The Texas bluebonnet season has started in Palo Pinto County, and for the next 2-3 weeks, it is prime time to go and get your picture snapped among the state’s official flower.
Here are a few tips that might help you capture just the right picture while also not getting yourself in trouble alongside the highway.
You can’t be on the highway or standing in the right-a-way to shoot photos. Generally, if you see a photographer with a state trooper parked behind him, it’s because of the wrong choice in parking and not because someone is picking flowers.
That’s right. It’s not illegal to pick bluebonnets, but if you want to get slammed on social media, just trample a few flowers or do something that shows you are not thinking about others.
Texans are sensitive about bluebonnets, so let’s tip-toe among them.
If you want outstanding pictures, pick a cloudy day because there won’t be any harsh shadows, and the flowers will be more colorful. Harsh sunlight can wash out your photos and throw dark shadows across faces. Nobody wants to smile while squinting into the sun.
While the chiggers/redbugs/no see-ems/ may not be out —Jake the Rattlesnake and his buddy Deadhead the Copperhead have already been spotted sunning themselves.
Before just plopping down (not on the flowers) make sure to look or poke a stick around to make sure snakes are not among leaves and twigs. Try to use an area that other photographers have used to avoid damaging plants.
Take along a blanket to sit on.
If you have a digital SLR camera, here are some settings you might try.
Use the lowest ISO that you can 200-400 is ideal.
If you want a photo where only your subject is in focus – open up your lens as wide as it will go and turn up your shutter speed.
If you would like a photo where all the flowers and subjects are in focus, then drop that shutter speed and shut down the aperture of your lens. The more you shut down, the higher your ISO will need to be.
The absolute best time for photography with the bluebonnets is the 10-15 minutes just after sundown. The time before sunrise is great for pictures too, but a photographer will find grouchy subjects in front of the lens.
Department of Public Safety Recommendations
AUSTIN – Springtime in Texas is known for the beautiful wildflowers that blanket the fields and roadsides across our state, including the state flower, the Bluebonnet. Here are a few tips to help everyone enjoy the wildflower season safely and lawfully.
While there is no law against picking the state flower, laws do exist against damaging or destroying rights-of-way and government property. So even though picking a few flowers may be okay, individuals should not dig up clusters of flowers or drive their vehicle into a field of flowers.
Flower fans must also consider laws against criminal trespassing and make sure they are not on private property when stopping to enjoy or take photos of the wildflowers. Individuals should also be cautious of snakes, fire ants, and other potential dangers while observing wildflowers.
DPS encourages motorists to be mindful of laws against impeding traffic and exercise caution when slowing down to enjoy the view, and if you decide to stop, choose areas with light traffic conditions.
For the safety of yourself and others, consider the following tips while enjoying Texas wildflowers:
- Signal before leaving or entering the roadway.
- Park off the roadway (off of improved shoulders), parallel to the road in the direction of traffic.
- Don’t cross lanes of traffic on foot to get to the flowers.
- Obey signs that prohibit parking on a particular stretch of roadway.
- Remember that failure to follow the rules of the road at any time of the year could result in a ticket.