Acres of Sunflowers
What’s more emblematic of high summer than a sunflower in bloom? Acres of them.
A couple of summers ago, a camera club colleague of mine shared a photograph with the club that stunned us. A panorama, it showed lines of sunflowers, stretching for miles, and it hadn’t been taken in Tuscany. Instead, the location was within driving distance in our own county – the McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area in Poolesville, Maryland. Seems that every year, the county plants acres of sunflowers to lure doves for hunting season (kind of sad, actually, at least in my book), which appear after the flowers are mowed down in September.
I’ve been out to the fields three summers running, including last weekend. Photographing the flowers takes sensitivity to light conditions and exposure, and has given me an appreciation for what a difference the sky and light can make in the success or failure (so to speak) of my images. The photo at top, for example, was taken on this year’s trip. I was there at first light but because the sky was hazy, I had to work very hard in processing the image to bring out any color in the sky at all, and brighten the yellows of the sunflowers. So for the most part, I stuck to images that didn’t show the sky, like this one.
Last year’s photos are probably the best of the lot. Amazingly blue sky with puffy clouds set off the color of the flowers perfectly, and they were taller than this year, so I had to shoot upwards (not having thought to bring a ladder).
I also got a few images without the sky, like this one that reminds me of a mother and child duo:
The sunflowers are planted in rows that run north-south but their heads turn towards the sun.
Here are my two favorite images from the 2009 trip, one cropped from the other.
One of the things I do with my photography is to make blank note cards, which I sell or give to friends. Here’s an image I’ve used in a “pano” card, from 2008:
The sunflower is the state flower of Kansas. It’s also practical, tough – and beautiful in bloom. I don’t grow them in my garden, but I’m glad the county makes up for that lack of foresight on my part. Some day, I hope to make it to Tuscany to photograph them there, but until then, I can always find them just up a county road.
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And now, it’s time to announce the winner of the custom header design I offered several weeks ago. My son Adam chose the following piece of paper, from the four entrants, and here’s the winning slip:
Congratulations to Jean of Jean’s Garden. I’ll be in touch with her to start work on the design soon. Thanks to everyone who entered!Explore posts in the same categories: landscape, photography comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.