Thursday, April 1

Bluebonnet Time!

This is one of my favorite times of year. Yes, the bluebonnets are blooming! Our bluebonnet "field" (it is pretty small, more of a bluebonnet patch) is slowly becoming a fragrant sea of blue and green. I used my Butterscotch Vintage action on this photo taken today (I added a white Solid Color layer on top set to color blending mode, 30% opacity, to reduce the bright colors) and cropped for the web and added rounded corners using my Web Rounded Corners action. Oh, basic editing done in LightRoom 2, then I used the actions in Photoshop CS4.  And I used my Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens.

Once the field is in full bloom I will force my unwilling boys out there, risking fire ants stings and snake attacks for a few traditional Texas Bluebonnet photos.
If you live in Texas you know what I am talking about. Every good Texan parent forces their children out on the sides of busy highways to capture those amazing images of their children frowning and squinting in bright sun surrounded by a cloud of bluebonnets with semi-trucks whizzing by in the background.

We are lucky and have our own field of bluebonnet right next to our house. My mother-in-law started this field from a few seeds over 30 years ago and I am proud to keep the tradition going. However, my husband does not see a field of lovely flowers, but rather a field of weeds, snakes, fire ants, and a world of hassle.

Yes, I enjoy the flowers but he does not think the two weeks of beauty is worth the two months of weeds, waiting for the bluebonnets to seed. After I feel the bluebonnets have successfully reproduced for the next year, he has to bring out the huge farm tractor and brush hog to mow the two foot high weeds, and then our lawnmower to finish it up. It is a horrible project, and our field is an eyesore for some time...

And there is an additional issue. We are the only people out in our area who go through this mess to have two weeks of beauty. Our road is quite busy at times, especially when the area middleschools and highschools have  games at the local ballpark. And the parents who bring their children to the park to play don't live in our neighborhood (our neighbors are great) and don't hesitate to speed by our house while throwing beer cans and Frito bags out on our front lawn.

But it doesn't end with the speeding, drinking and littering. They also can't resist a bluebonnet field (you know, they have to capture photos of their kids in the bluebonnets). So they park in the ditch by our house, run out in our field pulling their reluctant child along, take a few photos with their cell phone, throw a Jack in the Box bag in our yard, and squeal off.

So last year our field of bluebonnets literally looked like it had a herd of elephants eating fast food and drinking lite beer galloping around for hours in it. These lovely uninvited visitors wouldn't find an already trampled area to use to photograph their kids. No, they would find a nice untouched area to smoosh. And in these once trampled areas the bluebonnets die and do not reseed.  At least 75% of the bluebonnets were destroyed last year and this year I have huge empty spaces full of other weeds that aren't lovely wildflowers. 

And did I mention the fire ants and snakes? Yes, they place their unsuspecting adorable children (who are learning it is OK to litter, drink beer while driving, and trespass) in fire ant mounds and risk a snakebite to get these prized photos.

So this year I had to do something, and that something resulted in me placing this sad little sign in front of our field... I feel like the Grinch that stole the Bluebonnet Photo!  I am just going to assume that even though the field is right next to our house and has lawn furniture and kid toys on it half the time,  people might think it is an empty lot and just need a gentle reminder.  Notice I added the "Please" to try to soften the blow.  :-) 

So far so good and now everyone can enjoy the bluebonnets.  Well, everyone but my husband.  ;-) BTW, friends and neighbors are of course invited for photo-ops.  They respect the Texas State flower and private property.  And hopefully next year I can fill in all of those "bald" spots in our tiny bluebonnet field.


  1. I love that picture of the bluebonnet! I hope I am able to find some good ones out here this year... I am just getting into photography and would love to take some good bluebonnet photos.

    Also, thanks for being awesome. I'm still learning photoshop as well and your website has helped me so much I can't even begin to describe it! :-)

  2. You must live not far from us in Houston. How I long to have a field of my own! Alas, the neighborhood association would not allow it. Consider yourself lucky! Maybe next year I'll get organized and throw some seeds in a pot... Can I come see them? My two year old needs a photo with some bluebonnets... Just kidding!

  3. EBPitcher, you can come over! Friends and neighbors are free to come by for photo ops. :-)

  4. I love that photo bur I fear that I would not be brave enough to face the snakes & fire ants. How sad that people still litter. What a shame :( Thanks for posting!

  5. Oh I miss the bluebonnets - but definitely not the ants and snakes and other creepy crawlies.
    We lived in San Antonio and then Copperas Cove, Texas for about 5 yrs total. We're in Alaska now though - and still waiting for the snow to melt. No flowers here yet :(
    I think it was smart of you to put up the sign!!

