Guest Post by Tina Auten
Bluebonnet Photography Tips
Signs of Spring are everywhere across Texas, but none are as eagerly anticipated as the arrival of our beloved state flower, the Texas Bluebonnet. As blue fields start popping up along highways, state parks, and private fields, hordes of tourists and photographers flock to them each year with cameras of all shapes and sizes to capture these magnificent and iconic blooms.
It has become a Texas tradition to celebrate Spring with a portrait in the bluebonnets and when weather conditions are just right, these azure beauties can last up to several weeks in the mild Texas Spring.
If you are planning your own Bluebonnet photography adventure, here are a few things you need to keep in mind before stepping into the fields.
- Rights-of-ways on the side of the highway. Thanks to the efforts of Lady Bird Johnson, Texas highways are spectacular each spring when the wildflowers begin to bloom and this time of year, the grassy areas off the shoulders of the highways are carpeted in a thick bluebonnet blue that’s hard to resist.
- If you pull over, make sure you have a turn indicator on and that you are pulled far enough onto the shoulder so that you don’t endanger your vehicle, yourself or impede traffic.
- The Texas Department of Public Safety reminds drivers to signal when pulling over and re-entering traffic, obey signs that prohibit parking on a stretch of roadway, and to avoid trespassing on private property.
- Wild critters love spring too! When going into that magical field to capture your family portrait or landscape photos, keep in mind that field is also home to snakes, fire ants, and ticks.
- In addition to being home to many varieties of wildflowers, Texas is also home to 113 varieties of snakes and that includes the fear-inducing rattlesnake. Rattlesnakes generally make noise (the rattle) when they feel threatened but it’s important to still use caution when entering the fields as it’s a good place for snakes to hide. The spring is a busy time of activity for snakes and they are particularly active at dawn and dusk which are prime times for natural light photographers, so if you are photographing at those times make sure to take extra caution.
- Remember that snakes are just as afraid of you as you are of them, so if you spot one don’t make any sudden moves and leave them alone. The odds are they will retreat if they don’t feel threatened. Most snake bites occur because victims either step on them accidentally or try to pick them up.
- Be kind to the blooms. When venturing into these glorious fields please be mindful of where you step. Just as you don’t want to accidentally step on a snake, try not to step on the Bluebonnets. If they are trampled, they can’t go to seed and reseed themselves for future Springtime blooming.
- For photographers who use props such as wagons, furniture, blankets, crates, metal pails and more, please take extra care in where you set up and how you direct your clients to your setup.
- Avoid using glitter confetti, balloons, and materials that can damage the natural Bluebonnet habitat.
- When it comes to picking Bluebonnets and other wildflowers, it is illegal in state parks. However, it is not illegal to pick them in other areas unless designated by signage. If in doubt, let them be - so they can continue to grow and be enjoyed by others.
- You can find some great additional Bluebonnet photography tips here.
Like so many Texans, the Bluebonnet is near and dear to my heart. During my years as an Air Force wife, I pined for the majestic fields of blue each and every Spring. Now that we once again reside in Texas, it is a pleasure and privilege to photograph our sweet bluebonnet Spring each year.
I believe each of us has a responsibility to be good stewards of the Bluebonnet and other wildflowers by doing our part to protect our state legacy for future generations. Hopefully, these tips will keep you safe and ensure you can make the most of this time of year.
I think Lady Bird Johnson summed it up best when she said, “The environment is where we all meet; where all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share.”
This is the only place on Earth bluebonnets grow
And once a year they come and go
At this old house here by the road….
Gulf Coast Highway, Nanci Griffith
Do you have any questions or comments about my Bluebonnet Photography Tips? Just leave me a comment below - and PLEASE SHARE this post using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!