• Alyce Bender

Texas Wildflower Photography: Spring 2022


Bluebonnets in a field in Floresville, Texas, 2022 | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 100-400mm | f/6.3 | 1/2500 | ISO 800

It was certainly a trying season this year. While we had some good rainfall last autumn which helped set the seeds for spring wildflowers, the rains stopped visiting much of the Texas Hill Country in the first quarter. It is those rains that the wildflowers depend on in order to flower.


However, there were still areas that received the required precipitation in order to see a beautiful crop of blooms. The two spots that seemed to do the best in early April when I was out and leading my Texas Wildflower Photo Adventure were the areas surrounding the towns of Floresville and Brenham. Luckily enough, these were two areas I had focused on last year as well and thus, knew many of the backroads in which to find these living gems of color.


Our very first stop was actually Castroville, TX. Here in this historic small town, the Alsatian influence from the original immigrants to the area lead to the cultivation of red poppies. Texas has white prickly poppies as a native species, so this variety can now be found along the roads in this town which is a fun addition to the portfolio from the trip.


Red poppy in bloom in Castroville Texas, 2022 | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 100-400mm | f/8 | 1/1000 | ISO 250
Red poppy close up, Castroville Texas, 2022 | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 100-400mm | f/8 | 1/800 | ISO 250
Red poppy in bloom in Castroville Texas, 2022 | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 90mm Macro | f/5.6 | 1/200 | ISO 64
Red poppy in bloom in Texas, 2022 | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 100-400mm | f/6.3 | 1/1000 | ISO 500

Floresville had a wide mix of wildflower species ranging from the pink phlox to blue-eyed grass and of course the state flower and prize bloom the bluebonnet.


Close up of a white prickly poppy native to Texas, Floresville, TX, 2022 | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 90mm Macro | f/7.1 | 1/640 | ISO 125
Blue-eyed grass in bloom in Floresville Texas 2022 | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 90mm Macro | f/4 | 1/2000 | ISO 800
Bluebonnet set against other wildflowers in Floresville, TX 2022 | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 100-400mm | f/6.3 | 1/500 | ISO 400
White prickly poppies in bright sun set against other wildflowers in Floresville TX 2022 | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 100-400mm | f/6.3 | 1/2000 | ISO 320
Wildflowers in Floresville TX | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 100-400mm | f/6.3 | 1/1250 | ISO 320
Bluebonnets in a tall weed field in bright airy light in Floresville Texas 2022 | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 100-400mm | f/6.3 | 1/1250 | ISO 320
A tiny wildflower bloom in Floresville Texas 2022  | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 100-400mm | f/6.3 | 1/1600 | ISO 320
A bluebonnet bloom portrait Floresville Hill Country Texas 2022 | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 100-400mm | f/6.3 | 1/500 | ISO 400

One accessory I did dig out of the back of my photography closet was a 5-in-1 portable reflector. Pretty cheap to purchase, they close up into a small disk much like those sunshades for windshields in cars. They expand to about four to five feet in diameter. This was wonderful, especially when working in a group, as one person is able to hold this reflector in a position that creates open shade on a particular flower or macro scene. Obviously it won't protect a full field from bright sun at noon, but it came in really handy as we worked through midmorning and were able to start back earlier in the afternoon maximizing our time in the field by using this time and gear to focus on smaller floralscapes and individual bloom portraits.

Two white prickly poppies against a very dark background Floresville Hill Country Texas 2022 | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 90mm Macro | f/7.1 | 1/640 | ISO 500 | Assistant w/light defuser

With the wildflowers so frequently found spread across fields and pastures with livestock, I included a few cattle into my frames this year. Of course the longhorns were one pasture over without any flowers, but that is just the way it happens sometimes.


Bluebonnets in focus with cow calf pair in distance and out of focus Floresville Hill Country Texas 2022  | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 100-400mm | f/10 | 1/800 | ISO 5000
A young red angus brangus cow walks across a field of bluebonnets with a background of spring leafed mesquite trees Floresville Hill Country Texas  | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 100-400mm | f/6.3 | 1/800 | ISO 800
A red angus brangus cow with calf in a field of bluebonnets at sunset in Floresville Hill Country Texas | A. Bender Photography LLC
"Smell the flowers!"

It is unbelievable the smell that comes off these flower fields. The air is heady with the scent of bluebonnets when you find a field like this or the one below. It is the one quality of photography that does not transfer to the viewer. In most cases that is a positive. Here, I think you all miss out for sure.


