For the past several weeks, I’ve enjoyed the sunflower plantings on my route to work each day. Last week I decided to stop and capture these wonderful flowers in their morning glory. This post, and the next, feature several different visual approaches along with some very interesting tidbits about the common sunflower (Helianthus annuus).
Each plant will typically bears one or more large, wide flower heads (capitula). The flower head is actually a compound flower. The outside consist of bright yellow ray florets, while the inside disc contains yellow orange disc florets. In the photo above and below, you can see at the center, the zone of unopened disc floret buds. Just outside the unopened zone, you can see the next zone of new disc florets in their male pollen phase. Here is where the bumble bees are most active. After a few days, the disc florets enter their female phase. They extend in the third zone out to the edges of the flower disk.
When the flower blooms, all the disc florets are unopened, tiny buds. The disc florets first open in their male phase on the outside of the disc. Over several days, the male phase disc florets seem to move as a wave towards the disc center. During the growing period, sunflowers will tilt during the day to track the sun. As the flower begins to bloom, this tracking will stop. Once the flower matures, they will generally face the east. I was amazed when I read about this. My route to work runs from east to west; so I really noticed these east facing flowers in the morning as I traveled west.
One of the most fascinating features of the sunflower is the method in which the disc head uses to disperse disc florets. From the center of the disc, a mathematically brilliant spiral technique packs the maximum number of disc floret buds across the surface area of the disc head. This spiral is known as the Fibonacci Spiral, which in turn is based on the Fibonacci Sequence. I wrote about this in my An Elegant, Intelligent Designpost. Perhaps I’ll discuss it in more detail in the second part of this post.
This series was shot with my Nikon 28mm – 300mm lens, using manual focus. Several times, I had to slightly lean back when I reached the minimum close up focus point. Perhaps I’ll try renting a macro lens in the future. I appreciate you stopping by today. For the best viewing experience, click on an image to see a high resolution version.
The east end of Ocean Isle Beach remains undeveloped and retains much of the characteristics of a southeastern US barrier island. This seascape is forever changing, and each time I visit, there is some new to discover . Below is a view of a tidal pool looking from the Intracostal Waterway side of the island back towards the seaward side.
Below is a sunrise view looking east towards Holden Beach, another North Carolina barrier island.
Thanks for taking time to view this post. For the best viewing experience, click on an image to see a high resolution version from my portfolio site.
The southern live oak, quercus virginiana, is a large majestic oak tree species native to the southeastern United States coastline. While some other species are loosely referred to as live oaks, the southern live oak is an iconic part of the Old South. The term “live” refers to the tree’s evergreen characteristic – its leaves remain nearly year-round. Over a period of days, leaves fall off in the spring as new leaves begin to emerge.
The tree is anchored by a deep tap-root which develops into an extensive root system. Lower branches will reach out to the ground and then turn upward. These features, along with a low center of gravity, allow southern live oak to withstand strong sustained costal winds – hurricanes. Several live oaks have been certified to be over 1000 years old!
It prefers well drained sandy soils below 300ft above sea level. Their broad, dense canopy discourages flammable undergrowth. As such, the tree can usually withstand fires because the flames are unlikely to reach the crown. If burned, the crown and roots respond with vigorous growth.
Though not suitable for planking, the live oak’s hard, strong and curved wood was a preferred source of sailing ship framework timbers. The frame of the famous USS Constitution was constructed from southern live oak harvested from the state of Georgia. The density of wood grain helped the ship survive cannon fire during The War of 1812, earning it the nickname “Old Ironsides”.
Today, the southern live oak provides shelter and food to local wildlife. I captured this series, including the white tail bucks above foraging for live oak acorns, on the Intracostal Waterway near Holden Beach, North Carolina.
Earlier this summer, I attended the wedding of a friend and fellow Scout leader in Danville, Virginia. After the reception, I had the opportunity to visit the local tobacco warehouse district, near the Dan River, which is into it’s initial phases of urban renewal – the Danville River District. The late afternoon afforded some nice lighting. I plan to return soon to shoot in the early morning light.
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Thanks to philanthropy from former local titans of tobacco and textile industries, Winston-Salem has become known as the City of the Arts. A thriving Arts Council, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECA), Sawtooth Gallery and Reynolda House Museum of American Art are some of the best know art entities in the city. One of the many facets of community art in the DADA 1st Friday Gallery Hop.
The Downtown Arts District Association (DADA) is a non-profit community organization of visual and performing artisans, businesses, galleries and residents. Centered in an area of urban renewal along Liberty, Sixth and N. Trade Streets in downtown Winston-Salem, the area includes a variety of artist studios, galleries, specialty shops, restaurants, bars and residencies.
Back in June, I was fortunate to be able to purchase a Profoto B2 Location Kit and accessories. The July 7th Gallery Hop was my first opportunity to try new kit on the street. The lightweight DC battery pack hung nicely on my hip, I held the 250W strobe head with a 2’ octa softbox on a boom pole in my left hand.
The early evening setting sun provided a nice back light on my initial shots, but quickly set behind the buildings. I used the Profoto’s high speed sync (HSS) to shoot the initial batch around 1/320 sec at ISO 500. The Nikon wireless TTL transmitter and camera made exposure almost effortless, allowing me to concentrate more on the subjects. I wave very pleased with the results and look forward to my next opportunity to shoot in the street!
I was also able to hangout with my Margaret Webster-Shapiro, a fellow member of the the Associated Artists of Winston-Salem (AAWS), and my good friend and photographer Owens Daniels. Owens, also a member of AAWS, was displaying several of his pieces at the Artworks Gallery.
Thanks for stopping by! I have a few more pictures from the Gallery Hop to post later in the week.
After my last post, I found a National Register of Historical Places registration form for the Richfield Milling Company. The city of Richfield, in Stanley County, North Carolina, was founded in the late 1800’s by the Ritchie family, German immigrants who originally named the community as Ritchie’s Field. Corn and other agricultural products was the economic engine for most rural southeastern counties.
The Yakin Railroad was completed in 1891 between Salisbury and Norwood, with the newly charted town of Ritchie’s Mill as a stop just before Albermarle – the county seat. A few years later the city name was changed to Richfield. The railroad enabled growth in the county of agricultural manufacturing enterprises. In 1910, the Richfield Milling Company was founded, which provided local farmers with flour, corn meal, and livestock feed.
Later, the railroad also brought in grain from outside the county to be processed. Consequently, the mill grew to supply the local community, and to ship product by train to other communities. In 1950, the mill converted to exclusively animal feed production. By the 1980, the mill produced poultry feed for local farms and the Ralston Purina company. The mill closed in 1990.
I used my standard b&w workflow to process these images, which includes an emulation of Agfa APX 100 b&w film. Thanks for stopping by today. Click on an image to view a higher resolution version from my portfolio site.