Ah, Tuscany on a beautiful summer’s evening.. Oh no, wait! This isn’t one of the famous sunflower fields in Italy, or even France. This one was pretty much right on my doorstep in Reading. Who’d have thought!
Last weekend was a long one in the UK, with Monday being a “Bank Holiday”. Originally my genius idea was to go on a semi-spontaneous road trip to Devon and Cornwall, and take more photos of the land and the sea. My photographic default, if you like.
But quite honestly, I just could not face the hot temperatures (33 degrees is exceptionally hot for the UK), and the crowds which were both clogging up all roads leading to the seaside, and who, inevitably, would have been in the same locations I was thinking of visiting. Not exactly my idea of a relaxing weekend.
So I stayed at home and decided to get on with some editing, and maybe finally finishing next year’s calendar, so that I could send it off to the printer (one of my projects I’ve been stalling on for several weeks now).
I was, however, quietly annoyed with myself for not making the most of the beautiful weather to take some photos.
So when my friend messaged me to ask if I fancied to join her and another photography buddy to take pictures of a scruffy sunflower field nearby, I jumped at the opportunity. Hanging out with friends AND taking pictures? Excellent.
Obviously, when we arrived at the sunflower field a little later in the afternoon, laziness set in again. I was carrying all this photo gear on my back, but guess what.. I just couldn’t be asked to set up the tripod, or take out my filters. It was still too warm to move a muscle.
The field, despite most sunflowers already well past their prime, was looking pretty cool in the afternoon sunshine though, so I decided to take a stroll along the path to get inspired.
While I did like the general look of the field, and I was excited to have this so close to home, I initially didn’t really “see” many shots. On first glance, the view was littered with dead flower heads, grasses sticking out at all sorts of angles, fluffy seed heads of weeds, and the odd sunflower head that hadn’t even developed yet. A somewhat schizophrenic scene. It wasn’t unsightly, but it definitely presented a “framing challenge”.
It did take me a while to test out the best angles, and best lens to use, what to aim for in my photos, and how to incorporate the sun, which in the beginning was still slightly too high and bright to do anything but blow out the completely cloud-free sky into a white glare (a filter might have fixed that…d’oh). Going low seemed a good idea, so as seems to be normal for me, I then spent most of my time crouching on the ground (hello stinging nettles and other nasty spiky weeds..)
When the sun finally turned everything into a wonderfully warm shade of orange and yellow, I started to get really excited. It was the best time shoot back-lit flowers and grasses, narrow crops, and sunbursts through flower heads. My favourite shot was of the sun bursting through a perfectly intact two-tone sunflower head which my Facebook followers seemed to enjoy particularly as well. I also managed to catch some landscape-type shots tinged in gorgeous orange and yellow tones, and some vibrant low vantage point images which I think just ooze late summer feelings.
So after some initial hesitation, this turned out into a fantastic afternoon with great friend, great fun, and great photos. I’m so glad I came out to play for a bit.
If you like sunflowers and would like to see what I came back with from this impromptu outing (thank you Emma and Michelle!!), why not head over to the “Summer” folder on my website and check it out!
Did you know that all of my photos are available for sale as well?
Just hit the “Buy Prints” button on the website and choose a print format you like (poster, canvas, acrylic, aluminium – the possibilities are almost endless)