The Peridot Mesa in Arizona currently looks like a scene right of out the movie The Wizard of Oz. There’s currently thousands of Mexican Poppy Blooms in the area. Fields and fields of golden wildflowers fill the area. Odds are you will also see some lupine along with desert chicory and globemallow scattered in the area as well.
Peridot is located near Globe, Arizona. About 18 miles east of it, near mile marker 268. You will see a pullout, most likely with other cars. If it’s poppy season, there is no doubt you will see the golden fields from a few miles away as you approach. You will need a pass to access the area, as it is on San Carlos Indian Reservation. You can grab the pass online if you are planning the trip out from San Carlos Apache Tribe. If you are in the area and traveling near Globe, there is a Circle K that sells the permits as well. The address to this Circle K is 2011 US-70, Globe, Arizona 85501.
After entering the dirt trail, you will drive down about .5 miles and can park along the side. The area is short for driving but can present a bit of walking as you roam about each side of the dirt road and head up and down the hills.
If you’re going to head to the Peridot Mesa, you might as well be as prepared as possible. I shot with an assortment of lenses on this day including a 14mm, telephoto, wide angle 18-35mm, 50mm. My favorite lens for the location ended up being my Sigma 150mm macro. There were tons of opportunities for intimate macro photography. If it’s windy, makes sure you have a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the flowers in your shot.
A tripod will be handy for things like long exposures (clouds perhaps?) and focus stacking. A tripod never hurts anyhow! A polarizer/ND filter will also come in handy, though on this day, I didn’t use mine. You can easily spend a few hours here so make sure that your batteries are fully charged. I also did most of my shooting with my exposure compensation set to underexpose everything a full stop down. It’s plenty bright out there, and it was not a problem get my final pieces where I wanted them. It can be easy to blow the highlights out on the orange poppies, and this helps prevent that.
Play with depth of field if you have an aperture that goes wide. It’s a great way to isolate a shot and not distract from the focal points on your image. By the time the poppies are around, that means the sun is as well, so bring some sunscreen. This is an excellent area to pack a lunch and have a nice sandwich amongst the wildflowers. You can even bring a book to read. You don’t need a camera either, just come along for the visuals and soak the nature in!
Do be careful and try to avoid stepping on the flowers and above all leave no trace! We all want to preserve the area for generations to come, so let’s all do our part and not leave any traces that we were there. Take nothing but some memories, and well, of course, some great photos!
I’ll have a video of the area you can check out soon so watch for that!