Bright and Happy Summer World

November 02, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Summer and flowers go hand in hand and while we're at the end of our colorful fall season let's take a trip back and enjoy some happy summer views. And what other flower says sun better than a sunflower? Let's fill the page with them!

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First thanks are in order to Sunflowers of Sanborn. Sure, if you're a professional photographer and get paid for shooting on their fields, you need to get a permit. However, if you're a hobbyist or fine art photographer that is not on a paid engagement you don't have to. And from what I have seen they are very generous towards photography. People take pictures of each other all over, selfies are flying through Instagram and other platforms, and yes, you will see a pro here and there on a mission.

Despite the fam being very popular and the parking lot being often filled there is enough space for the crowds to spread out even during these COVID times. If you come earlier in the day, there will be fewer people and vice versa.

So thank you, I have truly enjoyed photographing my family and sunflowers there, and our dining room table had a new centerpiece after the visit. This was a very refreshing experience to me as photographers are often frowned upon or hassled.

Orange and Yellow Sunflower, Sunflowers of Sanborn, New YorkOrange and Yellow SunflowerSunflowers of Sanborn

Orange and Yellow Sunflower, Sunflowers of Sanborn, New York
Photographed with a Mamiya 645 on Kodak Ektar 100 Color Negative Film

For this visit I decided to leave my trusty 35mm cameras behind and only used a single camera, the Mamiya 645 1000s with manual focus lenses. And I used a variety trying to cover both wide views as well as tighter close ups. The film of choice? I brought both color negative as well as positive transparency film. Today, I am sharing my photographs captured on Kodak Ektar 100, a film that should go well with bold colors. I will leave the judgement regarding how well it worked up to you. Aside for this roll I also left with a roll of Kodak Ektachrome E100.

A Single Orange Sunflower, Sunflowers of Sanborn, New YorkA Single Orange SunflowerSunflowers of Sanborn

A Single Orange Sunflower, Sunflowers of Sanborn, New York
Photographed with a Mamiya 645 on Kodak Ektar 100 Color Negative Film

For most of the photographs I wanted to use a very shallow depth of field, a very different approach from my usual landscape photography relying on a small aperture and hyperfocal distance. I really wanted to isolate individual flower heads and take advantage of the shallower depth of field inherent to medium format compared to 35mm.

Yellow Sunfower, Sunflowers of Sanborn, New YorkYellow SunfowerSunflowers of Sanborn

Yellow Sunflower, Sunflowers of Sanborn, New York
Photographed with a Mamiya 645 on Kodak Ektar 100 Color Negative Film

That, however, posed a focusing challenge with the fully manual system and my far from perfect sight. I took my time, focused carefully, and was happy that in the end the majority of the frames were properly focused. And yes, there were a few that did not make it.

Sunflower Profile, Sunflowers of Sanborn, New YorkSunflower ProfileSunflowers of Sanborn

Sunflower Profile, Sunflowers of Sanborn, New York
Photographed with a Mamiya 645 on Kodak Ektar 100 Color Negative Film

I failed to mention another great feature of this sunflower farm, which may have already become obvious from the included photographs. They grow a variety of sunflowers, which definitely help with the ultimate variety of photographs.

An Old Farm Truck, Sunflowers of Sanborn, New YorkAn Old Farm TruckSunflowers of Sanborn

An Old Farm Truck, Sunflowers of Sanborn, New York
Photographed with a Mamiya 645 on Kodak Ektar 100 Color Negative Film

Yes, there are other exciting props scattered through the farm. An old truck, a tractor or two, and even some old frames to frame your headshots with that are provided to people free of charge.

Have you heard that sunflowers follow the sun and turn their heads based on where the sun is? Well, not really. It's a bit of a myth and only partially true. Young sunflowers indeed turn their heads, however, at some point they stop and forever face east. As a result you may want to plan the time of day based on whether you want the sunflowers front or backlit or lit by the scorching noon sun. And your choices may be limited by the opening time of the farm you visit. Sunflowers of Sanborn did not open until 11 am in 2020 sunrise or the morning golden hour was not an easy option.

Tall Sunflower, Sunflowers of Sanborn, New YorkTall SunflowerSunflowers of Sanborn

Tall Sunflower, Sunflowers of Sanborn, New York
Photographed with a Mamiya 645 on Kodak Ektar 100 Color Negative Film

This was a very fun family visit and each of us had fun. And we left with some beautiful sunflowers as souvenirs and a way to say thank you. I will definitely be looking at more sunflower farms next year and hopefully return to Sanborn too.

Enjoy The Beauty That Surrounds You! #etbtsy

References: The Mystery Of Why Sunflowers Turn To Follow The Sun

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