Colorado Wildflower Report from Mid July, 2014

I’ve been on the road this month, escaping the heat and chasing Colorado wildflowers. After late snows, the colorful meadows in the Rocky Mountains are beginning to awaken.This past week I spent some time near Lake City and Crested Butte. Both of these areas have several varieties beginning to bloom, including the Columbine, painbrush, Old Man of the Mountain, daisies, and others. One area that will really be good in a week or two is American Basin, resting at the end of a 4WD dirt road coming out of Lake City.

Columbine and other Colorado wildflowers line the valley near American Basin, a beautiful area near Lake City.

Colorado wildflowers fill American Basin near Lake City, Colorado.

Another area that should explode with color in the next few weeks is Crested Butte. I hiked the West Maroon Pass Trail that leads from Gothic Road near Crested Butte over a pass and down into Aspen. The valleys along this trail should be amazing. I was there as it was just beginning to show some color, and right now the columbine are really pushing forward.

Colorado wildflowers will soon fill the valleys near Crested Butte.

Along the West Maroon Pass Trail between Crested Butte and Aspen, columbine often fill the trail with Colorado wildflower color!

After this, it was onto the Maroon Bells Wilderness area near Aspen, Colorado. Again, the columbine are out, but not much else. Still this is one of my favorite areas.

The Maroon Bells and Colorado's state wildflower, the columbine, are a perfect pair for a summer morning hike.

Columbine line the slopes near Crater Lake in the Maroon Bells Wilderness area.

For more Colorado images, please visit my galleries:
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Also, I try to keep image current on my facebook photography page.

I’ll be down near Durango and Silverton this coming weekend, so hopefully I’ll have more to share after that.

~ Rob

Colorado Wildflowers – a Break from the Texas heat

I am fortunate to have the opportunity to photograph many locations. One of my favorite times occurs when I am able to return to Colorado for 6 weeks each summer and photograph the wildflowers of Colorado along with other Colorado images. This spring, the Rockies received more than their usual amount of snow, so the wildflowers are a bit late in blooming. Still, that gives me the opportunity to photograph the early bloomers.

One such wildflower is the mountain sunflower, also known as the “Old Man of the Mountain.” These Colorado sunflowers are usually the first to appear – often at 11,000-12,500 feet – and almost always above treeline. They are hearty little flowers, hugging the ground to weather the winds and cold and even summer snows. This panorama of these amazing little sunflowers was taken at about 12,000 feet. To reach this point, I had to hike through a swampy forest made wet by melting snows flowing down through an overflowing creek. After that, it was nearly straight up 1000 vertical feet through a boulder field. After a lot of grunting and sweating, the payoff appeared – a ridge along the Continental Divide brimming with golden wildflowers.

Colorado sunflowers fill the side of a mountain near Winter Park, Colorado.

Colorado wildflowers, this time sunflowers, adorn the ridges along the Continental Divide on a summer morning. This Colorado image was taken near Berthoud Pass

In the next few weeks, I hope to visit the San Juans – specifically the wildflower areas of American Basin and Yankee Boy Basin. I also hope to stop by the Maroon Bells and Breckenridge’s Mayflower Gulch.

In the meantime, feel free to visit my Colorado images or see my Texas Bluebonnets and Wildflowers gallery.

I also post current information on my facebook photography page.

Prickly Pear at Enchanted Rock

The wildflowers are fading, but still there is color to be found. Over the last few weeks, I’ve made several trips out to Enchanted Rock State Park in hopes of photographing the Prickly Pear Cactus in bloom. In my last post, I shared an image from sunrise. Unfortunately, the cacti blooms close up at night. I discovered this little fact the hard way after I drove an hour and a half in the dark to arrive before sunrise only to find the buds were shut tight. So I returned a few different evenings and finally found a good location and a memorable sunset.
These two images come from that evening.

Prickly Pear Cacti bloom at Enchanted Rock State Park.

Just after sunset, this Texas image features Prickly Pear Cacti in bloom at Enchanted Rock State Park in the Texas Hill Country.

This Texas image features Prickly Pear Cacti blooming at Enchanted Rock State Park

Prickly Pear Cacti bloom in the Texas Hill Country in this image from Texas

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Texas Wildflowers at Rob Greebon Photography

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In the meantime, let’s hope El Nino eventually develops to alleviate this drought.

The end of Bluebonnet season

Well, the end of bluebonnet season ended not with a bang, but with a whimper. With our lack of rainfall, there just wasn’t much happening. After this lackluster spring, we can look forward to the spring of 2015. However, we still have a few wildflowers that are showing up – black-eyed susans and firewheels are abundant, though not necessarily photoworthy, along the sides of the roads – especially Highway 16 between Fredericksburg and Llano.

I was out yesterday morning at Enchanted Rock for sunrise – hoping to photograph the prickly pear cacti blooms. One thing I didn’t know, but do now know thanks to some flower expert friends, is that prickly pear blooms close up at night! So when I was hoping for a sunrise shot with blooms, the blooms were closed. Alas, I’ll head back out there later this week. From what I saw, there is a lot of potential for classic Texas photographs – blooming cacti in the Texas Hill Country.

Enchanted Rock State Park in the Texas Hill Country offers some great Texas landscape opportunities.

Prickly Pear Cacti in the Texas Hill Country at sunrise – taken at Enchanted Rock State Park.

