My love of photography really started with nature photography.  The first time I picked up an SLR camera (no digital back then 😉 was to shoot some deer in a field on an adventure to Northern California with my Dad.  I think I was about 9 or 10.  We were waaaay up north, close to the Oregon border – a whole different world from where I grew up in the Central Valley.  It was beautiful country and I was so proud that my Dad let me play a bit with his Minolta and his 70-300mm lens.  I didn’t know much, but I sure knew it was the “big time” ~ or at least compared to anything I had ever held it was!!  For years I dreamed of owning a “Big Camera” of my very own – and eventually bought a used version of the very same model as his Minolta when I took my first photography class in college.

But I digress, back to nature photography…In my college years and through my twenties my photography was focused almost solely on nature and architecture.  Then a couple years before my oldest was born I started focusing more on children and babies – and by the time my second came along I was on the baby track all the way!!  I still love nature photography, but it has been a long time since I have had the time to do much work in that field.

We are out in California this week visiting my family for spring break.  Every time we are here I long to get to the coast and shoot my beloved Pacific Ocean ~ I even tried to talk my boys into jumping in the car and heading over for a one day trip with me this round 😉  I had no takers – the little cousins and Great Grandma’s ice cream cones were just too much fun, but I still find myself looking all around for hints of my favorite California spots.

And then I spotted them.  My very favorite flowers in the world… Bright orange California Poppies.  They grow wild all over the Pacific Coast and I just adore them.  I started spotting them as I drove down the freeway, but I couldn’t exactly pull over in the median and with two little boys in the car and whip out my camera, right?  And then, it all fell together.  We arrived at my sister’s house (where I got to photograph my brand new niece! Eek! But that is for the next post 😉 and she had EIGHT of them in her backyard!  I was over the top excited!!

Of course I had all my gear with me ~ she has a brand new baby, I brought everything!!  So, out came the macro lens… I haven’t shot macro flowers in years, literally!  It was so fun to play with my beautiful Orange Poppies.  Maybe next trip I will get over to my Pacific and eight of them in the backyard won’t seem like such a feast 😉

Renee Stengel Photography signature by On The Spot Design





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