For the last few years, a late July trip to see sunflowers is on the calendar. This year, our 2020 visit to McKee Beshers Wildlife Management Area was special for more than a few reasons. Firstly, it was an early birthday celebration for my mom. Since she has embraced new technology with her digital camera and her smartphone, a full sunflower field is almost overload for photo subjects.
Secondly, I wanted to stretch some photography muscles of my own. Although it was hot, humid with plenty of bugs flying around, I still took some time to try all kinds of tricks. Maybe some of these will come in handy with some future projects. Overall, my favorite with the sunsetting flowers was just taking the flash off the camera and firing it at different angles. At this time there was an interesting sky as the sun set and the light changed into night.
For some reason, I was attracted to some different images. Of course, the blooms were the highlights, but I was attracted to some other discoveries in the field. I really enjoyed the sunflowers that did not pop out – they looked completely different the others, but had a great firework look all their own. Concurrently a view from the ‘back’ of the sunflowers evoked the look from the back of a church. It was as if all the flowers were praying to an altar facing away from me.
Finally, we parked the car across the sunflower field. Since we had stayed until after sunset, we waited for a chance to look up for the next nature show. Above the horizon was the newly discovered comet, NEOWISE. From what I had seen from some talented photographers online, this is worth the effort to see! We had binoculars, and apps to help us locate the comet in the sky. Above all, I am truthful in my thoughts on my little blog. I did not actually see the comet in all its detail with my bare eyes. I really needed the cameras and binoculars to get a glimpse. When it came into focus, it was worth the wait!
It was 2017 since we have visited the McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area. Although we have this on the calendar every year, there are some obstacles to going every year. Firstly, the sunflowers are planted so that they bloom around the hottest time of the year. Additionally, the middle of summer has been busy with other photography projects. This year, however, I am much slower on photography project. So maybe this will be the time to go back.
Thinking of visiting the fields, this would be a great way to social distance! Surely the weather will not be forgiving. It is already hazy, hot, and humid as per usual in this area.
Also looking at these photos, we were very lucky with the day we visited. At this time, I only had my phone with me. Given that this was a spontaneous decision to visit, I will plan better if we got this year. Undoubtedly I’ll bring one of my proper cameras and experiment with some ideas I am previsualizing. To be sure I’ll have the website on a shortlist to visit daily until the flowers are ready. If anyone would like to collaborate on some photos, let’s plan to meet out there!
During our daily walk, I wanted to test water long exposure images since we have a large creek in the neighborhood. In addition to practicing, this more casual photography helps my planning and pre-visualizing skills. When I made some images low to a running creek, I started planning on another shoot with different gear and conditions.
In the light of this first example, I knew that I was there at the wrong time. Now that there was some strong sunlight coming through the trees, it would be difficult to get a long exposure of the flowing water. To get what I needed I would have to come back on a different day. Specifically, I would need a time when the light was not as strong. With this in mind, I waited until an overcast / rainy day to try again.
Water Long Exposure
Subsequently, I brought out the tripod and planned to set it with longer exposures in mind. For what I was planning hand-holding the camera would not be an option. For these, I think it was successful. However, I already have some ideas to make them even better. Just waiting for another rainy day!