Wow! Does this look like a huge, expansive field of wildflowers stretching to the horizon or what?!
Well, it’s not. In fact, this wildflower field is about the size of a convenience store parking lot and is framed by unattractive metal-walled buildings on one side and a nondescript two lane country road on the other. And this is precisely one of the reasons that I love photography!…because it allows you to selectively focus on the beauty in our world. If you live in Central Florida, today’s brief little blog will let you know where this spot is and how to get a similar shot but if you live anywhere else, I hope to inspire you to take advantage of a camera’s ability to block out the unimportant, unattractive and unnecessary.
Central Florida had a very wet May and it resulted in an explosion of spring wildflowers that was impressive enough to even get a notice in the local newspaper. Unfortunately, the article didn’t tell me exactly where the fields were and an Internet search came up with zip. Luckily, I was on an errand earlier this week up in Leesburg and met a guy who told me that there were some fields on the east side of Plymouth-Sorrento Road between SR46 and Kelly Park Road (see map).
Well, I was incredibly unimpressed when I drove by. Yes, the flowers were gorgeous, but the fields were actually little more than a 500′ strip between the road and a couple non-descript metal buildings. But heck, I was there, I had my camera…and the light was wonderful (it was slightly overcast, so the sunlight was uniform and the sky on the horizon was dark due to a storm had just passed thru).
Now, this blog isn’t meant to be a wildflower how-to clinic, but here are some quick pointers:
- Bring a tripod! You will need long exposures to maximize your depth of field. If you don’t have a tripod, set your lens to Vibration Reduction (VR).
- Set your camera on a high aperture (say f22 or so). Most lenses loose some sharpness at their maximum apertures, so you might want to back down a stop or two from your lens’s highest aperture rating.
- Keep your ISO as low as you can to maximize sharpness
- Use your Live View to get your focus perfect.
- If you have a neutral density filter handy, it will help hide the horizon, which isn’t overly attractive. You could also do this in post-production in photoshop with the graduated filter.
- Come early in the morning or late in the day when there is likely to be little wind.
- The fields look like they might well be on private property (they are right in front of a couple plant nursery businesses). I wouldn’t show up during business hours out of consideration for the owners (besides, the light is better before or after work hours).
- If you can be there right after a rain shower, it will perk up the flowers and intensify the colors.
Now, I am positive there are better locations out there than this one. If you know of one, please let me know and I’ll share that info thru this blog with other local photo buffs. After all, it is a long time until we will be able to photograph the Lake Jesup sunflower fields in October!
Okay, so that’s it for this modest little blog. FYI…I am working on a detailed how-to article on photographing hummingbirds. Hope to publish it within a couple weeks…stay tuned!
PS: I found a couple sources on the Internet that you might find helpful. This website details local wildflower locations and this facebook page for the Florida Wildflower Foundation has good info and input from their members as well.
Central Florida wildflower locations