If you had never seen one open before, who would think that this hairy little pod would open up to become such a cheerful orange flower? But that's one of the things I like about poppies: they start out as an almost alien-looking plant form pushing up through the ground in April, then continue their mysterious appearance by growing these strange buds on graceful--but equally hairy--stems that seem right out of Little Shop of Horrors. Then you come out one sunny morning in May and the garden is full beautiful orange or red blossoms. It's almost as if nature is testing your patience to see if you will be curious enough to wait for the May surprise. I photographed this one last year (on May 31st) and just noticed yesterday that this year's buds are beginning to look very similar. It pays to scout around the garden this time of year to see if you can find interesting shapes and forms before the flowers actually blossom. I shot this with a Nikon D90 (now discontinued, see yesterday's posting) with a 70-300mm Nikkor zoom and a close-up extension tube (not sure which size, probably 20mm) with existing light coming from behind the bud.
Exposure notes: Shot at ISO200, f/5.6 at 1/100 second in Shutter Priority mode, on a tripod. Capture in RAW.