Finding Sunflowers in Unlikely Places

Orange and yellow sunflowers with soft clouds and blue sky.

Normally by this time of year the gardens I tend to frequent are bursting with multiple varieties of sunflowers. In various sizes, these towering plants attract bees and birds alike. However, these season, the normal suspects were no where to be found – much to my dismay. The Cosmos seemed to be holding their own and I was grateful for some shots of those. But the big yellow sunflowers I love to see were absent.

So I resigned myself to the fact that there would be no sunflowers photos this year *sigh*. But then, in the most unlikeliest of places within a strip mall I came across this patch. If it were not for my being on foot – which I prefer – and my destination being a craving for some falafel, I would never have discovered this lovely grouping of sunflowers. Who knew that sunflowers and falafel could have anything in common? AND if I had driven rather than walked, I would have missed this patch entirely! 

Not sure if the tenders of these sunflowers are because they are by a hydroponic shop? Of if it’s just a random thing. But none the less, I was thrilled to have discovered them.

A Return Visit for Photo Ops

Big yellow sunflower against bright blue sky.
Big yellow sunflower against a bright blue sky.

As I was unequipped with my camera upon making this initial discovery, the next morning I went back armed and ready for some photo ops!

The location is about a 5-10 minute walk and on an early Sunday morning, I figured people would be few at a small strip mall. And my theory was correct. I had this sunflower patch to myself. It was a sunny morning and getting hot quickly.

Big yellow sunflowers against a bright blue sky are such lovely moments. They scream late summer to me. Their big round heads with yellow petals.

Many photographers have access to big fields of sunflowers and those images are beautiful, However, I rather enjoy capturing them more isolated as in this photo to the right.

Throw in some passing clouds and it gives them more texture – which I love – even if the clouds are in soft-focus. The sunflowers with orange and yellow petals remind me of fall – which will be here shortly. It’s those very colors many photographers look forward to – myself included! And of course cooler temps after many days in the 90°+ range.

Orange and yellow sunflower.
Fall colored sunflower with soft focus clouds.
Yellow and orange sunflower with one folded petal
I think this sunflower was giving me the finger 😉

Quite a few of these sunflowers were already past their prime and I wish I had craved falafel sooner! But thankfully there were still enough to work with. No doubt the birds would be descending on the sunflower seeds maturing soon. In the mean time, the bees were bellying up to the sunflower pollen bar.

Bumble Bees and Sunflowers Go Together

Bumble bee dotted in pollen on flower.
A bumble bee gathering pollen on this fall-colored sunflower.

As the morning was warming up, the bumble bees were getting busy. Covered in yellow pollen, they were one with the sunflowers. My favorite little fellas, orange-belted bumble bees were making an appearance too. So as the circumstances allowed, I hung out and enjoyed the opportunities to capture these pollen gatherers hard at work.

Being mindful not to get too close – not because of the bumble bees – but the nasty yellow jackets that were flying about. I could have done without them. They take the fun out flower photos for sure.

Orange belted bumble bee on sunflower with ragged petals.
Orange-belted bumble gathering pollen on sunflowers a bit past their prime..
Sunflower with orange belted bumble bee gathering pollen.
Orange-belted bumble in the center of these beautiful sunflower.

Despite wanting to hang out longer with the bees, the yellow jackets were getting too close for comfort. So I thanked the sunflowers and bees for their time, and went on my way 🙂

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