WON Landing Page OCT 2022

Figgins afield in a sea of sunflowers

The best scenic shots are seldom planned; they just happen.  Such was the case when I discovered this field of sunflowers along the St. Francis River near the Missouri-Arkansas border.  Nothing breaks the monotony of a drab landscape better than a glowing field of sunflowers, but, like many other scenics shots, transposing what the mind sees to a digital image can be tricky.

No digital camera, regardless of its resolution capabilities, can “process” a scene better than the human brain.  In a split second, the mind can tone down the yellows, mix in the shadows and kick up the contrast areas in order to create an appealing image.  A camera needs assistance, and while experience helps, the beauty of digital photography is that the best results come from experimentation.

There are also some simple tools that can help.  This shot was taken using a Fuji Finepix S2 Pro at ISO 400 with a shutter speed of 1/500th of a second and an aperture of f/11, which maintained a sharp depth of field from the foreground all the way to the treeline in the background.  A 2-stop neutral density filter (a grey filter that darkens the image by two f-stops) was used to maintain the detail in the yellow petals of the sunflowers.  Another 2-stop graduated neutral density filter (a filter that fades from gray to clear) was also attached, allowing the bright afternoon sky to be darkened further without affecting the landscape image. Other images from the photoshoot can be seen at the Show-Me Missouri website at www.ShowMeMissouri.net.

Part of a portfolio of photography in the summer 2010 issue of Show Me Missouri magazine. Photo by Gary Figgins.

Gary Figgins is owner and publisher of Show-Me Missouri, a statewide travel magazine that features Missouri travel destinations and attractions. Gary’s photographs fill the pages of this publication, often with beautiful double-page spreads featuring the outdoors. See http://www.showmemissouri.net/

  • About Gary Figgins

    Gary Figgins is owner and publisher of Show-Me Missouri, a statewide travel magazine that features Missouri travel destinations and attractions.


The Conversation

  • Gary Figgins says: June 3, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Believe it or not, there are still some old school photographers who claim the digital camera was the worst thing to ever be introduced to photography. That’s like saying a quality writer should be using a manual typewriter instead of a computer. The digital camera is one of the greatest pieces of equipment ever produced. Just like the film camera, it requires skill, however it allows the photographer to experiment. The camera, itself, becomes a teaching tool as it allows the photographer to learn immediately from his/her mistakes, thus allowing that photographer to make corrections and take a better picture.

  • Tammy Ballew says: June 3, 2010 at 7:45 am

    Wow, what an amazing photo, Gary! I actually saw the photo in the magazine too. It was great!!

  • Deb Ferns says: June 2, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    I love this photo but more importantly I like that Gary encourages the photographer to experiment! That is the best thing about digital photography as far as I’m concerned; it doesn’t cost anything to experiment and then delete.