When planning sunset, our luck ran out in having any sort of clouds during the evenings we were shooting, so this is where knowing and scouting fields beforehand can be instrumental in creating stunning images. I was able to give the group options of a field that was side lit with a vintage homestead in the background or a field that was backlit and have the sun setting directly in front of us. They opted for backlit flowers. I am so happy they did and I am sure they are as well! We were able to take advantage of the clear skies, which, combined with high humidity creating a haze, gave us cinematic-like golden light streaming down over the flowers for about fifteen minutes before sunset.


Golden light over backlit bluebonnets Indian paintbrush wildflowers Brenham Hill Country Central Texas 2022 | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 100-400mm | f/7.1 | 1/640 | ISO 640
Golden light over backlit bluebonnets Indian paintbrush wildflowers Brenham Hill Country Central Texas 2022 | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 100-400mm | f/6.3 | 1/640 | ISO 640
Golden light over backlit bluebonnets Indian paintbrush wildflowers Brenham Hill Country Central Texas 2022 | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 100-400mm | f/6.3 | 1/640 | ISO 640

It was a true photography frenzy with each of us moving here and there, repositioning every few moments to capture another image of bluebonnets or Indian paintbrush that covered the landscape in front of us.


Golden light over backlit bluebonnets Indian paintbrush wildflowers Brenham Hill Country Central Texas 2022 | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 100-400mm | f/7.1 | 1/320 | ISO 1000
Golden light over backlit bluebonnets wildflowers Brenham Hill Country Central Texas 2022 | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 100-400mm | f/7.1 | 1/320 | ISO 1000
Golden light over backlit Indian paintbrush wildflowers Brenham Hill Country Central Texas 2022 | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 100-400mm | f/6.3 | 1/1600 | ISO 800
Golden light over bluebonnets wildflowers close up portrait Brenham Hill Country Central Texas 2022 | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 100-400mm | f/7.1 | 1/400 | ISO 1000
Golden light over backlit bluebonnets Indian paintbrush wildflowers Brenham Hill Country Central Texas 2022 | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 100-400mm | f/7.1 | 1/400 | ISO 1250


Location tip: I know I have said this before but the overwhelming majority of Texas is private property (~96% overall). So when photographing wildflowers be sure to pull fully off the road and only shoot from the shoulder when working outside places like local or state parks.


Camera lens facing a wildflower field in soft light Brenham Hill Country Texas 2022 | A. Bender Photography LLC
Setting up while respecting the property edge.

On the third day of the photo adventure we awoke to some very interesting and unique atmosphere. We had a dense layer of fog for several hours. In this area and at this time of year this is a rare phenomenon but we certainly made the most of it where we could. Visiting the old Baylor University homesite, I opted to frame the remaining portion of the original school's entry with the wildflowers and oaks that now surround the last of the historic architecture.


Old Baylor University historical ruins with wildflowers and fog in spring 2022 Independence Brenham Texas | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 18-400mm | f/5.6 | 1/800 | ISO 1000
Historic fancy fence post surrounded by bluebonnets in the fog at Old Baylor University  Independence Brenham Texas | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 18-400mm | f/5.6 | 1/640 | ISO 1600

As the fog slowly broke apart, we continued to focus on flower portraits and utilized the soft light the lifting fog provided. We also played around a bit with in-camera multiple exposure options as well.


A bluebonnet portrait surrounded by other wildflowers in Brenham Hill Country Texas | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 100-400mm | f/6.3 | 1/1000 | ISO 800
A bluebonnet portrait surrounded by other wildflowers in Brenham Hill Country Texas | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 100-400mm | f/6.3 | 1/640 | ISO 1000
A bluebonnet portrait surrounded by other wildflowers in Brenham Hill Country Texas | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 100-400mm | f/8 | 1/640 | ISO 1000

Overall, a wonderful way to spend a long spring weekend in central Texas and a welcome reprieve from the grey and brown of winter down here. Maybe next year will be a banner year and I will be able to capture the more traditional bluebonnet images in locations like Muleshoe Bend. We shall see!



A bluebonnet portrait in Floresville Brenham Hill Country Texas | A. Bender Photography LLC
Nikon D500 | Tamron 100-400mm | f/6.3 | 1/800 | ISO 1000

138 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All