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Late Poppies on North Table Mountain, by Matt Tilghman
Late Poppies on North Table Mountain
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Wild poppies grow out of basalt rubble in late spring, on North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve, California.
North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve
This photograph was taken on a 2013 trip to North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve, near Oroville, California. The trip the year before was so perfect that some friends and I decided to try to make it an annual trek. However, this year was drier, and the many stunning waterfalls, including Phantom Falls (the park's primary attraction) had almost completely dried up. But the trip wasn't a total loss – the wildflowers were a bit better this year. A dry year usually means an early wildflower bloom, so I was a bit surprised to see that the flowers were better than the previous year, but there are so many other factors that influence the seasonal bloom that it's virtually impossible to predict based on only one variable. It was primarily the California Poppies which stood out as the "best in show" flowers, and I was looking for a nice composition of them the whole time. Near the very end of the trip, when the sunlight was fading and turning gold, I found this bunch of poppies, which looked as if they had been purposefully planted among the basalt rubble. They seemed so perfectly manicured that I couldn't help but feature them.
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