Photographing Sunflowers In Kansas

Mike Jensen Flowers, Kansas, Kansas City, Sunflowers

After returning from a trip to the Space Coast of Florida over Labor Day and then to visit family in Virginia, I was a bit late for the cattle call of “Come see the sunflowers NOW!” which echoed around the Kansas countryside as the sunflowers reached their 2-3 week bloom cycle.

The miles and miles and acres and acres of sunflowers blooming forever were gone.  I didn’t necessarily want to duplicate the images I’d seen online, but I wanted something “darn good” and something very unique.  Something nobody else in the area had.

I went out to a field (undisclosed location) for a sunset shoot.  The sunset was “just okay” but I knew I had a full moon rising over my shoulders to light the faces of the sunflowers in just a few hours.

Photographer Mike Jensen takes a “selfie” in the sunflower fields of Kansas.

I jumped in my truck and ate a sandwich with my wife and Mother in Law who had come along for the ride.

I was waiting for two things, the moon to rise, and the breeze to die.  There always seems to be a bit of a breeze at sundown and for my vision to work I needed no breeze at all.  I actually wanted some depth of field for a night shoot.  I needed it for this shot to be unique and to work.

As the sun progressed to sunset and moonrise I worked on some favorite techniques of mine, sunbursts and selective focus.  The sunbursts are created by changing your aperture to something on the high range from f18 to f22.  For this approach I pulled out my trusty Canon 16-35 lens and set it to f22.

The selective focus shot is actually three shots blended together.  Each is shot at f8 with the focus point being changed from flower to flower, and then blended together so the flowers in focus are all in focus and the background is blurred out.

The Money Shot

The shot I liked best and the shot which is making me the most money is one I’ve called Moon Over Sunflowers.  A composite image.  The foreground was shot at f8 for 1:15 minutes at ISO 1000 and the background was shot at f2.8 for 20 seconds at ISO 2000.

It’s rare to get a chance at a fine art landscape where you can expose the image for 1:15 minutes without any breeze or movement, but it actually happened for about 10 minutes that night!  Yippie!

So, there you have it!  This shot has sold in my gallery collection at Images Art Gallery in Overland Park, KS, as a post card, and online at MikeJensen.Photography.