2016 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 24: National, State and Local Flowers – Guest Challenge

Flowers are those little colorful beacons of the sun from which we get sunshine when dark, somber skies blanket our thoughts. ~Dodinsky

Mindy Erickson has a great Guest Challenge for us this Week, photographing your National, State or Local flower or Flower Emblem. Almost every region in the world uses flowers as a colorful, full of life symbol of representation.


edited hibscus

Hibiscus, national flower of Haiti, South Korea, Malaysia… – by Mindy Erickson

Hibiscus: a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family, Malvaceae. It is quite large, containing several hundred species that are native to warm-temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world. Member species are often noted for their showy flowers and are commonly known simply as hibiscus, or less widely known as rose mallow. The hibiscus flower is traditionally worn by Tahitian and Hawaiian girls. If the flower is worn behind the left ear, the woman is married or in a relationship. If the flower is worn on the right, she is single or openly available for a relationship. The hibiscus is Hawaii’s state flower.

hawaiianink ginger

National Flower of Samoa – by Mindy Erickson

Hawaiian pink ginger:  known in Hawaiian as ‘Awapuhi Ula’Ula.  I am a cylinder shaped flower pastel pink in color. If growing conditions are right, I will reach a height of 15 feet, and I will flower all year round. If my floral head is allowed to mature, plantlets will eventually appear. In this way, I propagate myself. I was introduced to Hawai‘i as an ornamental before 1930, and I am naturalized here in valleys and on the windward sides of  islands. I grows well in rich soil and in wet habitats, but I can grow in dry areas as well. Pink ginger is quite popular as an ornamental and cut flower, both for the home and for commercial sale. When we refer to “red  ginger” in this publication, this usually includes both red and pink gingers.

Johnny Jump Up

Viola tricolor – by Mindy Erickson

Viola tricolor:  Also known as Johnny Jump up (though this name is also applied to similar species such as the yellow pansy), heartsease, heart’s ease, heart’s delight, tickle-my-fancy, Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me, come-and-cuddle-me, three faces in a hood, or love-in-idleness, is a common European wild flower, growing as an annual or short-lived perennial. It has been introduced into North America, where it has spread. It is the progenitor of the cultivated pansy, and is therefore sometimes called wild pansy; before the cultivated pansies were developed, “pansy” was an alternative name for the wild form.

Steve Troletti Photography: PICTURE OF THE DAY / PHOTO DU JOUR &emdash; Backlit Tulips / Tulipes à contre-jours

The Tulip is the National Flower of Afghanistan and Iran

Tulips: The tulip is a Eurasian and North African genus of perennial, bulbous plants in the lily family. It is a herbaceous herb with showy flowers, of which around 75 wild species are currently accepted. The genus’s native range extends west to the Iberian Peninsula, through North Africa to Greece, the Balkans, Turkey, throughout the Levant and Iran, north to Ukraine, southern Siberia and Mongolia, and east to the Northwest of China. The tulip’s centre of diversity is in the Pamir, Hindu Kush, and Tien Shan mountains. It is a common element of steppe and winter-rain Mediterranean vegetation

California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica

The California Poppy is California’s State Flower

California poppy: A poppy is a flowering plant in the subfamily Papaveroideae of the family Papaveraceae. Poppies are herbaceous plants, often grown for their colorful flowers. One species of poppy, Papaver somniferum, is the source of the crude drug opium which contains powerful medicinal alkaloids such as morphine and has been used since ancient times as an analgesic and narcotic medicinal and recreational drugs. It also produces edible seeds. Following the trench warfare which took place in the poppy fields of Flanders, during the 1st World War, poppies have become a symbol of remembrance of soldiers who have died during wartime.



Waratah: New South Wales official floral emblem

Waratah flower: Waratah is an Australian-endemic genus of five species of large shrubs or small trees, native to the southeastern parts of Australia. The most well-known species in this genus is Telopea speciosissima, which has bright red flowers and is the NSW state emblem. The waratah is a member of the plant family Proteaceae, a family of flowering plants distributed in the Southern Hemisphere. The key diagnostic feature of Proteaceae is the inflorescence, which is often very large, brightly coloured and showy, consisting of many small flowers densely packed into a compact head or spike. Species of waratah boast such inflorescences ranging from 6–15 cm in diameter with a basal ring of coloured bracts. The leaves are spirally arranged, 10–20 cm long and 2–3 cm broad with entire or serrated margins. The name waratah comes from the Eora Aboriginal people, the original inhabitants of the Sydney area

To complete your Challenge you will need to:
  • Photograph one symbolic flower (Hopefully with local signification to you, Country, State, Municipal or geographical) and document the name and region it is from.
  •  Preferably photographed in it’s natural habitat but for folks in the Southern Hemisphere we’ll make an understandable exception.
Be creative when you photograph and edit your flowers. (Here’s a quick video to help)
The tools you may need to complete your challenge:
  • Diffuser: You can use a purpose built diffuser or use a piece of translucent cloth to soften the light
  • Reflector: Reflector can help open up shadows in certain situations. You can even use a white piece of paper or plastic card
  • Polarizing Filter: Will help enhance color contrasts and gain richer colors by reducing some glare
  • Cross Polarization: If you participated in the Cross-Polarization challenge, here’s a great opportunity to put in practice those skills
  • Portable Flash: A second source of light may also be used, especially for fill lighting. Always best to diffuse the light from the flash. You may also use it to freeze motion on a windy day.
  • A tripod: I always use tripods to photograph still subjects. It allows me to experiment without loosing my original composition
  • A stick in the ground can be used to secure the stem is it tends to be moving in the wind. (Don’t break plants or flowers for a photo)


For your personal safety please become familiar with bugs, insects, arachnids plants (Poison Oak, Poison Ivy, Giant Hogweed…) and wildlife in your area that can harm you before venturing out on a nature hike. Use appropriate repellents when necessary, especially for ticks and mosquito in infected areas.

Always respect nature and leave bird nests and young animals alone. Even if they appear to be in distress, they really may not be. Always better to call wildlife authorities (Fish and Wildlife) in your area before interfering with nature.


My name is Mindy Erickson and I live in sunny Southern California.  I started taking pictures 21 years ago when my little guys were born.   Since then, I have moved up from 35mm to digital and haven’t stopped.  I joined this group to get ideas from other non pro’s like me and to expand my knowledge of photography.  I have found that there is a difference in taking pictures and making memories.  I hope to do both!


  • The rules are pretty simple:
  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org or #photochallenge2016.
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • The posted image should be a photograph, not a video.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2016 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.


About Steve Troletti

I'm a Location Scout, Editorial, Nature, Wildlife and Environmental Photographer based in Malibu, California. I specialize in Nature and Urban Nature photography including Infrared Landscapes. The Bulk of my work takes place in the Los Angeles, California area, Greater Montreal Region, Canada, Switzerland, France and Varese in Northern Italy. Ethical wildlife photography is the main priority and focus of my work. A minimum disturbance of the animals, their habitat and the environment is my top priority. This applies as much to total wilderness areas as it does to urban nature environments. Ongoing education of environmental issues and building awareness for the protection of wildlife and wilderness areas around the world is what drives me to document the beauty that surrounds us.