Traverse City Sunflowers Update

Lat year I wrote a post about some sunflower fields in the Traverse City, Michigan area. Well this is the Traverse City Sunflowers Update!

I went to that spot just last night to find that the field had been replaced with corn. Bad news right? Well not really. The land plots are rotated from corn one year to sunflowers the next. There are still sunflowers plots all over the area and I went on a mission to find how I could get close to them. During this pursuit I saw some signs for a Maple Bay Park and Recreation Area. It's a county ran park that just so happens to weave through some sunflower fields. The location is between Angel Rd. and Bates Rd. on the west side of US 31 N heading towards Elf Rapids. You will see a sign for the park but it's a bit weird because it looks like a driveway to an old farm house. You pull in and drive a couple hundred yards and soon you will find yourself at the edge of a sunflower field.

I took the gravel road to the end of the park and it seems there are some trails and whatnot. I didn't do any exploratory hiking because I was there for the flowers and the sun was setting fast. Maybe next time.

The sunflowers this time of year in Northern Michigan are still in decent shape. Some look pretty rough but they all have open blooms. I prefer sunset for these locations. I like the back lighting as opposed to the front lighting sunrise brings to the sunflower.

This post picture was taken during a sunset using a 70-200 IS @ f8. I shot this handheld while I played with the exposures in manual mode to make sure I didn't blow out the sky and also make sure the flowers weren't to dark. No filters needed for this particular shot.

Traverse City Sunflowers

I have seen many sunflower field pictures but I never been to a sunflower field. I started researching sunflower fields. Google came up with a few, and I even got in touch with George Lepp, to see where he goes to take sunflower pictures. He said Goodland Kansas. Well that is a bit too far away to go for sunflowers so I kept researching. I found some possible fields in Northern California but it's still a good 6 or so hour drive up there. I kept looking and then I found it.  Traverse City Sunflowers. It's true and it just so happened I was going there visiting family and friends.

The fields I found are just north of Traverse City off of M72 heading towards Elk Rapids. I took the turn off of 72 to Bates rd. Once there I just pulled off the road, got out and started taking pictures. I went during sunrise being that was the direction the flowers were facing and I could get some good front lighting. In the evening you would have back lighting and it might prove a bit more difficult getting a proper exposure.

It was late July when I went  and some of the flowers had yet to open so I would maybe try middle to the end of August to get more blooms. I am not sure who owns the fields so for the most part I just stayed on the shoulder of the road. If I was to venture further in I would get permission to do so.

Never the less it was fun and I will be going back there as long as they keep planting them.

If you're in the area it's worth a gander.