Wildflowers … Grand & Intimate


I’ve enjoyed shooting flowers since the beginning of my photo journey. Living Back East, there were a lot of gardens nearby and I was a member of the renowned Longwood Gardens … an estate outside of Philadelphia, once owned by the DuPonts. I spent many hours photographing on the grounds as well as inside the conservatories. And on other days I might have enjoyed shooting the wildflowers of the South Jersey Pinelands. Then my usual lens of choice was a 100mm macro, to get up nice and close, making the flower and its bokeh background the subject. Now, living in Colorado and being so in love with the landscape I am much more interested in combining the flowers with the grand landscape, or at least part of the environment, for more intimate scenes. I’ve been using my 16-35mm, wide angle lens which allows me to focus close and achieve a greater depth of field. Finding accessible and worthy subjects with interesting backgrounds is challenging for me. And wouldn’t you know it … the best wildflowers often grow on the steepest slopes! Sturdy hiking boots and slow, careful foot placement is needed to avoid falling and damaging myself, my camera or the flowers. Forcing my tripod and myself into a steady position is a challenge as well … one that my muscles might feel the following day! Because it is often windy I compensate by adjusting my settings to quicken my shutter speed. Many of the wildflowers grow high in the alpine basins, requiring driving on narrow jeep roads. Encounters with those coming the opposite way are often sketchy! I am thankful to Brent for driving on roads I do not have the confidence to travel on by myself. I hope you enjoy what I have been able to do this year!

Fireweed grows beautifully on the steep slopes of a mountain lake in Colorado.

‘Lakeside Beauties’ © Denise Bush
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A meadow of Elephant Head wildflowers was too beautiful not to stop and photograph.

‘Elephant Head Meadow’ © Denise Bush

A beautiful cluster King’s Crown grows among other wildflowers in a high, alpine meadow near Silverton, Colorado.

‘King’s Crown Cluster’ © Denise Bush
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Sunny yellow flowers pose before a rock wall in the mountains.

‘Rock Wall Pretties’ © Denise Bush

Wildflowers often grow on rocky slopes which can put the photographer on unsteady ground.

‘On Rocky Ground’ © Denise Bush

Queen’s Crown, a relative of the more common King’s Crown grows in a pretty cluster showing varying blossom stages.

‘Queen’s Crown Cluster’ © Denise Bush

A daisy field below Red Mountain is a happy summer sight.

‘Daisies Below Red Mountain’ © Denise Bush

64 Responses to “Wildflowers … Grand & Intimate”

  1. Is that fireweed in the first picture? I like the way you revealed the columbines “tucked away” in the last image. Colorado’s a great place to do what you’ve done: combine wildflowers with the majestic landscape.

  2. Impressive. Mother Nature and you! All these are so pretty. Compositions-colors-variety A++ Not that you are looking to be graded ( :

  3. These made my day, Denise! Each shot is a beauty all its own. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Beautiful! You got a great sky going on too.

    • We often get quick, afternoon storms up high in the summer but this year, not as many as we need. I love the storm clouds and usually won’t even photograph a scene with a bald blue sky … we get a lot of those too. Glad you like these and hope everything is still OK there. Thanks for visiting Terry. When all this is over you should come out! XO

  5. I am so glad you clarified shooting flowers with your camera and lens choice, and not a 9 mm. I have been devouring you recent images and these on the mountain. What else can I say, but exquisite !

  6. 12 anita gooden

    You are so artistic and talented. xoxo

    • Well hello there Anita … what a wonderful blast from the past! Thank you so much for visiting and letting me know! My passion has not wavered since moving to Colorado! Hard to believe but we have been here 5 years now!

  7. Great compositions that include these wild flowers in the landscape. The last one stands out different but it is so lovely!

    • Thank you … that is one of 3 that I consider more intimate as in my title. See if you can guess the other 2! Always appreciate your visits and love hearing your comments and likes.

  8. Love them all but I have to say the elephant head lousewort shot is my fave of the batch 🙂 Queen and Kings come in 2nd and third.

    • That elephant head meadow was awesome to see. I’m so glad you like it Rich. Thanks for visiting and letting me know your favs! 🙂

  9. These are so beautiful, Denise. As you know, I LOVE flowers! ❤

  10. I liked very much the texture of the rock in ‘Queen’s Crown Cluster’, being the queen I feel the king is the wind, caressing it with strong freedom and potency is such beautiful landscapes. Thank you, Denise.

  11. Great serie of flowers in their natural habitat!

    • Thanks Minna … it’s so wonderful to be among them and be able to photograph them. Makes me want to sing ‘the hills are alive with the sound of music’ like Julie Andrews!

  12. 25 in

    wow, that daisy field is so inviting!

  13. 27 Mike Pillows

    I love seeing the expanse of flowers. Big question… how long did it take you to get use to the altitude there? It took me a couple of days and was still tough at the higher elevations.

