Look For The Wow!
15 Nov 2008
My friend Mark at work came up to me one day and asked if I had seen the fields of sunflowers over on Oak Grove Rd. I looked at him a little stumped, then asked, what fields and where were they? Mark told me about two fields which were only a few miles from work. He said, the first field is only a few acres, but the second is sunflowers as far as the eye can see and they were almost in full bloom. "Wow", I said and that day I took a ride to see them. (Mark knew of my love for photography)
From the road Mark was right about both fields, the first was kind of small and it was too close to the road and houses. The second field got me excited as I went to park my truck, grab my camera and go out of a closer look.
Walking along these rows of six foot tall sunflowers I was thinking about the shot, or shots, all the while I was taking a few here and there. I was asking myself, "Where was the best shot? How could I best tell this story in a photo? Was the lighting going to be the best in the morning, noon or at sunset."
That night I got home from work and downloaded my treasure, closely examining each photo for that special clue to my questions earlier in the day.
My conclusions ended up on me doing at least two photo shoots and involved a wide angle lens, and trying to catch the field around noon and again in the evening for a couple back lit shots.
As I arrived for the noon shoot, the wide angle lens was truly a blessing and it brought more of the field into my view finder. My biggest question was where to shoot and how it would look with some different back drops of clouds.
My first question was answered by my walking out into the middle of the field and searching for an opening where I could work. This shoot was one of my best, I could tell because I could feel how excited I was and the photos showed it.
The second question was answered on another day, in almost the same spot. The clouds were a photo in themselves and I waited for some to pass and others to open up for the best light. This too was a good shoot.
Later that evening I went back, just in time to catch the late afternoon sun and although it was more dramatic, it didn't lend itself to the kind of photo I was looking for.
A few weeks later I went back, but I knew the sunflowers were about all done. Yes, they were not standing up smiling at me, but they had an attitude that I could relate to, and I had fun trying to capture the moment.
The main thing I learned was, don't be afraid to try something new! This is also one of the things that I like about JPG magazine, because they encourage us to do just that. Make sure your photo tells the story. Fill the fame. Try different lights. Take the photo again using different exposures and use some new piece of equipment that you are not used too.
Last but not least, look for the "Wow!" in your photos.