Good Morning Sunshine

Good Morning Sunshine

When I was a kid I clearly remember my mom saying “Good morning sunshine!” to me and my siblings, particularly on school mornings when we would wander upstairs bleary-eyed and wishing we could go back to bed for just a few more minutes of sleep. That phrase has always stuck with me over the years and, come to think of it, I need to start saying it to my own two boys. Who knows…maybe they will remember it when they’re older too :)

On my bike ride home from work near the end of July I passed a couple sunflowers at the base of a hill near a retirement home, and made a mental note to return to the same spot the following morning in order to get a couple shots of the flowers as the sun was rising. It was kind of the same idea as last week’s photo, but this time it was entirely intentional and I clearly knew in advance where I wanted to go, what I wanted to photograph, and how I wanted the composition to look. Sort of. And I’ll get to that in a second.

First, for a bit of context, here’s the scene:

Not much to look at, right? I think that’s why I biked past this little grove so many times without really noticing anything. But if photography is taught me anything over the years, it’s that I really do need to slow down, look harder, and really¬†see the picture opportunities right before my eyes. So that’s what I tried to do, and when I came back this way the very next morning I had a clear idea of what I wanted to capture, where the light would be coming from, what elements I wanted to use in the composition, etc.

I spent a few minutes wading through the tall grass taking pictures of the flower on the far right from a variety of angles, and I was specifically trying to get a picture with the flower on the left and the sky poking out through the trees in the background. Here’s my favorites from the shoot, as seen in my Lightroom library.

I eventually settled on #6 (you can see dim gray numbers behind the thumbnails) because I liked how the discrete elements of the composition came together to form a cohesive whole: the sky in the top-right corner, the bright yellow flower in the middle, and the green leaves behind it which created a nice sense of contrast as well. Originally I thought #5 was my image of choice but the more I looked at it the more I realized that the streak of blue sky blended in a bit too much with the yellow petals, whereas #6 created a much stronger composition and the green background really served to highlight the subject.

It was a fun exercise in finding a picture opportunity that was dulled just a bit when I got back on my bike and found my shorts and legs covered in hundreds of small little burs from the grass. I spent the rest of the day picking them off but it was a small price to pay for a picture I really liked :)


  1. I agree, the contrast in 6 makes the difference. Looks great!

  2. It’s bringing the extraordinary out of the ordinary, and good photography always does that. The explanation helps a lot to understand the story behind this ‘hello sunshine’!

    • Thank you Thothar! I always like hearing your thoughts on these photos, and I’m glad the explanation helped give a bit of backstory to the title too :)

  3. I love seeing your images every week and I do the same thing as you. I always carry my camera and my 50 mm lens with me at work on an Army installation and at home when I take my dogs for a walk in the park behind my house. I have several similar photos to this sunflower and some great ones of grasses with the sun coming through them so they look like they glow. I would love to attach a couple for you to see but I’m not sure how to do it from here.
    Thanks for another great image and for inspiring me to always carry my camera.

    • Thank you so much Monica! And please, by all means feel free to share your images! I’m honestly not sure if they can be attached directly to a WordPress comment, but if not maybe you could leave some links to where you might have them online (i.e. Flickr, Instagram, etc.) I would love to see them and I’m sure other Weekly Fifty readers would too :)

  4. Thanks for sharing both the photos and the process of obtaining them. I too love the fact that photography helps us focus on the aspects of beauty we may otherwise overlook.

    • You’re welcome Kyla! I’m glad you appreciated the bit of behind-the-scenes information. I always like finding out that information when I read other blogs, and it’s nice to know people enjoy it on some of my pics too :)

  5. I agree with your choice of #6. You have the dark leaves behind the well lit bloom, making it stand out, and enough sky to give the impression of looking up and of the height of the flower. Number eight caught my eye, but after reading your explanation, I do prefer your choice with more sky showing.

    I also like how you have included more photos to your explanation. I’ve said before, I like your commentary and we learn from reading through your thought process.

    • It’s interesting that #8 was the one that drew you in initially, Rebecca. It all goes to show that photography, as in all art, is entirely subjective and there’s really no wrong answer or perspective. I always like finding out when other people have different opinions on photos I’ve taken, and to be honest I never even considered #8 but I’m glad you liked it (even though you said you ultimately went with #6!)

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