The end of spring tends to mark the beginning of the hardest period in my photographic year. I'm not particularly fond of summer in general, and my creative instincts also tend to suffer from this sentiment. But there is one time in late spring/early summer when poppies are in full bloom where I live. After canola fields in April, poppies account for the second intense colour explosion in the landscapes around my home. In recent years, they have been popping up everywhere on the borders of wheat fields after they had been banned or at least widely restricted for decades because their seeds contain opiates or maybe only residues, depending on the species. I'm not a biologist, but I enjoy their creative opportunities.
Poppies only last a few weeks every year, so when they appear, I tend to get nervous and try to free up my busy agenda to ensure I get a few good shots. And, of course, they pop up in different locations every year, so simply revisiting known spots and compositions is not an option. This combination of a short period, limited availability and the need to scout for new compositions is complemented by the general challenge when photographing flowers, i.e. wind.
One day, I had aligned most elements of the equation. Having spent hours driving around and checking out countless fields, I had found a spot where poppies were in full bloom and nicely located in front of a mountain range. In addition, the light was starting to become nice and warm. The area is known for being windy but also for the wind to die down in the late afternoon. Unfortunately, there was no sign for this to happen on this particular day. A strong and constant wind destroyed any hope for a sharp image. As I didn't want to let go of this location's opportunity, I decided to make a virtue of necessity and opt for a long-exposure shot. I'm quite happy with the resulting blurry foreground and cloud structures.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor