Storms and Sunflowers

The weather gods have not been kind to photography the past two weeks.  Here in souteastern North Carolina,  we’ve had a constant run of storms and torrential rain.  And when the sun did manage to show itself now and then, one had to be mindful not to venture too far off from shelter because it was a good bet that more nasty weather was coming.  I did manage to grab a few Sunflower shots which worked wonders for my cabin fever.  Van Gogh’s seem to be the sunflower of choice in these parts. Probably because they appear to be just about impervious to heat and storms.

I use Spot Metering a lot when photographing Sunflowers.  I take my reading from the center of the target flower.  That was the case in the above shot.  The light pulls the target to the eye and darkens the background.  This is an invaluable technique when the sun is behind your subject thereby putting it into the shadows.

With the contanstly changing light, I was constantly changing my settings.  Back to center weighted metering for the above shot which was with a Nikon D700 and a 60 MM Micro lens. Micro is Nikon Speak for Macro.


As for white balance, my usual practice is to set the camera on Cloudy and leave it.  Since I shoot everything in RAW, I have the option to change the white balance in the RAW Image conversion panel but more often than not, I just leave it on Cloudy. Perhaps the weather will lose its bad attitude by next week.  Thanks for the look and have a good week, rain or shine. See you next time.

Late Summer Sunflowers

These were planted in late July instead of late June which had been the normal practice here.  Other than extending the blooming season, it probably made little difference.  There’s no maintenance involved.  You plant the seeds and Mother Nature does the rest.  These Van Goghs lasted right on into September.  A nice lead-in to fall!  Thanks for looking and have a good week.  See you next time.

In the Fog at Sunrise

I do a lot of rural and farm photography.  For one thing, it’s where I am and for another, I’ve found a a bit of a market for it.  I’m often drawn by what is growing the fields.  I suppose cotton is the most photogenic of the crops grown in Eastern North Carolina with Tobacco running a distant second.  There’s just something magical about a big field of pure white cotton at dawn.   As for Tobacco, I find it quite photogenic when it begins to ripen and flower.  Soybeans have little appeal for me until their foliage begins to turn and the beans ripen to a golden brown. I seldom venture into a corn field except to photograph the stalks left in the field in the fall.  The less traditional crops here, Sunflowers, Peonies etc will always get my immediate and undivided attention.

Primarily though, I’m drawn by the weather and the sky condition at dawn.  A foggy morning will always find me in the field, regardless of what is growing there……even if it’s nothing but weeds

On this particular morning, I was blessed with an interesting sunrise, a healthy crop of tobacco and fog.

That’s tobacco on the left side of the service road, cotton to the right and in the far distance, field corn. The fog, which has begun to burn off, gives the colors a bit of a pop like that of a polarizer. I use no filters when shooting on a foggy morning.  I particularly avoid any haze filters and obviously have no need for a polarizer.  So next time you encounter a foggy morning out in the boonies, get up, get out there and grab a little magic.  Thanks for the visit. Have a good week. See you next time.

Photo of the Week: Standing Tall

Blogged 7/31/2016

A Van Gogh Variety Sunflower greets the sunrise in Eastern North Carolina.  Sunflowers appear to be almost immune to the stifling heat here.  The heat index has been well over 100 for nearly two week but there is not a sign of wilt in the sunflower field.  Wish that was true for us.  Stay Cool if you can and have a good week. Nikon D7100, 10-20mm lens.

Photo Of the Day: Prime Time

668.edited_edited-1  Our first crop of Sunflowers hit their prime over the weekend.  Our strategy to keep the deer away by planting field corn around the perimeter of the Sunflowers had mixed results.  The field pictured above did rather well with only a hand full of stems being gnawed off by the Deer. The second crop not as well.  It appears at least half of what we planted has been gobbled up with the field corn ears mostly intact.  A third field of sunflowers were  surrounded with Millet has done better than any of those encircled by corn, perhaps because the Millet is so thick its difficult for the little darlings to get through. Live and learn.

As for the shot, I used Shutter Priority with a shutter speed of 320 as it was quite windy out. ISO was cranked up to 600 because of the low light at dawn.  I used the auto white balance and camera vivid settings on the D3X which I changed to Cloudy and Camera Portrait in the RAW Conversion Panel.  D3X with an 18-35mm lens.   Have a Great Sunday evening.

Photo Of The Day: Timeless

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Big storms here yesterday and more are expected shortly but for about 10 minutes after sunrise this morning,  the beige clouds broke up to reveal patches of carolina blue.  It was a perfect background for sunflowers in the field.  Nikon D700/ 24mm lens. Thanks for the look and have a great evening.

Photo Of The Day: A Van Gogh In Early Light

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The breeze off the ocean is always marvelous here but it does create problems for me in early morning photography and such was the case this morning.   Keeping things sharp has been a challenge in situations like this so I changed my ways,  ditching Aperture Priority in favor of  Shutter Priority  and setting my shutter speed at 1/320. Its a good setting to use when in windy situations and at times when things are moving about like these sunflowers were doing this morning. The fast shutter freezes the action and keeps things quite sharp.  Of course in low light which is the norm in early morning shooting,  I find myself upping the ISO quite liberally sometimes.  This one came in at ISO 400 but occasionally, I’ve upped it to 800 with good results meaning very little if any noise.  A reminder of how far cameras have come in limiting noise.   My Nikon full framers allow me to set a shutter speed limit which helps a lot when one is preoccupied with the shot.  Might try it if you find yourself in similar situations.  It sure works for me.   Cheers everybody and have a great evening.

Nikon D600, 18-35mm lens.