I remember my grandmother, God rest her soul, saying "You get what you get and you'll like it."
And so it was with the bluebonnet season of 2020. While not a prolific year for Texas’ favorite wildflower - actually pretty subpar - there were still some patches of blue to be found. For whatever reason – lack of rainfall, fast-growing grasses, or other reason - bluebonnets were not as plentiful. While I covered close to 1,000 miles of driving and searching for the color blue, the best locations I found were in the northern parts of the Texas Hill Country around Mason – and those were mostly roadsides and shallow fields.
I'll start with my last image I took - a few weeks ago -and this is actually a mix of bluebonnets and prairie paintbrush - and is one of my favorites of the season - taken just south of Mason:
It was a small patch, but by staying low and focusing on the immediate blooms, I think that photograph turned out nicely thanks to a fleeting sunset.
Now, backtracking to the beginning of the bluebonnet season, there were some nice scenes along the roads, but not much depth (off-road). Here is a photograph from a county road between Round Mountain and Highway 71.
I had to get low to frame these bluebonnets to make them look pretty good. Next is an image taken from 2019 along the same road:
As can be seen, last year was a bit better in this area. But I still appreciated this year's color.
One of my favorite drives in good years is 152 between Llano and Castell. This year, some bluebonnets did sprinkle the roadsides, but not as much as in years' past. Here is a comparison from this year to a few years ago. Both images were taken in the same location, just different sides of the road. First, this year:
Compare this year to 2010:
A well-known stop along Highway 29 is the little Methodist church in Art. Here is a comparison from this year to year's past. First, this year:
And one from 2015:
Still, there were some nice scenes to be found. I ran into a friend along a little dirt road south of Mason - hadn't seen him since photographing bluebonnets in Big Bend in the spring of 2019. And this evening provided the most amazing sunset of the spring thus far (and this area has been barren for the last several years, so it was nice surprise to see it back):
And one last image to share - this taken north of Mason using my drone (I am have an FAA part 107 license to fly). This aerial view is two horizontal images stitched together to show the winding road lined with bluebonnets as it pushes into the distance:
Now that the bluebonnets are fading, I'm hoping we'll have a more colorful May wildflower season with the Indian blankets being my favorite. But as Grandma said, I'll take what I get and I'll like it. And I am thankful for even this past season of sparse bluebonnets!
Stay safe, everyone, and stay safe out there.