Flora in Blue Sky Ecological Reserve
by Bob Kiang
Blue Sky Ecological Reserve is located in the city of Poway, CA. It covers 700 acres and encompasses no less than four natural habitats: coastal sage scrub, mixed chaparral, oak woodland, and riperian. It has well maintained trails for hiking and nature observation.
In the spring time, the hillsides are covered with glorious wildflowers. It has become one of my favorite hiking places in this northern part of San Diego County, so much so that I volunteered as a docent in 2007.
Having accumulated thousands of wildflower photos, I have decided that it's time to compile some of the better ones, by my standard, into a book that I can easily share with friends.
Disclaimer: I am neither a botanist nor an arborist. When I started learning the names of wildflowers, I was most interested in the specific features of a plant that would help me to identify it. The descriptions I have provided in the following pages are mostly from my own research and observations. I do not claim any scientific authenticity.
Technical Note --- I use a Nikon D-40 digital camera. Usually I set the camera in its P (program) mode. The P mode provides you with a combination of shutter speed and f-stop that the built-in exposure sensor and algorithm deemed most appropriate for a scene. The offered speed and f-stop are visible in the view finder and can be altered by rotating a thumb wheel next to the shutter button.
When taking a close-up shot of a flower, I often strive for maximum depth of field. That means using a small aperture such as f/22. The limit on aperture is dictated by the slowest shutter speed I can tolerate. Often time, that's around 1/60 sec. I generally do not use a tripod when taking wildflower pictures - no sense to stabilize the camera when the subject is waving in the breeze. I also switch to manual focusing from time to time. Coupled with the flexibility of moving the camera slightly to keep the subject in focus, one just might catch an image with acceptable quality.