Mary Presson Roberts Photography

Stop the Car!

“We only see what we look at. To look is an act of choice.”

-John Berger

Saturday, I decided to drive to the Biltmore House for a morning of photography on the grounds and in the gardens.  The drive from my house to the Biltmore takes about two hours and fifteen minutes.  Although I left at the time I decided upon that morning, it took me at

least an hour longer than anticipated to reach my destination.

A scene that caught my eye along the way made me take the next exit and turn around to take a closer look.

Those who know me know that the color red will make me stop in my tracks for a number of reasons.  A large patch of red poppies was far too enticing to pass by.  I have learned, from the past, never to think that I will be able to photograph something on my way back.  Conditions always change.  The light will be different, or something else will change the scene completely from when it was initially spotted.

Once I found a safe place to park, I began exploring this magnificent field of red poppies.

Realizing that I needed to create some images for upcoming lessons for a private client studying foundational photography skills,  I started by making some images using different apertures and shutter speeds.  First, I chose which I preferred, a horizontal or a vertical composition for these images.


After creating images for my client, I began exploring for myself.

Within the field of poppies, I noticed a patch of yellow.  I explored photographing the layers in the field using different points of focus and apertures.  I also examined including and excluding the strip of grass at the top of my composition.

One of the things I explored was working to isolate one flower among many.

I tried some creative techniques, such as using intentional camera movement and multiple exposures.
Working with the trees on either side of the field, I made different compositions.
While working in this spot, I noticed the cars driving up the ramp to exit the highway.  I spent a great deal of time practicing getting the car into the right position and using the correct shutter speed to get the look I desired.
After time practicing, I waited for just the right car.  After a little over an hour and 226 exploratory images, I was able to make the one image that summed up how I felt when I saw that poppy field that made me stop.

Content, I made my way back to my vehicle and continued my drive to the Biltmore House.

Of all of the photography I did that day, the photographs I made in the field of poppies were, by far, my favorite photographs.

This year has been an incredible opportunity to combine my passions for both teaching and photography.

Please consider joining me for an upcoming workshop:

If you, too, love the color red, you will find it in abundance this fall during the Georgia Gardens & Grilles Plus Workshop that I will be co-leading with Jamie Konarski Davidson.  You can get more information about that here.

In June, you can stay out of the heat and explore the Power of Personal Projects with me online.  You can get more information about that here.

If you would like something specifically created for you, please consider private instruction with me. You can get more information about that here.

I look forward to seeing you online or in the field!

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Mary Presson Roberts

I am a travel and fine art photographer living and working in the Carolinas. My camera has taken me to places I never would have experienced and to people I never would have met. Photography has truly changed my life! Using my blog, I hope to share the joys of both travel and photography.


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