This weekend will be filled with floral photography workshops, first with Lotus blossoms at Kenilworth Gardens, and then the following day Sunflowers at McKee Beshers Wildlife Management Area.
Preparation is always essential in photography and even more so when I’m leading people on a photo field trip. So earlier in the week I spent the time to visit each location to spend time getting my own captures and to get a lay of the land. McKee Beshers Wildlife Management Area is set along the Potomac River in Poolesville and is a very popular place for visitors to get beautiful images of sweeping fields of sunflowers.
The sunflower fields are planted for wildlife management and provide essential sunflower seeds for a number of bird species. Once again, an o-dark-thirty departure lead me to the sunflowers fields just as the sun was coming over the horizon. After a few wide sweeping landscape perspectives I began working closer in and enjoying the sunny faces from a variety of ways.
It was hot, it was buggy and somehow I wasn’t finding my mojo. It happens sometimes, but I had driven a long way to get there and I had a creative kit bag that I brought with me. So after visiting with some friends for a bit, I had to get myself to focus and buckle down and work on getting some images.
Part of my preparation was having an idea of what types of images I wanted to obtain and it gave me a method to my madness while carefully walking through the sunflower fields so as to not disturb the flowers. I looked at the light and worked on back lighting and front lighting.
With this series I was going with a more ethereal effect and I tried a variety of methods to achieve this method. Tiffen offers a variety of diffusing filters, and I found a warming center spot on on Amazon. I also used an old Hollywood trick and pulled out my dual UV stacked filters with Vaseline spread on one of them. I also used the technique of ‘shooting through’ by placing a sunflower in front of another and focusing on the one further away.
Of course, the pollinators were out in full force and I can spend all day chasing them around capturing them while they collect pollen.
Finally, Sunflowers are a great subject to utilize the in-camera multiple exposure option I mentioned in my previous post. It was a couple of years ago when I was introduced to this in-camera feature by Denise Ippolito, but had never put it into practice. So at last I had a chance to do so with the sunflowers. A tripod is essential and it really helps to have a lens that works with a tripod collar. With the Canon 5D Mark IV, the Live View allows you to see how the sequential image will look on the previous one(s).
Such fun to play in a sunflower field. If only everyone could enjoy it as I have this week.