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The California poppy, Eschscholzia californica, is our State flower. From a photographic perspective, they’re amazing little subjects. The delicate edges and the way that they appear to illuminate when back-lit gives a photographer an almost endless number of possibilities. 

Last summer a large wild fire broke out in the Merced River canyon. Highway 140 follows a large section of the canyon, leading to Yosemite’s Western entrance. Because it’s designated as Yosemite’s all-weather highway, it’s the most popular way into the park. While nothing like the sheer granite walls of Yosemite, Merced Canyon has steep walls feeding down to the river on both sides.

This year, those canyon walls are home to a bumper crop of poppies. According to at least one local, that I talked to, there was seeding that was done to help fight erosion after the fire. I haven’t been able to confirm that but regardless it’s an absolutely amazing. Poppies vigorously re-seed themselves so it should be a sign of things to come. I’m looking forward to many more years of that display.

This image was taken with my Canon 100-400L on my 5D. I was zoomed in to 190mm. The exposure was 1/20th of a second at f/11 and an ISO setting of 100.

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