I’ve had the worst luck this year when it comes to my wildflower photography. I either miss peak bloom and arrive as the flowers have gone to seed, or the flowers have been mowed/harvested. I just missed most of the sunflowers in the Waxahachie to Ennis area in Texas by a couple of days this year. By the time I arrived the heat had doomed the agriculturally grown sunflowers into a drooping slump with the exception of a handful of blooms that were still upright. But at least the field had some wild sunflowers still thriving amongst the done for commercial cousins.
How can you tell the difference between wild sunflowers, and commercial ones? Easy: commercial ones have a flower that’s about the size of a human head, and wild ones are about the size of a human palm to hand.
These were taken in a multi-acre field adjacent to the Texas Motorway in Ennis, Texas on June 14, 2017.
Happy little bee.
This bee was dead, it had gotten tangled in a spiderweb, if you look carefully you can see some of the web’s filaments between the lower petals.
The Cleburne Camera Club’s 2017 Photo Contest and Exhibition Sale has an embarrassment of riches with striking photos from a range of photographers, including some very talented youth. And I’m not just saying that because I have 3 pieces in the show.
Awards were announced at the Opening Day reception on April 29th. The show runs through May 26th, and is free and open to the public for viewing from Monday – Saturday during 10am – 4pm daily at the JN Long Cultural Arts Complex located at 425 Granbury Street in Cleburne, Texas.
Quacked Up pair
I’ve been slowly recovering from a knee injury, which has suspended a great deal of my plans for wildflower photography this Spring. Unfortunately, I missed peak bloom down in the Ennis area, but I decided to go there today and try my luck hoping there be a few small vignettes I could work with. More than 95% of the Bluebonnets have gone to seed or have been overtaken by the grass. While there were a few lovely spots with primroses, they were in locations where there was no naturally flattering composition available at that spot. And fields of flowers don’t look like field of flowers unless you can compose them just right.
One of the spots I did have luck, was a small fenced in private pasture on Mach Road, the Bluebonnets there were thick, lush, and tall. If not at peak, they’re just a bit past peak and they were surrounded with some sprinklings of pink, yellow, and even a touch of white from some other wildflowers which intensified the blue of the bluebonnets themselves.
I was working on a composition, when suddenly I noticed a mule/donkey walking towards me. I was like, ok I can work with this. But that meant I was changing from a landscape shot, to a wildlife shot, so I switched out my camera lens accordingly. So I was trying to line up a shot testing my setting on my camera with the new lens, snapping some shots, when I noticed what I had captured. I was just photobombed by a pair of exhibitionists.
The perils of nature photography.
Photobombed by an exhibitionist pair.
This year I made Castroville, Texas a must-see destination for my annual wildflower photography road trip. This is colloquially known as the Castroville Poppy House (located at 606 Florence Street) which is a private residence, that during select days and hours in early Spring is open to the public. This labor of love by the homeowners, is a gorgeous spot to visit, and it’s a photographer’s dream as there are so many vignettes. They have some old structures on the property including buildings from the 1800s and 1940s.
Many of the locals go there for family photos with their kids, and others make appointments for shooting: brides, engagement, graduation, prom photos and more! The homeowners ask for nothing in return except donations to the local VFW and American Legion chapters. The homeowners even collect the seeds, and in addition to re-seeding their own property, to distribute to others in Castroville in their attempt to paint the town red. This year they were doing a World War II theme, so they even found an old 48 Star American Flag to fly tacked up to the old barn.
I loved shooting here, and only wish that I was able to hit this location under better lighting conditions. Afternoon sun on a cloudless day in Texas is very harsh and hard to work with, even with a UV filter and lens hood the grass and flowers aren’t quite true to what I saw, and trying to tweak it in post-editing hasn’t been incredibly successful for me without it looking incredibly fake.
Golden hour lighting here would be magical.
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe!
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high!
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
What has slowly become tradition is trekking across the Texas Hillcountry every Spring and Summer, in hopes of finding magical vistas, flora and fauna to snap in my viewfinder. On one of the legs of my recent photography trip, I got lost somewhere between San Saba, Cherokee, and Lampasas on April 6, 2017. So there I was in the Texas Hillcountry near sunset when I came across a large herd of deer. I caught this image of a very pregnant doe, and I adore the painterly effect of this photograph.
Great news! I’ll be represented in an upcoming show at the Grand Gallery inside the Grapevine Convention & Visitor’s Bureau (636 S Main Street in Grapevine, Texas) from
April 3 – May 6, 2017.
The exhibit culminates on the evening of May 6, which just so happens to be the GADA (Grapevine Art Dealers Association) Art Walk where multiple galleries are open with many artists present, and a number of demonstrations will be happening.
Stay tuned for more information!