Old Man of the Mountain

Today’s featured subject is the Old Man of the Mountain wildflower (Rydbergia grandiflora), also known as the alpine sunflower, or Rydbergia. These sunflowers stay low to the ground (up to about 10 inches), with flowers that are 2-4 inches wide. They typically bloom in July and August in the alpine landscape. The one interesting thing about these wildflowers is that the flower heads always face east, away from the prevailing wind. This plant grows for several years before it blooms, once, then it dies. The stems and leaves of the Old Man are very distinctive and have a very dense “hair” on them (you can barely see this trait, between the petals on the bottom image, below).

This first image was made along Governor’s Basin in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado:

Old Man of the Mountain wildflower

And this next image was made along the Mount Evans Highway, near Idaho Springs, Colorado:

Old Man of the Mountain wildflower

I love these wildflowers, so bold and bright! And they always act as my impromptu compass! I decided to feature this flower as I transition into some images I captured at Mount Evans, my next stop of my July travels.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Tamron 17mm-35mm lens (top photo) and Canon EF180mm, f/3.5 macro lens (bottom photo)
  • Bogen 3221 tripod with Kirk Ent. HD ballhead
  • ISO 500 (top photo) and ISO 200 (bottom photo)
  • Aperture f/16 (top photo)  and f/5.6 (bottom photo)
  • Shutter 1/320 sec. (top photo) and 1/500 sec. (bottom photo)



Posted in Landscape Photography, Nature Photography, Travel Photography, Wildflowers
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