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Desert Five Spot

Desert Five Spot
A Desert Five Spot blooms in Death Valley National Park in the midst of an historic wildflower bloom.

In Spring of 2005, an historic wildflower bloom was experienced in Death Valley National Park due to approximately 6 inches of rain the area received the previous winter, turning the famous Badwater Basin into a shallow lake. I just happened to be out west during the height of the bloom and made a trip out to Death Valley to experience the rare event.

The Desert Five Spot is so called because on the inside of the flower, on each petal, is a red spot. It is also known as the Chinese Lantern or Lantern Flower because of the tendency to glow when backlit by the sun, just as I’ve captured in this image. (I had never heard of this flower before I saw it and only learned of its names after some research).

Will 2017 see another such wildflower bloom? Death Vally has gotten some rain this winter (along with the absolute POUNDING the rest of California has received!) and Badwater Basin is, once again, a lake. Chances are good the flowers will be out this Spring! Now, if I could only arrange to be out there again…

Taken with a Nikon D1x and a Nikkor 60mm macro lens (handheld because I didn’t pack my tripod with me – bad!), the exposure was 1/200th second @ f/4.5, ISO 125.

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