Wild Sunflowers

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.

 

 

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Sunflowers…

There is a je ne sais quoi about sunflowers, they have this ability to just make people smile, to cheer and brighten. They are found scattered all over, some are wild species, and others have been cultivated for agricultural and commercial purposes. They’re also favorites of pollinating species such as butterflies and bees. There’s always a challenge when working with bees in your shot, you either focus on the insect and lose sharpness in the flower, or focus on the flower and lose sharpness on the bee. Also due to their similar color schemes, there can be a lack of sufficient contrast, let alone the challenges brought by objects in motion, sometimes competing objects in motion especially on windy days. But no matter how careful you are, and respectful, sometimes you still have a bee decide to fly up your shirt sleeve and sting you under your arm. They say pain is art, and I suffered for these shots I took on Father’s Day, June 19, 2016.

Location, Location, Location…

Thanks to a tip I found this sunflower field in Waxahachie, Texas. I was mindful not to go onto private property nor jeopardize someone’s livelihood as these are commercially grown sunflowers. So I worked the verge along the road to take these shots.

The first field can be found along the Northbound service road of US-287 between FM-878 (Palmetto) and Meagan Street. Near the Showbiz Movie Theater in Waxahachie.

A few things of note, this main field of flowers are facing away from US-287, so its hard to get shots of the front of the flowers except along the sides. But, if from US-287 you travel within a mile down FM-878 there’s another, smaller field of these sunflowers along the right hand shoulder, and those you can walk around to get front facing shots of the flowers there. And just after that field maybe 100 yards or so down the road is a stone building once used by the local prison system sans roof, doors or windows and you might be able to get some interesting shots from the fence line of the abandoned building.