Sunday Stills: Your State or National #Symbol

California State Flag Graphic

Today’s theme should be an interesting challenge. In the US we have state symbols of birds, trees, animals, flowers, flags, etc. Outside the US, your own country may have its symbols that represent your country and its people.

California State Flag
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Now whether you have your own image of one may be another story.

In California we are surrounded by nature and two symbols easy to capture are the California Golden Poppy and the California Redwood.

The golden poppy is everywhere this time of year and its orange blooms are a sure sign that spring is right around the corner. These were just randomly growing on the side of a neighbor’s yard spilling through the chain-link fence.

Roadside Poppies

This was taken when I had planted a live poppy plant. It thought it looked beautiful in the rain.

Freshly opened California poppy droops with recent raindrops.

The stately Redwood is easy to spot in most areas of the state, but especially so in Northern California. Many people associate the redwood with the Giant Sequoia, a species found in Sequoia National Park and in the Mariposa Grove near Yosemite Valley.

The redwood species in my area’s rocky soil thrive and are known as Sequoia Sempervirens, but also thrive in Coastal California. The annual California State Fair held every July in Sacramento has an entire forest of redwoods and other trees that represent the state. Years ago, I took home a few of the free redwood seedlings. I planted 5 in my backyard and have enjoyed the mini-forest for years now.

Backyard Redwood Mini-Forest

When I planted the seedlings from pots, I never thought they would grow this tall. The oldest one, planted in 1989, is over 300 feet tall. My mini forest of large redwoods can be seen from any point in my neighborhood, and are home to a variety of birds and critters.

See more about California Redwoods here.

Grizzly bear, quail, gray whale and desert tortoise are other creatures that represent the state of California. I managed to capture a shot of this tortoise holding up bicycle traffic a couple of years ago on the American River Bike Trail.

A Tortoise Crossed the Road

Note: Many of you who follow me on Instagram and Facebook likely read about the passing of my mother this week. I intend to honor her in my March 22 Sunday Stills post “Favorite Place.” Thank you again for your heartfelt well-wishes and condolences.

California State Flag Graphic

I can’t wait to see your state or country’s national symbols.

Sunday Stills: #Early to Rise

Winter Sunrise

The word “early” invokes a variety of quotes, phrases, and conditions. Let your mind run wild with these concepts of early:

  • Are you an early-bird, an early riser, or just love being early to events?
  • Were you highly intelligent at an early age or naïve in your early years?
  • Perhaps you are a “later-in-the-day” person and dread the early morning hours.

This week’s Sunday Stills photo challenge theme is EARLY.

If you are five minutes early, you are already ten minutes late.

Vince Lombardi, American Football Coach

Being a very time-conscious person, in most cases I tend to be early to appointments. Ironically, every Friday morning I rush out the door at 7:45am to get to my 8:00 am yoga class. Sort of defeats the purpose! Although I am only a few blocks away from my gym, I do try to arrive by 10 minutes before the hour to get a good spot and unfurl my yoga mat.

Arriving early to something gives me time to relax a bit and breathe if I’ve had to rush to get somewhere. I am always early to get to my campus office hours and classes. I like that 10 minutes of classroom prep time to gather my thoughts and get media ready for the lecture.

University classroom
Early to arrive in the classroom

Although I don’t claim to be a morning person, I have never complained when I am up early to see these sunrises!

This lovely winter sunrise was taken earlier this month while I was visiting in Spokane, Washington. I got up earlier than everyone, started the coffee and saw THIS out the kitchen window. Despite the COLD temps, I rushed out into the street in my PJs to capture the dramatic textures and colors.

Winter Sunrise

This image was from a few years ago in Baja, Mexico on the Sea of Cortez. Always strange to see the sunrise over the water. We west-coasters are used to seeing sunsets over the water!

Baja Sunrise
Early Baja Sunrise

Back in January, I complained about the gray foggy days typical in Northern California. February tends to be a cool, rainy month, but as of today, we have had NO rain in this area. These warm sunny days are ushering in an early, dry spring which translates into early flowers.

Here is a pic of my neighbor’s poppy.

California Poppies

These California poppies normally pop out in March, but with all this sunshine, I have already seen them along the side of the highways earlier this month. The other day I went to buy some birdseed for a new feeder and found these lovely Icelandic poppies in the garden section. They provide some beautiful color to my front porch.

The poppies are submitted for Cee’s Flower of the Day

Get an early start for March photo challenges! March themes are already posted on the Sunday Stills Photo Challenge page.

What does EARLY mean to you? Show us your take on early with photos, poems, stories or music! Remember, my blog posts early Sunday mornings at 7:00 am (Pacific Time)!

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Prolific Poppies

Happy spring poppies!

As a blogger, do you ever get a sense of deja’vu with that nagging feeling that you have posted something similar before?

When I saw the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge theme ProlificI remembered this word and something to do with poppies. And guess what? I searched google and found my own post from three years ago! 

What better way to celebrate this theme than with photos of native California poppies? The beautiful orange flower is indeed prolific in March and April and adds beautiful pops of color along the freeways and in neighbors’ yards.

Prolific-Poppies
California Poppies

Poppies are California’s State flower. 

Prolific-Poppies
California Poppies pop up everywhere in the spring

I planted poppies from seeds a little too late for them to bloom this spring, but since they are annuals, I hope to see their little golden heads in spring 2016!

**Update** they never did grow. I’ve read you have to plant poppies in late Fall. Better put it on my to-do list then if I want my own poppies.

Happy spring poppies!
Popping Out!

I refreshed this post today from April 2015 when I participated in Ed’s Sunday Stills Photography Challenge. Wildflowers were the theme.

I enjoyed Sunday Stills so much that I am bringing the photo challenge back with it’s launch on May 6th! Visit my page   for more information!

Enjoy the prolific poppy flashback!

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Tuesday Photo Challenge: Spring Poppies

Freshly opened California poppy droops with recent raindrops.

Freshly opened California poppy droops with recent raindrops.

I dearly love photography challenges and just discovered a “new” one (to me!) hosted by blogger Dutch Goes the Photo! Frank posts a new challenge every Tuesday. I just made it under the wire with my submission of California Poppies, wet and dry, for the “spring” theme!

This freshly opened poppy enjoyed a spring shower as it struggled to open last week under the heavy raindrops. California Poppies are the state flower and flourish this time of year everywhere! One can find them on hills, the sides of the roads and freeways, providing pops of orange against the beautiful, fresh green landscapes we see here in Northern California.

When it is sunny and warm, like expected to be this week in late March, happy poppies look like this:

Happy spring poppies!

Top photo was taken with my Panasonic Lumix FZ300 camera in macro mode. Bottom photo taken with my Samsung Galaxy S5 phone. Both post-edited in PicMonkey (crop, contrast, frame).

Enjoy a bit of early spring from Northern California!

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