Another interesting tidbit – and perhaps you’ve heard the talking heads on the news discussing this – is that El Nino is predicted to kick in this July or August. This would mean we’d fill up the lakes around the Hill Country, and would almost certainly lead to a prolific 2015 wildflower season. We can hope! This comes from the ENSO site:

The model predictions of ENSO for this summer and beyond are indicating an increased likelihood of El Niño compared with those from last month. Most of the models indicate that ENSO-neutral (Niño-3.4 index between -0.5°C and 0.5°C) will persist through part of the remainder of the Northern Hemisphere spring 2014 (Fig. 6), most likely transitioning to El Niño during the summer. There remains uncertainty as to exactly when El Niño will develop and an even greater uncertainty as to how strong it may become. This uncertainty is related to the inherently lower forecast skill of the models for forecasts made in the spring. While ENSO-neutral is favored for Northern Hemisphere spring, the chance of El Niño increases during the remainder of the year, exceeding 65% during the summer.

In the meantime, enjoy the days of May before our temps hit 100!

I’ve also added a new gallery – this time from Big Bend National Park. I’ll be adding more images to it as I work through them.

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Bluebonnets – April 20, 2014

I’ve tried to keep my professional facebook page updated as I travel around looking for wildflowers. I’ve driven over 500 miles in the last few weeks. Unfortunately, the Texas Hill Country is virtually barren of bluebonnets this spring. What started as a promising season with rains last fall faded as we did not get much rain at all from January through April. The best places I’ve found have been southeast of Austin – in the areas of New Berlin, La Vernia, Stockdale, Yoakum, Shiner, and Luling.

These past few weeks, I did find the best bluebonnets of the season actually fairly close to Austin. Muleshoe Bend and Turkey Bend are both LCRA parks and offer fields of bluebonnets. The downside to these places are they are open to the public. Unfortunately, not all folks respect the bluebonnets and others that may want to enjoy them later. Large tire tracks ran through and across some amazing fields of blue. I really don’t understand how people like that think.

Alas, here are a few bluebonnet images from a Turkey Bend Sunset.

Under the Milky Way, a field of bluebonnets is motionless on a calm night in the Texas Hill Country.

The Milky Way rises over a field of Texas Bluebonnets.

A field of bluebonnets rests peacefully under pastels of an evening sky.

Evening colors light up a field of Texas Bluebonnets near Lake Travis.

For more, please visit my websites at:

Bluebonnet Images



Early April Wildflower Report

Hi Everyone,

I’ve been out and about looking for wildflowers the past few days. Conditions haven’t been great – mostly cloudy and windy. The near term weather forecast doesn’t look any better, but maybe next week we’ll have some partly cloudy skies and not so much wind.

These are some of the roads I’ve covered in the last few days:
80 from Martindale to Luling, and past I-10.
There is a nice but small patch of color on the west side of 80 just before you get into Luling. If you continue on past I-10 – like 1/10 of a mile – there are some some embankments of color on the rigth with paintbrush and bluebonnets, among others. Slightly further south there are bluebonnets to be found around Palmetto State Park.

Next, 775 from I-10 south through New Berlin to LaVenria, then 87 southwest to Stockdale, there are some nice bluebonnet displays. If you are traveling west on 87, looking over your left shoulder there were some nice hills of bluebonnets, but you’ll miss them if you are not looking for them. Also on this same route, if you go south on 97 just before Stockdale, there are some nice displays, as well, but nothing spectacular. From Stockdale, south on 123, you’ll see some bluebonnets sprinkled with gold, along with some high grass.

On a small road that connects 87 with 123 (CR 417) there is a good bluebonnet field with cows on the right. I’d guess the field has about 70% bluebonnet coverage. If you shoot with the right angles, it can look pretty full.

Thanks to some folks who offered tips about the areas south of San Antonio. I hope to get down there in a few days, weather permitting, as well as to the Bastrop area.

If anyone wants to share locations, let me know and I’ll try to get out there. I’m really looking for those wide fields of flowers that make great landscapes at sunrise or sunset.

I’ll be posting current findings, as well as more images, on my facebook photography page at

Thanks. Happy Hunting!

Texas wildflowers and bluebonnets fill a small field with color near Luling, Texas.

Bluebonnets and other Texas wildflowers adorn a small field outside of Luling, Texas.

Prediction from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center …

As we await Texas wildflower season, I find myself hoping for even an “average” season after the last two years. On our property in the Texas Hill Country, we already have a few bluebonnets showing, but a lot that are still waiting for warmer, wetter weather. This past week I came across the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s 2014 prediction for wildflowers and bluebonnets. Here is an excerpt:

All signs point to a good wildflower season,” said Damon Waitt, the senior botanist at The University of Texas at Austin’s Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and also the center’s senior director. “We’ve had good fall precipitation and good winter precipitation in many parts of the state — not just rain, but sleet and snow as well.”

Read the full article here: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center 2014 Prediction

I also read where we scientists are now saying the odds are 50-50 that we’ll fall into an El Nino by the end of summer. While this is devastating for portions of the southern hemisphere, it would very likely alleviate our drought conditions here in Texas. I guess that remains to be seen.

This next week I’ll be traveling to Big Bend to photograph the wildflowers and cacti out there, then back here to start tracking our bluebonnets- starting south in San Antonio and working north to the Texas Hill Country.

To whet our appetite, here is an image from the spring of 2010…

A bluebonnet image featuring a lone indian blanket.

An indian blanket in a field of Texas bluebonnets. in the Texas Hill Country. – Spring 2010.

In the meantime, Colorado is experiencing a wet spring which may translate into a good summer for Colorado wildflowers in the Rocky Mountains! I’ll be up there in July.


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