Drawn to the sun

22 07 2008

I must confess that the sunflower fields at McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area were a bit overwhelming at first. It was so much to take in visually! After climbing a ladder we had brought (as did a dozen other photographers sharing the field with us) to get a sweeping overhead view, I lost my sense of direction (physically and photographically) for a moment (or two). Once I shot the overhead perspectives, I had to narrow down my field of view to concentrate on closeups of individual flowers. The sheer number of flowers and insects buzzing about made that a bit difficult! To give you an idea of the number of sunflowers in the main field (there are two separate areas), I’ll upload the panorama-like shot on a separate posting. These four below are some of my favorites culled from Saturday morning’s photo adventure.

The downside about this place (my personal opinion) is that it is a public hunting area, no permit required. Read more here in a Washington Post article about why the sunflowers are really grown.

I knew there was an association for virtually everything, but I just discovered there is one dedicated just to sunflowers—the National Sunflower Association, located in Bismarck, North Dakota. Sunflowers have become an important agricultural crop for U.S. producers.

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Ah Sunflower

Ah Sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun;
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller’s journey is done;

Where the youth pined away with desire,
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from their graves, and aspire
Where my Sunflower wishes to go!

William Blake (1757-1827)

Photos © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Blue Chicory

21 07 2008

Blue Chicory
It has made its way, on wind
far into the city, and it nods there,
on street corners, in what July wind
it slips garner. Since childhood
I have loved it, it is so violet-blue,
its root, its marrow, so interred,
prepared to suffer, impossible to move.
Weed, wildflower, grown waist-high
where it is no one’s responsibility
to mow, its blue-white
center frankly open
as an eye, it flaunts
its tender, living lingerie,
the purple hairs of its interior.
Women are weeds and weeds are women
I once heard a woman say.
Bloom where you are planted, said my mother.

Catherine Rankovic (reprinted with permission)

Learn more about Catherine here: http://www.catherinerankovic.com/

I photographed this tiny pastel-blue flower against a grand backdrop of sunny yellow sunflowers at McKee-Besher Wildlife Management Area in Poolesville, MD this past weekend. Here’s a map showing the location. Learn more about this wildflower’s history, growth habit and herbal use here.

Photograph © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens

20 07 2008

Bright and early this morning (too early), Michael and I headed out to photograph the sunflower fields at the McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area in Poolesville, MD, then headed over to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens to photograph the Lotus blossoms. We first learned about the sunflower fields from my friend Nanda, who went to see it after reading about it in the Washington Post here. We’ve gone the past two years and have gotten there either before the blooms appeared or too late in the day when they’re spent and facing downward. This year, thanks to advice via e-mail from fellow blogger and local photographer Patty Hankins, we finally got to photograph the flowers at their peak! (Patty shot some really beautiful images; you’ll see them on her blog). I’ll be posting the sunflower photos later.

After an hour and a half of photographing sunflowers, we headed to Kenilworth in Washington, D.C. And once again, we arrived during the Annual Waterlily Festival and the Lotus Asian Cultural Festival (I thought it was next weekend). Since it was later in the morning than we had expected to get there, it wasn’t the optimum time for photographing Lotus blossoms because of the harsh sunlight. Despite that, photographing the myriad dragonflies ended up making it well worth the trip anyway!

To see the Lotus blossom images I shot at Kenilworth in 2006 and 2007, click here and here.

Here’s an article from the Washington Post about this “oasis in the city.” If you’ve got the room (and the pond!) to grow these beautiful flowers, read these growing tips from Doug Green. And take a look at Patty Hankins’ Lotus blossom photos and glean some great photography tips on her blog here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.