    • I did not have any problems with the elevation. Both the town of Ouray and our home on Loghill Mesa are at around 8,000 ft. Day to day I don’t feel any different. But … try hiking uphill gaining 2,000 to 4,000 feet in these elevations and it is slow going stopping often to catch my breath. The secret is to drink lots of water before you come and once you are here. A couple of our visitors have gotten oxygen in a can to help them. Are you coming out??? 🙂

  14. Each one is stunning, Denise! I may lean towards “tucked away” as my favorite, but love the ‘lakeside beauties’ too! I’ve been to Longwood Gardens many times many years ago. We loved going any time of the year, but especially at Christmas to see the all the poinsettias and trees, and outdoor lights. Good memories!

    • Hi Donna. Thanks for looking. I usually try to open and close with favorites so you and I think alike. I do miss Longwood Gardens. There’s a Botanical Garden north of me in Grand Junction but there is no comparison … Longwood spoiled me!

  15. Absolutely breathtaking!

  16. Your shots are beautiful, Denise. I am envious because it has been so hot here this year, I haven’t forced myself to go out looking for wildflowers. Further some of the spots have been closed because of Covid-19. Keep up the great work. I like your use of a wide-angle lens.

    • Always enjoy hearing your comments Ken … thanks very much. The sun is strong here but we don’t have the humidity and it cools down at night. I usually go out 1-2 hours before sunset. When sunrise gets a little later I’ll be better about getting out then too … at least that’s what I am telling myself! 🙂

  17. Wild and beautiful all of them Denise. Amazing colours and composition. Your images are mesmerising always!

  18. You’ve captured this scenery so beautifully. I’m almost breathing in that mountain air!

    • Thanks Belinda! You wouldn’t want to breath in the mountain air today … we are getting smoke from wildfires here in Colorado and other western states!

  19. All outstanding, Denise. Your views whether near or far are always beautiful.

  20. Lovely series of images! You have a good eye for composition and detail. The Queens Crown cluster is a standout for me. Cheers from Tasmania.

  21. Wonderful! I expected Mary Poppins to burst out of “Queen’s Crown Cluster.” My fav is “Tucked Away.”

    • 🙂 As I told Minna (above), ‘Makes me want to sing ‘the hills are alive with the sound of music’ like Julie Andrews!’ That song is often going through my head when I’m up there. Thanks Linda!

  22. 47 Virginia RIce

    Each photo lovelier than the other. I’m currently photographing triplets, quite the challenge.

  23. Wow…..I mean wow!!! Unbelievable captures!! and again, Wow!!

  24. Beautiful beyond words, dear sister!

  25. Amazing variety of flowers and colors. They really soften the landscape.

    • Thanks Ruth. I like to photograph them in softer light too. I don’t like the harsh highlights and shadows too much sun can produce.

  26. You hope we enjoy what you’ve done? Oh, yes!! 😉 I’m feeling grateful for the little wildflowers close by right now, after hearing about your escapades. I’ve been wanting to get up into the mountains but the challenges here tend to be a) bad roads (as you said) and b) long, steep hikes that wear me out. Too many people is another problem this year, with so many people getting outdoors who didn’t before. So if I don’t get up there at least I have the vicarious pleasure of these images. Do you know what the flowers are in the first photo? Maybe they are unfamiliar, like the King’s Crown – I’ve never heard of that one. Such a pretty color! The Columbines hiding under the rock are a treat and you handled that quiet light so beautifully. Thanks for this! And thanks, Brent!

    • The flowers in the first are fireweed. If you noticed the King’s Crown did you also see its relative, the Queen’s Crown, of a lighter color? Those blooms were just not as far along as the King’s. Both are abundant here. We’ve had way to many tourists here this summer and there have been problems with them damaging the tundra and flowers by riding jeeps and ATVs off trail. I took a ride yesterday and the campgrounds and hotels are still all full.

      • They didn’t look like Fireweed – maybe the angle. They’re beautiful. And I like the light flowers and darker buds on Queens Crown. So your area is, like mine and I suppose most every other part of the country, groaning under the weight of so many people getting outdoors. It’s good that people are getting out but riding ATVs and jeeps all over the land isn’t my idea of really getting out. Let’s hope the land recovers quickly, but I know tundra is very fragile. It’s no surprise that campgrounds and hotels are still full. I hope once kids go back to school, even if that means studying at home, people WILL go back home!

  27. Wow… breathtaking! Great shots of these wildflowers and landscape!

  28. I think no flowers beat the wildflowers. When those meadows bloom, it’s just unbelievable. You captured the beauty excellently, Denise.

    • Thanks Otto. Appreciate your visit and comment. Wildflower scene compositions are challenging for me … but it gives me something to work on each year!

  29. Beautiful Denise, thank you for the flowers!

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