Where has the time gone? Over a week ago a friend and I took the weekend for a photo tour around the North Sierra Foothills. A large part of the attraction for the area was wildflower season at Table Mountain near Oroville, CA. Table Mountain is a rather flat lava flow that has developed into two separate areas as erosion created a small valley between the northern and southern sections. Now is wildflower season which turns North Table Mountain into a patchwork sea of color. This color usually lasts until the summer heat starts to build, so the show should be going on for the next month or more.
While I know the vision that the name puts in your mind, Table Mountain is not perfectly flat. It is full of small gullies and ravines where rain fed brooks bubble along past the wild flowers. It is also a large area of land that is both public and private. Which means that everyone who visits not only should respect the wildflowers but also the land owners. The most unfortunate things about the Table Mountain area is that it is almost impossible not to walk on the wildflowers. There are no designated paths which leaves the area open for exploration. Just tread lightly as you explore!
A recent debate has surfaced in the California nature photography community about the closure of the California Wildflower Hotsheet. The Hotsheet has been part of my Landscape Location Reports resource page for years, and has been around for years longer thanks to the work of Carol Leigh. The closure is due to the public abuse of the wildflower locations that Carol published via the Hotsheet. A few of the thoughts and discussion on this topic can be found at:
- Ron Neibrugge’s To Share or Not to Share
- Jim Goldstein’s Hotsheet in the Hotseat
- Moira Pomeroy’s The Ecology of Photography
While photography’s popularity explosion means there are plenty of places online to find information about locations to view our natural world’s beauty, the closure of one source might not make as big a direct impact as hoped. But the indirect impact is clear, the visibility of this issue has been raised. If my photos above of Table Mountain motivate you to go and visit it some day, please take a few minutes to explore the discussion that has erupted around how to protect these spaces while also publicizing them. And respect nature by taking photographs and leaving only the most gentle of footprints.
Visit my Sierra Foothills gallery for more photos from the area.