©Bert Gildart: Tiny wildflowers are beginning to emerge near the Visitor Center at California’s Anza-Borrego State Park. Though I can not say with complete certainly, from my description a park naturalist said he thought the flower now posted here is Phacelia crenulata , or the Notched-leaf Phacelia. Regardless it is the first flower we have seen in two weeks of daily explorations.
The flower is tiny, standing about half an inch high. Probably it appears twice life size on your screen. Because you need to be on your stomach to really see it, some people would call it a “belly plant.” The flower is purple and the actual leaves are certainly notched. Though not yet abundant, my desert wildflower book says it also grows along the park’s Montezuma Road. Because it is so tiny, photographing it was a challenge, particularly in the direct sun of yesterday. To reduce harsh shadows, I added two Nikon SB-800 strobes for fill light. To maximize depth of field I choose an aperture of f-32, the smallest possible with this lens.
Naturalist say other species will soon be following, but the main wildflower emergence generally occurs in March. Though we are about to depart for Death Valley, we hope to return to Anza Borrego in about a month, depending on the abundance of flowers, which can not be predicted. That uncertainly, however, is what makes Anza Borrego so interesting. As Marshall South once wrote, “There is nothing ‘regular’ about the desert. Uncertainty is the keynote and its eternal fascination.”
We can live with that.