

When thoughts start to turn to spring and flowers, the question arises, where to find wildflowers and perhaps butterflies and ladybugs too? The hunt is on for the expanses of color, the bees, the butterflies and the beauty. In Northern California, we go looking...
Read More

New Orleans Jazz Fest: jazz everywhere you look in Nola

New Orleans isn’t just a Mardi Gras party town. Think jazz music everywhere you look! On street corners, in parks, on balconies and, of course, in clubs. Then there is the jazz highlight of the year, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest in late April, a.k.a. just New Orleans Jazz Fest.

Read More

Vintage photo of St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow 1984

A chance to tour St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) and Moscow in 1984 while I was a student in Germany was not to be missed. Our group of students was led to museums, which I and a few others skipped to take in the REAL city sights. St. Basil’s Cathedral is of course...
Read More

Swiss Carnival parade a clean version just for kids

Carneval (a.k.a. Fasching, Mardi Gras, etc) is a time for debauchery in many locales where it is grandly celebrated. But in some small towns there are several days of parades, including ones just for kids – like this Swiss carnival parade I photographed.

Read More

Supreme Dr. Ho Shi Xiu holds court in Baisha Village near Lijiang

Dr. Ho Shi Xiu has turned himself into a destination in the center of Baisha Village. He still works as a medicine man and herbalist but, our guide warned us, do not buy anything since he is very expensive. Talking to him and taking photos is free. And Dr. Ho does love to talk in his rather broken English.

Read More

Pray for peace: Riot of colorful prayer flags in Shangri-la

Most tourists end up on the Shangri-la main square where the huge golden Prayer Wheel and glittering Golden temple sit. Amazing, yes. But I had been eyeing a small temple I could not quite make out on a low hill on the edge of town. “What is that?” I kept asking and never quite got a satisfactory reply. Michael and I headed up and out of town on our break, thinking we’d just explore a little bit. And what a fantastic temple it was.

Read More

Cheery red flowers on barren trees in Kirkenes, Norway

On a few hour break from our Hurtigruten ship, the Midnatsol before it would depart the dock to head back south along the Norwegian coast toward Oslo, we took a little walk through Kirkenes. Although mid-day, it felt more like twilight and everything was icy and snow-covered. We ended up along the banks of an inlet with Nordic skiing tracks.

Read More
Follow Me

Therese Iknoian

Traveler at HI Travel Tales
Little did her parents know that a short trip to Europe in high school would launch a lifetime love of travel, languages and cultures. Trained as a news journalist, Therese Iknoian spent a decade as a daily newspaper journalist before launching a freelance writing career specializing in outdoor, fitness and training. All the while trotting the globe, her focus finally turned to travel. Fluent in German, Therese runs a translation business (www.ThereseTranslates.com) working primarily with companies in the outdoor/sports/retail industry. Also a French speaker, she loves to learn a bit of the language wherever she goes -- gdje je kupaonica? Мне нужна помощь! -- often embarrassing herself in the quest for cross-cultural communication and the search for great travel discoveries.
Follow Me