Super Blooms and a Sun Dog
The super bloom is here!
Spring in California brings people from all over to see the waves of wild flowers that cover slopes throughout the state. We decided to drive out to Carrizo Plains and soda lake to see the golden fields. The drive itself was great, getting deeper into California, passing some beautiful scenery - I even saw my first buffalo. We spotted people who had stopped on the side of the road, distracted by 'superblooms' of California poppies, wandering precariously into the road while trying to get pictures. I'm glad we didn't spend time stopping on the way, as nothing compared to the sight at Carrizo plain. Bright yellow as far as the eye could see - it was wondrous. We only paused briefly at the stop that most people had parked. It was a little uninspiring following the trail up to the top of a small hill where some were straying from the path to get pictures amongst the flowers. Instead we drove on further to where electricity pylons divided up the landscape. We were able to walk up the road beneath the pylons, undisturbed. It felt amazing to be surrounded by so much vivid colour, and the sound of the pylons almost enhanced the otherworldly quality of the experience. Looking up from the carpet of gold around us, up above the cables was a mad circle around the sun. It came out really well on camera, so it was fun to play with the shape, getting some Dragon Ball Z inspiration in there. At the time we didn't know what it was, perhaps some strange reaction caused by the the sun rays and electricity... but back home I shared the images and found out the phenomena is called Sun Dog. This is a type of halo, caused the refraction of sunlight by ice crystals in the atmosphere, not so different to creating lens flairs in photography.
Before heading home we stopped off at Soda Lake. This is one of the largest alkaline lakes in California. It has no natural drainage point, so water sits in the lake until evaporating during the summer. Its a bit of a muddy walk around the edge, but the vista down the stretch of glistening water towards distant mountains is well worth it.