There Must Be Magic

By GirlWithACamera

Among the Sunflowers

A week or two ago, as we drove past our local fruit farm, I noticed a stand of sunflowers, with golden heads lined up all in a row. I made a mental note to myself to go back and check it out, and on this day, I did!

We were running some errands in one of the older cars, driving around some backroads, when I said to my husband, "Hey, remember those sunflowers. . . . One of these days, I need to stop and see them, but it doesn't have to be today."

In short order, we were stopped by the field of sunflowers and I was dumped out unceremoniously onto the road with my camera. I hopped to it, and took as many pictures as I could in the 10 minutes or so that I had between errands (which turns out to have been about 69 shots, and I had to change memory cards in between).

Conditions were good. It was sunny, and the sky was blue with puffy little white clouds. But I was surprised at first by how confusing it felt. I recall standing by the lily pond at the Arboretum one day, when a woman next to me watched me zooming in, taking photos, and she asked me a very, very basic question about photography: how I decided what to focus on, how I decided what to include in my shot. I was surprised at how difficult it was to articulate all of what goes on in my brain around THAT very basic act!

I realized suddenly that I have mostly photographed sunflowers from outside the field they are in. In this case, I was standing among the sunflowers, trying to figure out what exactly to focus on! It was like living inside a snow globe trying to understand the snow.

There were birds and bees and butterflies enjoying the sunflowers, and so I did some shots of those. Critter-fest at the sunflower patch! I made pictures of big long lines of sunflowers. I photographed the two rows of smaller, colorful flowers that I later identified as zinnias. I photographed the sunflowers against the August sky.

I shot the sunflowers from the front. I shot them from the back. I did partial sunflower shots. I did single sunflower shots. I did group portraits. I lifted my camera angle up, shot sunflowers against the buildings of the fruit farm.

In short, I guess, when you don't know what to do, try everything you can think of! Here's another sunflower post from a few years ago with some tips and ideas for my fellow sunflower lovers. August and September is their time to shine!

The soundtrack song is The Doors, with Waiting for the Sun.

Bonus: more sunflower pics here.

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