Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Maximilian sunflowers and feathery clouds

with 27 comments


Along State Park Road P31 south of Guadalupe River State Park on September 29th I stopped to photograph some Maximilian sunflowers (Helianthus maximiliani). The only way I could line up any of the tall plants against the array of feathery clouds overhead was to face toward the sun. Even with a lens hood on my wide-angle lens I had to hold one hand out in front of and above that lens to block the sun that was just above the frame in order to eliminate flare and polygons inside the frame. It was hit and miss, what with my left hand involuntarily moving as I held the camera in my right hand while the plant swayed back and forth in the breeze, so I took a bunch of pictures in the hope that at least a few would work well. The one shown here seems pretty good.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 9, 2016 at 5:00 AM

27 Responses

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  1. Really neat composition.


    October 9, 2016 at 5:54 AM

    • Those clouds were too dramatic to pass up. The tall Maximilians were the right subject to play off against them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 9, 2016 at 6:07 AM

  2. love the wonderful contrast against the clouds and sky!


    October 9, 2016 at 6:03 AM

  3. Beautiful – really captures that end of summer feeling.

  4. It is pretty, and it is good. With the clouds as warp and the flowers as woof, you’ve woven together a marvelous image.


    October 9, 2016 at 7:11 AM

  5. Very nice!


    October 9, 2016 at 7:16 AM

  6. Yep…you did get it. Some photos are very challenging to capture.

    Jim Ruebush

    October 9, 2016 at 7:36 AM

  7. Such a wonderful perspective on our world; sunflowers are a personal favorite.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    October 9, 2016 at 6:14 PM

    • I’m fond of them too, and we have three native species of Helianthus in Austin that I can play with photographically.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 9, 2016 at 6:34 PM

  8. That’s a great photo!


    October 9, 2016 at 11:08 PM

    • I was thankful for the opportunity to record such a dramatic scene, even while I had to contend with solar artifacts in the image.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 9, 2016 at 11:10 PM

  9. I haven’t yet had the camera out much on this trip, but I did find what I took to be a variety of sunflowers yesterday, and remembered your comment about holding up your hand to help shield the lens. I was able to prevent flaring with my hand, and it made clear the value of a lens hood. Another lesson learned.


    October 12, 2016 at 6:51 AM

  10. This photo was taken with such dexterity, I am sure you could easily manage this latest craze https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/shortcuts/2016/oct/11/can-you-master-the-no-hands-high-five-selfie


    October 13, 2016 at 5:00 AM

    • That’s a funny article. I’m gratified you think I have the dexterity to do a high-five selfie. I used to be able to stack pennies on an upraised elbow and then catch them in midair as they fell. Will there ever be an end to wondrous feats?

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 13, 2016 at 7:12 AM

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