Although we’ve lived 30 miles from the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve for 13 years, nobody in our family had ever been. It’s a place I’ve known about and have desired to see and photograph, but the time has simply never been right. Since Spring break fell during the peak poppy season this year, I decided to take a couple of my kids out for an early hike to see it for ourselves.

When we arrived, the poppies had not yet opened for the morning. Thanks to Google, we learned that this process of closing at night and opening in the sunlight is called “nyctinasty.”  It’s is the circadian rhythmic nastic movement of higher plants in response to the onset of darkness. For poppies, apparently, this is done to protect the pollen. And I was concerned we would be at the site long enough to see them open. I had no need to worry.

I can’t believe it took me 13 years to make this short drive. It won’t be another 13 years between visits. If you live in the Los Angeles area, do yourself a favor and make the drive. But get there early enough to beat the crowds, and take your time. The hike is easy and the flowers are awe inspiring.


If there are multiple photos in this post, EXIF data is for the featured photo only:

  • Aperture: ƒ/9
  • Camera: ILCE-7RM2
  • Taken: 4 April, 2017
  • Exposure bias: -1EV
  • Focal length: 24mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/640s

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