For Florida springtime wildflowers, there is no place better than the Apalachicola National Forest. By mid-April (a little later this year due to the long winter) the sides of many of the roads are glittering with a rainbow of the most vivid colors and hues that nature can display. This was the case when I saw a lush deep yellow patch of spring helenium (Helenium vernale) – also known as savannah sneezeweed – that was just screaming to be photographed.
Springtime helenium growing on the side of a highway in the Apalachicola National Forest.
The flowers top long slender green stems, and grow in thick patches. My options were limited when trying to line up my shot. I wanted to show that wonderful bright splash of color and have a bit of detail on some of the flowers, but the view through the camera was way too busy. Luckily I had a portrait lens with me and used a very shallow depth of field to cut out most of the detail. I thought it would give a more dreamy and gentle look. It was quite windy out, but the sunshine was directly overhead and I had plenty of light to shoot fast. After a couple of shots – I had my keeper and moved on to the next subject.
A little information of note – the springtime helenium is named after Helen of Troy, the woman who was so beautiful that she was the cause of a war in Homer’s Iliad. The species name vernale refers to the Latin word for springtime. This beautiful member of the aster family is found most often in or near coastal wetlands of the Southeastern United States.
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