When I first returned to Oregon after being away for nearly 2 months, I couldn't wait to return to all the favorite places I'd missed. However, I didn't limit myself to just the familiar haunts - I also discovered some new sites to visit.
One such place was the sunflower field at nearby West Union Gardens. I'd never been there before, but my neighbor and photo-mentor Cherri had visited a couple weeks prior. Impressed by her photos of the sunny yellow blooms I just knew this was someplace I had to see for myself.
|Glorious yellow blooms|
West Union Gardens is a U-pick farm just west of Portland. I'd been there in prior years to pick berries, but didn't realize they grew flowers too. I discovered the garden property included a huge sunflower field that appeared to have been grown exclusively for the photo opportunities.
|Photo subjects abounded!|
Unlike other flower farms I'd visited, West Union Gardens only charged a nominal fee to photographers for the privilege of photographing their sunflowers. A half day pass even allowed for sunrise or sunset access. Of course I chose an early weekday morning for my sunflower experience.
|Someone etched a face in one of the flowers|
Well, I didn't quite make sunrise. As a matter of fact, it was well past 7 o'clock when I finally pulled into West Union Garden's driveway. But despite missing sunrise, I was still the only person at the sunflower field that morning.
|Seed heads starting to droop|
The sunflower field was huge! Rows upon rows of the sunny flowers towered overhead, the area a sea of yellow faces.
|Fat bird eating the seeds|
Peak bloom had already come and gone, but most of the sunflowers appeared to still be in good shape. A few droopy blooms were randomly scattered throughout, but they were easy enough to exclude from most of my frames.
|Yellow bird getting a snack|
|Iconic view of the field and an old barn|
|Extra large seed head|
|One more shot of that barn|
|I really liked the photos in the shade|
After an hour I began to notice huge flocks of birds descending upon the field. The bids perched themselves on the sunflower heads, pecking away at the seeds. These feathered friends knew a free meal when they saw one!
|Another bird in the flowers|
It wasn't easy! Those birds did not let me get very close. Once and awhile I was able to sneak up and catch one of them mid-snack.
|And a zinnia for variety|
|Smile, it's a sunny day!|