Every year the city of Raleigh plants a huge field of sunflowers. The real purpose of the sunflowers is to harvest and process oil for biofuel, but the bright yellow flowers attract people too.

The flowers were in a new location this year, so instead of being fenced off due to snakes they are now spread out with plenty of pathways to walk between the widely-spaced plants.

Drawn by TV news describing this fun summer event, I headed out on a photo expedition. The sunflower fields were lovely and full of birds and bees and occasional squirrels. I had a great time strolling slowly and taking photos.

The only problem was that I missed the peak of the flowers by a week, plus the plants were drooping from the drought:

sunflower closeup wilted

I took this as a challenge to figure out how to disguise the wilting petals and leaves.

The sun was in and out from behind the clouds, so I took some photos with shadows and some with overcast light. Generally the sunny photos were much better, with brighter colors and more depth.

First I tried changing the color to draw attention away from the drooping flowers. It was somewhat successful:

Sunflower field

I tried brightening the colors and cropping out as many dying plants as possible, with lots of new growth showing:

Sunflower field 1

I carefully cropped this photo to include only new flowers, with a bee to focus on:

Sunflower field closeup 1

An extreme close-up also looks good:

Sunflower field bee

The last two photos are my favorites!

I have to admit, I had more fun spending a few weeks fixing the photos than if the flowers had been perfect and I just needed to point and shoot.