Siena Sunflowers


It’s a myth that big sunflowers like this turn to follow the sun all day.  They just face east.  Apparently when they’re tiny, they might turn (i.e., they’re “heliotropic”), but not when they’re mature.  So if you want to photograph them “head-on” and you want something else in the picture, that “something else” needs to be lined up precisely due west of the flower patch.  Thus, last week as I drove through a part of north-central Italy (near Siena) where they grow sunflowers, my goal was to spot some cool old building — a big church or something that made you think “Tuscany” — that looked good from the east, and that was situated exactly due west of a pretty sunflower field.  Hmmmm.

Even after finding a spot, I had to avoid an ugly fence — and an ugly sunflower farmer 100 yards up the road near the signs that said “proprieta privata.”   Thus I took all these pictures from a single spot in the middle of the road, with the Castillo del Cuatro Torres (“Castle of the Four Towers”) lined up on the hill due west of me.

These were the last shots I took before I packed the camera away for a while and headed toward the airport for my flight back to Houston.