The Atascadero Art Association’s photography show is as sparse as the wildflowers this spring, with nine photos by seven photographers.
“There weren’t a lot of wildflowers this year,” said Louisa Vaccero of the North County Image Makers, which drenched the group’s initial plans for a wildflower photography exhibit.
The abundant rainfall made grasses shoot up higher than usual, concealing flowers that did grow and keeping others from taking hold. So at the suggestion of Nancy Koren, who had close-up photos of sweet peas and gladiola already framed and ready to hang, the group decided to exhibit anything flower-related.
Vaccero went with the original theme and is exhibiting wild roses and yucca. Doug Howard captured some red-flowering agave, and Christina Stead displayed apple blossoms.
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A few other photographers managed to get shots of wildflowers that most people are familiar with.
Silas Denny snapped a California poppy, the state flower. The president of the North County Image Makers captured the silklike petals tightly clustered, ready to break free. Denny has ample opportunity to shoot native plants from his family home near Lake Nacimiento, but escapes frequently to pursue travel photography. He visits Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan.
"They’re very different from California; there are different things to see," Denny said. Now 38, he’s been a photographer since age 18.
Darwin Denny, 15, doesn’t get to globe hop with his big brother.
"Generally, I’m too poor," he said, "and he doesn’t want to pay my airfare."
Darwin does ride on his sibling’s coattails, however, as he’s also a photographer. His entry of a dandelion as its puffy seeds burst required “a macro lens and a lot of patience,” Darwin said. It was the only shot he had that fit the exhibit’s theme.
A shutterbug since age 9, Darwin has no particular goal when seeking shots.
"I do a lot of nature photography because it’s what’s handy," he said. "I kind of go out when I have a wild flight of fancy."
Sean McAlpine’s choice of a native flower is a sky lupine. Most people only see the clusters appearing like purple pools in fields from a distance, but McAlpine provides a close-up of a stalk of the blue-and-white blossoms. He found the lupine at the Salinas River near his Atascadero home.
Because of a rare birth disorder, the 30-year-old is prone to seizures, only has use of one hand and cannot drive. But that doesn’t stop McAlpine from exploring and shooting the creatures and nature he seeks out to photograph.
"I walk wherever my feet can take me," he said.