A few weeks ago I went backpacking with a couple of friends in Crystal Cove State Park’s inland section. We camped overnight at the Lower Moro Campground, and were the only ones there. It was wonderfully peaceful.
Fog rolled in a few hours before the sun went down, so sunset, moon, and starry night shots were all out. But the fog hung around until well after dawn, leaving everything covered in a beautiful shroud of dew the next morning. It made for perfect macro photography, and my companions were patient enough to let me spend some time trying to capture the beauty.
The same plant was also covered in tiny flower buds, which the dew accentuated gorgeously:
I also got a picture of the same plant with both a flower bud and flower in the same frame, but I won’t bore you with that in this post.
Nearby there was a shrubby aster covered in bright yellow flowers:
Some of the inflorescences were just starting to open (above), while others were almost fully open (below):
As we were hiking out we came across some Datura. Datura has been one of my favorite plants to find, thanks to spending my grad school days working on caterpillars (Manduca sexta) that fed on them in Arizona:
They’re just lovely plants. After spending all day working out in the desert back in Arizona, where the plants are typically small and wiry, it was refreshing to come across the large green leaves and beautiful flowers of Datura (it also meant I was one plant closer to finishing my day in the field). The plants are horribly toxic to most animals (including humans), which is how they can get away with being so showy in xeric environments.
And, speaking of grad school days, I was able to spot what looks like a Manduca egg on top of a leaf next to a Datura flower:
A little while later, we spotted a hawkweed flower with a guest inside:
It was a beautiful day for plant photography, and I’m extremely happy that I had my new macro lens and tripod along with me. Happily, I was able to spend time on more than just flowers during the trip, and I’ll post those images in some upcoming posts.
To see more pictures from the trip, head to my Crystal Cove State Park Wilderness Gallery.
Crystal Cove State Park: Located along Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) between Corona Del Mar and Laguna Beach in Orange County, California. I camped at the Lower Moro Campsite, which is about a 2 mile hike in from the parking lot. Parking is plentiful at a new parking lot and picnic area past the Moro Campground (for RV’s), but you must pay either a day use fee for the state park or an overnight fee. The park is currently open from 6am – sunset; their website has lots of good information on it.