Landscape Panoramas 2017

– Posted in: Garden Photography, Miscellaneous

As I photographed California landscapes in 2017, I found myself composing lots of panorama photos.

Dawn in the Sonoran Desert at Anza Borrego California State Park

I visited a number of expansive landscapes in my quest to find inspiration for gardeners in adapting to our summer-dry climate.  Using panorama cropping to evoke a sense of wide open spaces, my journeys started in the early spring when I went to Southern California for the wildflower superbloom.

Anza Borrego State Park in the Sonoran Desert is about as wide open space as you could imagine, and it was carpeted with wildflowers.

Desert Sunflower, Geraea canescens, wildflowers on desert floor of Sonoran Desert at Anza Borrego California State Park

Perhaps you remember my post The Wild Desert Garden and the glorious shrubs and perennials that were part of the Sonoran Desert superbloom.

Then, a few weeks later, I went on to see Carrizo Plains one of the last grassland preserves in California. It is even more expansive than Anza Borego.   I loved seeing the road disappearing into the horizon through a field of Monolopia wildflowers.

Carrizo Plains National Monument, California carpeted with wildflowers in the superbloom 2017

I made a post about making panoramas at Carrizo on my PhotoBotanic blog where you will find some of these photos shown as before and after.

Poa secunda, One-sided Bluegrass, flowering grass in afternoon light Carrizo Plains National Monument, California


Spring superbloom 2017, Carrizo Plains National Monument, California

The only real trick about making a panorama crop out of the traditional camera rectangle viewfinder, once you pre-visualize what you are seeing, is to line up the horizon line in the middle of the frame to reduce lens warping.

Panorama framing – Autumn landscape panorama West Bijou Ranch, Colorado.

Then, when you crop to panorama size later, you can compose the final composition where the horizon line is not dead center, but in the original capture, by putting the horizon line in the center you will keep it straight for the final photograph after cropping.

Autumn landscape panorama West Bijou Ranch, short grass prairie.

More details in this blog post from PhotoBotanic: Panoramas of the Prairie  when I visited West Bijou Ranch in Colorado.

In Oklahoma, I visited The Nature Conservancy’s Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, another vast grassland, suited to panoramas.

Prairie Milkweed flowering in Tall Grass Prairie Preserve, Oklahoma

I am studying native prairies, meadows, and grasslands to help understand the role of a healthy soils and healthy vegetation to carbon sequestration in the rhizosphere underneath our feet.  More on the Tallgrass Prairie Rhizosphere.

Tall Grass Prairie Preserve, Oklahoma with Rudbeckia hirta and Wild Rye.

At the end of the year I started documenting the recovery after the wildfires in Northern California.

Fire damage and recovery from Nuns fire Sonoma Regional Park, California

Burned Oaks backlit, California native landscape panorama, recovery after 2017 Sonoma fires, Pepperwood Preserve

Late afternoon light makes the burned trees seem as if they have fall color. The panoramas lend a majestic quality, perhaps unfairly for this devastation, but there is a certain determined beauty to this landscape and I sense nature is grand in all its aspects.  Full post on the fire recovery at PhotoBotanic.

Whatever the natural processes our landscapes evolve with, we gardeners can observe what has been sustained, and learn to compliment Mother Nature’s work with our own.

More favorite photos from 2017 in this gallery.


Saxon Holt
Saxon Holt is the owner of, a garden picture resource for photographs, on-line workshops, and garden photography stories. An award winning photojournalist and Fellow of The Garden Writers Association with more than 25 garden books, he lives and gardens in Northern California. PhotoBotanic - Garden Photography online at
Saxon Holt

Latest posts by Saxon Holt (see all)

4 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

cc January 13, 2018, 10:16 am

Beautiful pix – thanks for sharing esp. during these cold winter days.

Saxon Holt January 13, 2018, 2:08 pm

Thanks cc – This is also the time of heart photographers can organize last years work

Susan Krzywicki January 14, 2018, 11:35 am

these are beautiful and heart-throbbing photos. please keep up the fabulous efforts. The colors are enhanced by the panorama style. they remind me of cinerama westerns from the 1960s.

Saxon Holt January 15, 2018, 5:42 pm

Thanks Susan – I too love those old westerns, many of which were shot in the deserts of Southern California

[shareaholic app=”recommendations” id=”13070491″]