Spring is in full swing here on the Ranch and I thought I’d head out to the Walk-On Beach bluff to see if the wildflowers were blooming. The bluff there is pretty unprotected from the wind so the few wildflowers that do show up are fairly low to the ground. But I love those wind-swept bluff tops where tortured little plants hug the few rocks for cover. Getting down to the ground (laying down, actually) gives one a unique perspective on these little scenes that otherwise go unnoticed. So I enjoy sticking the lens of my camera right into these intimate little settings and seeing what happens.
The first image is a small but diverse grouping of grasses common to the Ranch. The predominant grass with the slender long spikes looks to be the Purple Needle Grass (Nassella pulchia). It was this grass that caught my eye against the backdrop of the rocky outcrop behind it. The other dominant grass in this little scene is the Quaking Grass or Rattlesnake Grass (Briza maxima), a non-native species introduced to the West coast from Europe. This interesting little grass is often grown for ornamental purposes, but it is an invasive species which can crowd out native grasses and lower meadow diversity.
The next two images show one of my favorite flowers here, the California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica), which is also the State Flower. These little guys are starting to “pop” up all over now that spring is really under way. The other small purplish flower on the right side of the second image is the Thrift (Armeria maritima), also a very common plant along the coastal bluffs. The Thrift is more prominently seen in the final image where it has managed to grow out of a small crevice in the sandstone bluff face. Nature finds a way.
Equipment: Nikon D3s, Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8 lens