  6. My son & I still fly in from Arizona every year to visit family and to get bluebonnet pictures. Love the photo!

  7. First let me say thank you for all the time you put into creating these fabulous actions for us! I truly appreciate that you offer these to us "photoshop challenged" people! LOL

    I love your bluebonet story...I too live in TX and drag my kids out to find the perfect bluebonnet patch. Last year we made the long drive from Copperas Cove to Brenham, and wowzers it was worth the drive...this is going to be a new part of our bluebonnet tradition.

    Good luck with your field, and I hope your sign works! Some people just have no respect!!

  8. I'm just dreaming of fields of colorful flowers. Here in Utah it's snowing today, so thanks for the reminder that Spring is here (at least in some parts of the country!)

  9. Beautiful, Rita!

    Good for you to try and preserve the bluebonnet field.


  10. People are so rude! I really really hate litter. It's so unnecessary.

  11. I love your butterscotch vintage action. It always has the nicest results. I've used it soooo much lately! Thanks!

  12. What a beautiful image...and flower. I love bluebonnets! How sad some of them were destroyed by inconsiderate folks. Hopefully the sign will allow the field to prosper again.

  13. As a Texan who hasn't been home in 5 years, your bluebonnet photos make me so homesick! Gorgeous photos. We would stop by the freeway on many a childhood vacation for pictures. Thanks! And good luck keeping unwanted people off!

  14. Beautiful picture! Can you take the plants when they go to seed and shake them over the bald spots? So time in my life I am flying to Texas to take pictures in someones bluebonnet field...where did you say you lived?? LOL

  15. Beautiful photo!
    Litterbugs drive me nuts. I have that problem here at home too. 40oz bottles in my garden! WTH?
    As for your sign, maybe "DANGER - SNAKES AND FIRE ANTS" might work better? LOL! I know I'D think twice! :)

  16. I am new to photography, and know pretty much nothing, but I'm enjoying your site SO MUCH! Thanks for all the tutorials, and freebies and everything!
    Those Blue Bonnets are beautiful, and I think you did a good thing by putting that sign up. How disrespectful to treat your property that way. But anyway, amazing photos!

  17. beautiful bluebonnet!! I live in garland, I love bluebonnet season in TX! yah!

  18. Love the picture and the story.

  19. I am so excited for bluebonnets! Yeah!

    I feel your pain, people here litter like crazy and it drives me bonkers. I am sorry that people are disrespecting you and your property, it is so sad. Thank you always for sharing your beautiful photography and actions with us. And thank you for being one of the few to go through the hassle of planting a field of bluebonnets!


  20. I totally get what you are going through. Fortunately we live in an area where no one would look for them. We planted bluebonnets several years ago so we could enjoy our own state flower. It drives me crazy when I see people pulled over on the side of I-35 and drag their kids up and embankment to get a picture, all the while trampling the bluebonnets to death. I think the DPS needs to put up signs like your's but without the please!

    Thanks for sharing all of your knowledge.

  21. YES!!! The poor Bluebonnets! I'm extremely careful when I bring people out for photo shoots and make sure they mind where they step, including the unfortunate opportunity of stepping in that fresh pile of amazing looking dirt...with the army of monsters waiting to come out and attack -- all at once... And for that snake that wasn't smart enough to move and feels the need to protect itself against the innocent toddler who has to sit, while waiting for "mom" to get the perfect amount of photos.

    How I LOVE this time of year! And this year is an even bigger show and display of the Bluebonnet in the San Antonio/Hill Country area.

  22. Glad you guys like the photo!

    So far so good with the sign. No trampled bluebonnets at all, so hopefully the huge spots will fill in next year.

    I had some neighbors come over with their kids and I had a little photoshoot with them. So fun! The kids wore boots and I made sure they were safe from those nasty ants and snakes. :-) And I didn't scream at anyone. ;-) Rita

  23. Hey fellow Texan! This bluebonnet post is spot on- that's exactly what happens to pretty bluebonnet patches- they get no respect!

    I was reading a blogger the other day who was showing off her new table decorated with a vase full of bluebonnets- she actually says in the post "I just picked these off the highway!"

    Ooooohhh, bad girl! How can you live in Texas and not know that's a no-no? No respect, I tell ya...

  24. Nice to know the American name for these. I always wondered what Bluebonnets are. In Israel we call them Lupines (or Turmos in Hebrew) and they bloom beautifully here at the end of summer. There's a secret field full of them down in the valley that we walk out to every year for photos...

  25. HOw lucky you are to have blue bonnets. I dont' think we can grow them here in GA.


  26. I just have to tell you how I rarely read posts all the way through (ADD i guess) but this one had me laughing so hard I cried. I have experienced similar issues and laughing is the only recourse with some... Thanks for sharing.


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