Monday, August 8, 2016

Stay on the Sunny Side

It's no secret that I like to take photographs, particularly nature shots. I had seen on Facebook a week or so ago that a friend of mine found a field of sunflowers in a neighboring county. When I asked her for directions to the field, I never dreamed she would go along with me as she had already been two weekends in a row. But she did want to go, and said it was magic to be there at dawn. My alarm went off at 4:30 last weekend (sorry Jim!), and I was on her street a little after 5:00. The only problem was that it was totally dark outside and I could not read the house numbers. I pulled over to the side of the road and turned on my overhead light to send her a text message. I was hoping that no one would call the police as I'm sure I looked quite suspicious. I saw a man leaving his house, so I rolled down the window to call out to him. Luckily he was not carrying, so I didn't get shot. I explained that I was picking up a friend, and asked if he knew where XXXX address was located. He had no idea (keep in mind this is a relatively short street, perhaps three blocks in all.) I then asked what his house number was, and after he told me I continued on down the street. By now my friend had texted back her location, and she was waiting for me on the curb when I arrived.

fog at dawn
We continued on to our destination in St. Charles County without any further excitement. There was one other photographer already set up when we arrived, and another friend met us at the site. Some low-lying fog added to the mysteriousness of being in a remote location at the butt-crack of dawn.  As the sun began to rise, it was totally worth getting up so early. The fog hung around for quite awhile, and really added to the atmosphere of the location.

country sunrise
The sunflowers had probably peaked a week or more earlier, but there were a few that still turned their happy little faces towards the sun. We were fortunate in that the morning was not too hot. That was especially lucky for me as I had on jeans and hiking shoes. I would rather sweat a bit than get eaten alive by mosquitos and/or chiggers.

sunflower field
Weldon Spring Site
Interpretive Center
After we left the field of sunflowers, we drove a short way down the highway to the Weldon Spring Site Interpretive Center. Located under an enormous pile of rocks is 1.5 million cubic yards of hazardous waste. An interpretive center explains the military history of the site, and native gardens offer an opportunity to see insects and birds up close.

While the center itself was closed (it was only 8:00 by this time!), we still enjoyed the gardens which were teaming with hummingbirds and, to a lesser extent, bees and butterflies. We also trekked up the stairs to stand on the top of the landfill, which happens to be the highest point in St. Charles County.
While getting up at 4:30 is not something I normally would want to do, I have to admit that the sites were well worth missing out on some sleep. This past weekend I also had some interrupted sleep, but for a very different reason. But that's for the next blog post.

1 comment:

Mrs. Wryly said...

I just love that photo of the sunflower! It is perfection!

It was definitely worth it for you to get up before the butt crack of dawn and do this work.