While the Dandelion is considered a weed to many, I find the intricate pattern and luminosity of the flower when it goes to seed an interesting subject. I scoured the fields I passed on bicycle rides this spring looking for conditions that would warrant a return to photograph. I used a sunrise/sunset app on my phone to check sunrise position at promising meadows I found. In addition to facing east, I needed dense groupings of flowers that had recently gone to seed so that light winds would not strip the seeds. Uphill slopes were preferred so I could get low and shoot up toward a potentially dramatic sunrise sky. This would make the best use of my wide angle lens to accentuate the dandelion bulbs. Lastly, the field wouldn’t have trees obstructing the sunrise or sunset, as back-lighting suits the fine textures of the flower. Topo maps were helpful in planning my riding route over roads with hills and fields that rose above the adjacent landscape. I preferred sunrise since the potential for dew drops on the flowers and grasses was usually a guarantee.
This field in Epping, N.H., satisfied my vision, and luckily the sky, clouds and colors cooperated. I moved inches away from the closest dandelions so they would dominate the foreground and made several exposures at different focal lengths to ensure sharpness and detail throughout. A final exposure for the sky was made 2 stops darker than the FG images, then manually blended to complete the image and preserve the dynamic range. The moon was shot after zooming in to 35mm and manually blended into the image in the exact position that the actual moon was in the sky on this evening.
Harry Lichtman is a New Hampshire-based landscape photographer. He’s a 2015 Memorial Maria Luisa Awards Winner and a 2015 Smithsonian Windland Smith Rice International Award Winner—Landscape Category. See more of his work at www.HarryLichtman.com.