Tuesday, August 22, 2017


The Pope Farm Conservancy includes 105 acres of beautiful land in the Town of Middleton, about 15 miles west of Madison, Wisconsin.  Some 13 years ago the land was permanently set aside as a nature conservancy open to the public.  It is most notable for the approximately 10 acres of the property planted each year in sunflowers.  The flowers generally peak in August, giving the public a chance to view the spectacle of a field of some half million sunflowers in full bloom.

Alerted to the sunflower display by good friends, I managed to get to the conservancy on Sunday, August 20, the final morning of the sunflower display.  The conservancy is over 100 miles from home, and I realized that I would not be able to photograph the sunflowers in the evening, so I drove over to the conservancy early Sunday morning, leaving home a little after 5 a.m.  As it turned out, that got me there perhaps an hour later than I should have to take advantage of the best light.  Even so, the flowers were spectacular.

When I arrived at 6:45 a.m. the parking lot was filled with cars and there were literally dozens of others there armed with their cameras.  Many had tripods and a few had brought ladders to get above the level of the sunflowers, many of which stood more than six feet tall.

Here is some of what I got.  First, was a path up a hill toward the field of flowers that was bordered by a stone wall of some age.

I generally liked the composition of this shot, even though the light by this time left a lot to be desired.  There was also the wire and stakes along the wall to keep people from climbing on the wall. Still, I was happy with my new lens for this shot which shows good depth of field from the grass and path at my feet to the tree in the distance.

And then there was the field of sunflowers.

Without having significant elevation above the field, it is difficult to capture the field.  This shot was OK, I thought.  And in the following shot I wanted to fill the image with flowers to give a sense of the mass of flowers.

I also focused on individual flowers, as in the following shots.

One thing I learned is that, though immature sunflowers are heliotropic and will follow the path of the sun during the course of the day, mature flowers virtually all permanently face east.  Since this was morning all of the flowers were facing the morning sun.  So I took a couple of shots of the sides and backs of flowers in an attempt to capture the yellow petals being backlit.

Finally, is a closeup shot of the front of one of the more prominent specimens, a shot that I liked for its compositional value.


1 comment:

  1. I saw these pictures on FB too. They are outstanding