Monthly Archives: August 2014

A Billion Sunflowers

sunflower,sunset,denver,colorado

A Billion Sunflowers : Prints Available

Endless flowers and glowing skies at sunset.

*REVISED, AUG 2017: NOTE: I am no longer giving out information on the location of this field, so please do not contact me asking for the “exact location of this field” unless you are 1) purchasing something or 2) have a life-saving need for it. I have received over 140 (one hundred and forty) emails from people asking for this information and I no longer have time to respond individually anymore. It is somewhat annoying to get these requests when I have spent many thousands of dollars getting these images, and get very few sales in return to compensate for these efforts. These photos were taken in 2014 and I have no idea if the field even exists at this point; crops are frequently rotated so it easily could be wheat this year and not sunflowers. If you are interested in photographing sunflowers, do what I did and drive around in locations known to have fields, do some exploring and even if you don’t find this exact field, you will surely enrich your life by discovering something equally beautiful in this beautiful country. Good luck!

I was planning on going to the mountains on my days off this week–but then I spotted a photo on Facebook by my friend Todd Caudle of a humongous sunflower field. I knew I had to check this field out, so I immediately called him to find out where I had to drive. There are numerous sunflower fields in northeast Colorado, but this particular field is not only humongous, it is relatively undisturbed by buildings, roads, and power lines, and it sits on a slight hill so the full extent of the field can be seen from the road. The size and accessibility sets it apart from other fields I’ve seen. So, I headed up in the afternoon after checking the weather charts; it looked like a storm would form just east of the field as sunset approaches. When I got to the field, there was one other photographer, Mike Renner, already set up to shoot the field. Another half-dozen photographers showed up, but Mike and I were the only ones to stay in this particular location and wait out the storms for sunset.

sunflower,field,denver,colorado

Flower Power : Prints Available

Layers of flowers in a huge sunflower field.

I spent the next three hours or so scouting and shooting this one gigantic field. I drove up one farm road as far as my car would go, then back-tracked to the original location which had the advantage of sitting up on a slight hill overlooking the field. The light was constantly changing as storm clouds tried to organize south and west of the field.

Rays and Field : Prints Available

Crepuscular rays.

Forever Field : Prints Available

Flowers seem to go on forever looking west.

sunflower,field,sun dog,denver,colorado

Sun Dog and Sunflowers : Prints Available

Sun dog in late afternoon at sunflower field.

About an hour into my shoot, a storm started building to our south. It was the storm I expected to develop, but it was a little closer to my location than I anticipated. As thunder started to build in frequency, the other photographers left as Mike and I continued to test various angles on the field.

sunflower,field,storm

Sunflower Storm : Prints Available

Thunderstorm builds on the edge of a sunflower field.

The rain started falling, and as I looked east it looked like the sun might briefly dip below the clouds, so I set up in anticipation of a rainbow. As the rain got heavier, a couple rainbows did briefly appear, but they quickly disappeared as the rain picked up in intensity. I was soaked!

Rainbow 1 : Prints Available

A rainbow appears briefly before heavy rain.

Rainbow 2 : Prints Available

A second rainbow.

As the storm moved away to the east, a few lightning flashes appeared but they were few and far between. I set my sights to the east, as the sun dipped lower on the horizon. With sunset getting closer, the textures and colors in the sky became more intense.

Textured Skies : Prints Available

It looked like sunset might be a bust as the sun dipped below some gray clouds hanging on the horizon. But you never know with sunsets; colors can explode when moments before everything looks gloomy. This one did not disappoint as the horizon began to glow red. I took out my telephoto lens to concentrate on the endless rows of flowers against the glowing horizon. It was a great afternoon!

sunflower,field,sunset,denver,colorado

Field on Fire : Prints Available

Sunflower field at sunset.

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Monsoon Dunes

Great Sand Dunes,panorama,sunset

Monsoon Panorama : Prints Available

Overlooking the Dunes as sunset approaches.

Every August, I hit the Great Sand Dunes National Park to photograph the sunflowers and dunes in that light that comes every year in late summer, monsoon light. There’s nothing quite like the dunes when sunlight is dancing in between storm clouds. The light, colors, and shapes are always changing and there’s always something new and exciting to photograph.

Even before I got to the park, the mix of wildflowers on the side of the road–sunflowers and aster–was too much to resist and I pulled over to take a few shots of the distant dune field and flowers.

Roadside Attraction : Prints Available

Aster and sunflowers.

My initial plan was to look for some sunflowers, so I started hiking up towards High Dune. About two thirds of the way up the dunes, a monsoonal shower hit and I had to stay put as I got pelted by biting rain and wind-driven sand. When the worst of the storm had passes, I turned around to find a rainbow framing the Sangre De Cristo Range to the east.

Western Colors : Prints Available

Rainbow looking west to the Sangres.

The storm had chased most of the visitors from the dunes, and since I had not hiked to the top of High Dunes in a while, I decided to continue hiking to the top. I was joined by a family vacationing from Germany, and later a group of young guys who were driving cross-country. There were plenty of scenes to photograph from the high point at the top of the dune field!

August Rays : Prints Available

Hazy Dune Day : Prints Available

monsoon,Great Sand Dunes,Colorado

Monsoon Vista : Prints Available

Great light from the August monsoon.

storm,Great Sand Dunes,Colorado

Light and Curves : Prints Available

Storm light on the dune field.

Great Sand Dunes,Colorado

Alien Landing : Prints Available

Odd curves and light from the top of High Dune.

Great Sand Dunes,Colorado,High Dune.sunset

Monsoonal Ballet : Prints Available

Sunset light filters through distant storms from the top of High Dune.

Touched by Light : Prints Available

Great Sand Dunes,Colorado,Medano Creek

Medano Ripples : Prints Available

Crazy shapes and colors looking down on the dunes and Medano Creek.

Great Sand Dunes,Colorado,High Dune,storm

Monsoon Peak : Prints Available

Storm light from the top of High Dune.

Great Sand Dunes,High Dune

Monsoon in Black and White : Prints Available

Dramatic light approaching the top of High Dune.

Top of the World : Prints Available

There wasn’t much color at sunset, as the sun dipped below a bank of clouds hanging over the distant peaks of the San Juans, but I couldn’t complain after being treated to such a great display of light from the top of the dunes!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment