A Sunny Day


It is a sunny day today. In fact thousands and thousands of sunny faces greeted me in the morning.

I had heard that the sunflower fields in Jarrettsville, Maryland were in full bloom this week. I had passed by the empty fields several months ago and the fields go as far as the eye can see. There was no way I was going to miss this opportunity to spend the early morning with such glorious blooms.

Starting at five in the morning, I drove an hour to the dark fields. The locals at the nearby Royal Farms were extremely friendly and greeted me good morning when I went in for some coffee. It was as if I had stepped into the past when people were kind to each other and knew each other’s name.

In the car, I had packed nearly all of my lenses except my 500mm, which I had a hard time leaving at home. But in the bag I had all of the tricks. Focal ranges included a Canon wide angle 16-25, 24-105mm, 100mm Macro, and the 180mm Macro. In my pocket was the iPhone 6 with the Lensbaby Creative Mobile Kit.


I started first with the wide angle perspectives, showing the field in her yellow finery. All pristine and dewy from the morn. Then it was time to bring out the newly acquired Canon 180mm Macro lens. I had learned a few new creative in-field types from Kathleen Clemmons. The first being this – Purchasing two cheap UV filters, I added a small bit of Vaseline around the perimeter of one of the filters, and added the second one to keep things clean.

It created a softened look around the sunflower, but I realize that I need a larger clean area in the center of the filter. But certainly fun to play with and I’ll be using this technique again. Actually, using Vaseline is an old Hollywood trick used to soften the portrait images of movie stars.


The next trick was to wrap some yellow tulle around the lens hood of the Canon 180mm macro lens and pulling it over the lens glass, leaving a small opening. This also creates a softened look around the flower and can lead to countless creative options.


Continuing on, I left the lens ‘as is’ and began chasing a beautiful and shy Monarch in the field.


The Lensbaby was tremendous fun and I’m going to be posting more images from my iPhone on my Instagram page. It would be awesome if you join me there, so click through for a follow.

Hopefully this leaves you a bit inspired, and quite cheerful.

21 replies »

  1. What absolutely STUNNING captures Emily, I’m very intrigued with all the techniques you’ve used. I {vaguely} remember running through fields of sunflowers in Southern France one summer when the bus taking us to Pamplona broke down. The flowers were taller then me, simply glorious!

    • Thanks Joanne ! They call those techniques “Soft Focus” and evidently aren’t a super secret. The UV filters is really fun and I’m getting better using the tulle fabric. I went to the fabric store and bought several different colors. The length I got was 3/4 of a yard.

      Your story of the sunflowers in Southern France is so amazing. I think of Van Gogh. 🙂

  2. What beautiful smiling faces. Such lovely images Emily and the epitome of happiness and sunshine. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous efforts. 🙂

  3. Sunflowers! Aren’t they just the happiest of flowers, enough to make your heart sing! No wonder Van Gogh was so enamoured with them. Great shots, Emily! 🌻🌻🌻

  4. I wish I could take wonderful shots as you always seem to! I also wish that I had seen a beautiful field of sunflowers like this, but we don’t have anything remotely related to the sun here in England! They will never cease to remind me of Van Gogh!

    • Isn’t that interesting that you don’t have fields like this in England? Not enough sun perhaps? I’ve spent the past 7 years intensively shooting, so it’s a work in progress. Thank you so much for your wonderful comment.

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