First Rain !

– Posted in: Garden Photography

In California the first rain is a cause for celebration,  Not just for gardeners who can turn off the irrigation systems but the earth itself is joyous.  Storm clouds move in from the Pacific, a stillness awaits as the cycle of life begins again.

I love walking in the rain this time of year.  With each raindrop my soul is replenished, I laugh with the wet earth as it soaks up its very lifeblood.

I was determined this year to take pictures in the rain.  It was raining buckets and I knew I could not take my professional gear and tripod but felt there would be moods and details that could only be captured in the rain.

The moss on the trees turns green within hours of the rains starting.

Lichen, dormant and gray, for the hot sunbaked summer months comes to life.

The normally muted colors of our fall foliage glistens and glows in the rain.  It is pouring when I took this photo of Quercus lobata, Valley Oak.  I am bundled head to toe in waterproof gear and hold a small umbrella with one hand protecting my point and shoot camera.

As if on cue, knowing the rains bring life, the native scrubby Baccharis, Coyoye bush, flowers.  The landscape is bleak now as autumn ends and winter begins, colors muted and dull.  In days the grass will begin to sprout.  In weeks there will be  a green flush.   In months, if we are lucky, these hills will be emerald.

It is been often said by gardeners who care little for flowers that green is a color too.  And I celebrate green in my garden, reveling in the colors of grasses and foliage.  Green is the color of life.  In dry climates we learn that brown is a color too, a natural part of our cycles.

Even gray is a color we should learn to appreciate.  Not just for the somber reminder that winter is a quiet time.  Maybe this is a stretch for gardeners, to see beauty in gray.  For a photographer though, gray may be the most interesting color with infinite subtleties.  The camera never lies:

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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

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