Wildflower season in Southern California usually peaks during a short window from mid-March through late-April, but it isn’t always a dazzling display. Many factors can affect the bloom, the amount of winter rain being the most obvious, but there’s also temperature (too much heat will dry up the flowers quickly), highs winds (too much blows away the petals), ongoing drought conditions, too many little critters chowing down, and even whether the previous year “used up” most of the dormant seeds under the ground.
This past winter, as you probably saw on the news, was a record-breaker for most of the West Coast and especially California…and MUCH needed! And despite the flooding and mudslides and people in the mountains having to climb out their their second story windows just to escape their homes under 25 feet of snow, all that water is precious after half a decade of way-below-average rainfall and severe drought.
And obviously, the wildflowers LOVE all that water!
As such, many folks in and around Southern California were crossing our fingers, hoping for a decent bloom and perhaps even one of those rare treats: a SUPERbloom. The last one of those we had was back in 2019, and it was a doozy! I myself got photos that year that looked like this…
Oh, did I mention I’m a nature photographer in addition to being a Trekkie? And I’m just as obsessed with both! During some superbloom years, I’ve driven literally thousands of miles in a matter of a few weeks, criss-crossing the map of Southern California going to all sorts of secret and not-so-secret places to photograph these beauties. All of the above images were taken in the Antelope Valley, part of the Mojave Desert near the town of Lancaster.
As it happens, a fan filmmaker named MATTHEW BLACKBURN, the creator the SURVIVOR series of Trek fan films, lives in the Antelope Valley. And back in 2019 while I was taking the above photos, he and his wife Katie were driving along Highway 138 when they saw the most magnificent field of orange poppies and another field of yellow coreopsis carpeting a grove of Joshua trees. Always thinking like a filmmaker, Matt stopped the car and changed into a Deep Space Nine jacket and tunic that was in his trunk (’cause we all have a Starfleet uniform in our trunk, right?). Katie was used to being Matt’s camera person, and they shot footage of him walking through the two fields, looking around, and falling backwards into the wildflowers. At the time, Matt had no idea what the footage would be used for, but at least he’d have it.
Ultimately, those clips made their way into LOST AND FOUND, a Star Trek fan film that Matt released two and a half years later in late 2021. The wildflower scenes appear during a hallucinogenic mind-scape sequence as Matt’s captain character battles a psychic entity trying to take control of him. You can see those shots beginning at 5:33 in the video below…Continue reading “Unexpected fan filmmaking happens among the California wildflower SUPERBLOOM!”