The Draper Wildlife Management Area in York County, South Carolina is managed by the state’s Department of Natural Resources as a small game hunting area. But in the summer, they plant large tracts of sunflowers and corn, knowing it will attract game later in the year. In the summer, however, it attracts photographers. They come to shoot flowers, and families, and brides, and pets. That’s why I often prefer visiting sunflower fields early in the day, before the crowds show up.
I was planning my annual trip to Draper, reading the reports of others who had been watching it for the peak sunflower weeks. (They are beautiful when they bloom, but the show is over quickly.) Early in the week of my first intended visit, I was in Camden, South Carolina. On my way out of town I was surprised by the sight of a large field of sunflowers warming under the late morning sun.
I pulled over and spent more than a few minutes there. Let me be clear. I never entered the field. I took only a long lens, which allowed me to continue to work at more detailed shots, focusing on one bloom or detail at a time. In sense, it was a continuation of the thought I shared in my last post. So, by walking along the edge of the field, with the sun high over my back I was able to capture what I wanted to; especially when a Swallowtail butterfly was kind enough to “pose” for a few minutes.
That morning outside Camden was hot, and bright, and – in some sense – hurried. Even now when I look at the images that I shot there, I have that sense. The morning at Draper was just the oposite. The sun was just breaking over the horizon and then the tree line. The temperature was still cool. After thirty minutes of solitude, another quiet photographer entered the field. A third came just as I was leaving. It was a peaceful morning, sharing the company of caterpillars and moths, as you will see in the images below.
Hovering over each of the images will give you information about that photo. Clicking will enlarge them.
The sunflowers are gone now. At least here. But I’m going to continue working on flowers and other macro subjects. I am enjoying the challenge of making some sense out of the smaller details.
I hope you enjoy seeing them, too. Of course, if you would like to accompany me to the fields next year, either for a portrait session or just to shoot, let me know.
All photos are available for prints.