I was sick a few weeks ago. While I'm back up and running, because there are some respiratory side affects, my first trip up the hills behind my home and studio kicked my butt! It took me a few times to work my way back up to the top, but I'm glad I did. The wildflowers are well into bloom with more varieties on the way. There is a particular location where the purple Lupines, surrounded by red Indian Paintbrush and various yellow flowers are gorgeous. I don't bill myself as a professional wildflower photographer, but I got into photography trying to capture some of my other interests and of course my camera skills and professional equipment help to capture some of these images. With this year's abundant rainfall we are having a great bloom. On the days I carry my equipment up, you can find me on my hands and knees maneuvering a tripod and camera into position to capture the blossoms. I don't want to make this blog about photography as much as taking time to literally "smell the roses." There is incredible beauty around us and to hurriedly pass it by without noticing is to deprive us of some of the simple pleasures this earth we live on has to offer. The first time I hiked up these hills was some 23 years ago. It was mid to late February and there was snow on the ground at the higher elevations, but the sun was out and the temperature was around fifty degrees! I was accompanied by five young children who I thought would start complaining and cut the hike short, but they didn't. Every time we crossed over a ridge there was a new herd of deer to chase and that kept them entertained all the way to the top. That was the last time I went up until I started hiking last year. While I don't mind photographing a deer or two I prefer to photograph the things that are not so fleeting. My camera is often aimed at the mountain peaks as the clouds move around the peaks. I particularly love the early morning or late evening when the rising or setting sun casts beautiful color on the scene. But right now there is magic happening on the trails. Plants are springing up and new color is appearing in the form of wildflowers so that's where my emphasis is at the moment. So if you are out hiking the hills and you see a guy with a camera take the time to say hello, but be prepared to be asked to shade my subject or block the the wind so I can create the perfect image of my next wildflower. After the shutter clicks and the image checks out to my satisfaction we can perhaps strike up a conversation, sit down, and smell the roses.