Sunshine and Sunflowers
Updated: Jul 12, 2018
I received a tip from a neighbor of mine that a sunflower field in North County was due to bloom the first two weeks of July. One of my favorite items in nature to shoot, I was excited to pack up my gear and head north.
With my neighbor and her two girls in tow, we decided it would be a good day to take some family photos among the emerging sunflower fields at the Columbia Bottom Conservation Area. Sounded like a good idea at the time. Except for one minor detail...
It was hot. One of the hottest days of the year. It was dusty and the bumblebees were busy at work. With bugs and heat and dust and humidity, you're lucky to be able to survive yourself, let alone with guests, especially young guests. One of the true talents of any photographer is to put your subjects at ease so they can be captured in comfort. This was a tall order on this day, but like any shoot, the best conditions are a luxury and in this case the sunflowers made the schedule.
Kudos to the girls for being real troopers. They waited with patience while I set up and smiled despite the miserable conditions. Their mother drove us from field to field to find the area with the best flowers, all with no reservation, which truly helps you find the best opportunity for a shot to remember.
One of my favorite shots, besides those of my amazing models, was in the last field we visited. We didn't wade out for a session, it was too far through too much. I figured I would be pushing my luck if I asked every one to go on safari and bushwhack through the brush on this less than ideal day. So I broke out one of my favorite pieces of glass and shot from the road with my Nikkor 200-500mm zoom.
This photo reminds me of some of my favorite human beings, always willing to do whatever it takes to stand out from the crowd. This flower was just this type of person, standing above, going the extra mile to distinguish itself from the others.
On a technical note, I have to say processing the images wasn't the easiest. I had to eliminate a lot of glare, hotspots and bring up the shadows. I shot the afternoon with my flash to fill in the shadows, despite being in full sun with few clouds in the sky. But, there is always a way to shoot great photos despite Mother Nature deciding not to cooperate with the photographer and we did the best we could. Many thanks to the girls and their mom for being great sports, despite slowly melting under the hot July sun!
Enjoy the summer, put on plenty of sunscreen and stay hydrated. And remember, get out there and enjoy the sunshine!
Be good to yourself.