Total-Plant: A Native Plant Photo Library
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Tim and Paul’s Guiding Principles of Native Plant Photography

  • When you come across a new plant and take a zillion photos, just around the corner there will be lots more and much better ones.
  • When you’re driving and spot a new plant, if you decide to keep going because surely there will be lots more of this plant just ahead – there won’t be.
  • Your favorite plant names are the most likely ones to be changed. RIP Zauschneria, Satureja and Hyptis.
  • When you plan to botanize in a new area, don’t be surprised if you never make it out of the parking lot.
  • Your circle of friends will change when you become a native plant photographer. Some friends will avoid walking or hiking with you because you are too slow. However, new friendships will develop because you are so slow.
  • Just like with elements in the periodic table, there will always be a plant family name that you’ve never seen or heard of before.
  • Unless you hike with an electron microscope, there will always be a critical tiny plant part necessary to ID a plant that you can’t make out for the life of you.
  • You can hike for miles all day looking for a particular plant only to discover that it’s growing right where you started.
  • Manual focus is always preferable to autofocus – until you turn 40.
  • Wind is your enemy.
  • You prefer photographing plants to people and animals because plants don’t move or talk back. (See exception above: Wind is your enemy.)
  • Poison oak is really an alien race with an agenda: it can disguise itself in any form and lurk in almost any habitat.
  • Even if hiking at high elevations causes you to be short of breath or get altitude sickness, at least you don’t have to keep watching out for poison oak.
  • Everyone has a favorite invasive plant that they secretly don’t mind if it spreads all over the place.
  • Even if you’ve already taken the most perfect photo of a plant, when you come across a great specimen you won’t be able to resist taking just one more shot.
  • If you start talking too much about plants at a party, you’ll notice almost everyone else slowly moves away from you. The ones who don’t will ask you for landscaping advice.
  • You have to bite your tongue when you overhear someone say, “You know, I really can’t tell the difference between a tree and a bush.”
  • If a key asks you to dig up a plant in order to ID it, dig up a new key.
  • Just when you think you really know a genus, you’ll come across a species that doesn’t fit.
  • Always remember to label your photos when you get home. Always remember to erase your photo card before your next trip. Always kick yourself because you forgot to do both of these things.
  • The book that you need to ID the plant in front of you is the book you thought you wouldn’t need and left at home.