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Morning Sunflowers at Burnside Farms
Photograph a wide variety of sunflowers in the morning light at Burnside Farms
Located an hour outside of DC in Nokesville, Virginia, Burnside Farms is a small, family-owned farm that plants 25 acres of sunflowers which bloom from the end of July to Labor Day. There are 30 varieties of sunflowers to photograph – yellow, variegated, red, white (yes, white!), large, small, and fancy, to name a few!
There are also flowerbeds of Zinnias, Cosmos, and Mexican Sunflowers which attract butterflies.
The safari will begin when the gates open at 9am, to take advantage of the morning light and (hopefully) the cooler temperatures! During the safari, we will concentrate on photographing sunflowers based on:
• location – in close proximity to other sunflowers or on its own; facing toward or away from the sun
• height – some are only 4 or 5 feet tall, others are 6 to 7 feet tall; and
• characteristics, such as a dark or light center, frilly or variegated petals
A mid-range zoom lens affords the greatest flexibility when photographing sunflowers. The minimum focusing distance will allow you to get fairly close to the sunflower, so that you can frame the whole sunflower, “zoom in” to capture details in the flowers, or “zoom out” to capture a wider view of the sunflower field. Macro lenses are also good for capturing details. A diffuser and reflector are also recommended. A flash can also be helpful for illuminating the center of a sunflower when shooting into the sun.
The instructor will also bring her crystal ball, so that interested Safarians can try creating unique images.
Since this is a cutting farm, you are permitted to walk through the rows of sunflowers as long as you are careful not to damage any of the plants. And, three sunflowers are included with the price of admission, which is included in the cost of the safari. Additional Sunflowers can be purchased for $1.50 per stem. Garden snips are available for use when you enter. If you plan on taking some sunflowers home, bring a container and water so that fhe flowers don’t wilt before you get them home.
Tripods are optional, since it can be challenging to set one up in the sunflower fields. The rows are fairly narrow, and the legs sometimes get tangled in vegetation.
Bring bug spray and water, since it gets hot in the fields!
Here is what one client had to say about a WPS safari: “Lots of patience for a beginner. The instructor took time to explain the basics for me and provide more stylistic advice to those more experienced in my group. I would do another tour in a heartbeat.” Devin T.
- Extra memory cards
- Extra charged battery
- Accessories such as filters, remote release
- Weather appropriate clothing
- Tripod optional
Meet at the entrance to Burnside Farms, 11008 Kettle Run Road, Nokesville, VA 20181
Sherryl is an award-winning photographer who lives in Northern Virginia. She started her love affair with photography over 43 years ago, when she bought her first SLR (film) camera – a Pentax K1000, and her boyfriend (now her husband of 40 years) who was studying Fine Art at George Washington University taught her the principles of photography. Over the years, she has continued to practice and fine-tune her skills as a photographer, although when her two sons were young, they were the subjects of the majority of her photos! As her sons grew older and she had more “free time”, she picked up her camera and started looking for a variety of subjects again. Her favorite types of photography are flower and nighttime (especially fireworks!).
She bought her first digital camera in late 2001, and her latest is a Panasonic Lumix G9, which is a mirrorless camera. About 8 years ago, she started going on
safaris with WPS and taking a variety of workshops, which has enabled her to learn new techniques and refine her ever-expanding skillset.