Summer in the DC Metro Area

Living in the Virginia, Maryland, DC area offers so many great summertime places to photograph summer flowers. June thru August, there are so many places that shine. I encourage you to grab your camera, your sunscreen, water bottle and try out one or more of these great photo locations this year. You will not be disappointed. 

Let’s start with sunflowers! One of everyone’s favorite summer flowers. There are some great places to capture fields of sunflowers. I would suggest you get up early and head out or catch the sunset at one of these farms. The bugs will be plenty, so wear or bring bug spray. I always throw a small step ladder or stool into my car to use at the sunflower field. This helps you get up tall to capture the entire incredible scene. When shooting sunflowers, you have so many options for composition. I love to capture the entire bloom, then compose for the details, capture bugs on the flowers, and the whole field of flowers. Take your time and try different lenses to see what results you can achieve. 

Here are some of my favorite spots for sunflowers: 

  • The McKee Beshers Wildlife Area is a favorite. There are four fields and so many sunflowers. “The Maryland Department of Natural Resources - Wildlife and Heritage Service plants sunflowers each spring on the McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The primary purpose for planting sunflowers in wildlife management areas is to provide a food source for mourning doves, as well as other wildlife species after the plants mature and dry. Mourning doves are hunted at these fields during hunting seasons that traditionally begin on September 1 and continue through early January.” To learn more about this location, visit this site. 
  • Burnside Farms in Virginia is another favorite. The fun part of this farm is you get to pick your own flowers to take home. This farm is home to  30 varieties of sunflowers across eight acres, the sunflower fields at Burnside Farms are rays of sunshine throughout the hot summer months.
  • Another great option is Clear Meadow Farm in Maryland. They typically have sunflowers in late September, which makes it excellent as the weather is cooler and you can spend a perfect almost fall day at the farm. Here is their website to monitor for the go-live sunflower dates. 

Next on my list of summer photo opportunities is the pick your own flower farms. They are common in all areas of VA and MD and are a great way to capture some flower images and take home some pretty flowers. I try to get to the farms right when they open to avoid the heat and the crowds. Families love these farms, and so I want to get there early to photography the flowers. This is a great time to capture the entire row or field of flowers and close-up images. There should be lots of bees and butterflies to add to your pictures. 

Here are some not to be missed farms: 

  • Fields of Flowers is a pick your own flower farm located in Purcellville, VA. They have gorgeous flowers, honey, a beautiful barn, and lots more to photograph. 
  • Butler Orchard in Maryland is an entire experience. They have pick your own fruit and flowers starting in July. So much to photograph and enjoy at this spot in Maryland. 

The last flower stop of summer has to be the lotus flowers at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in DC. This is a magical water oasis. 

“Deep within Kenilworth lies an oasis, hidden behind trees and cattails. It’s a place where beavers build their homes and turtles sleep on logs. Lotus rises from the muck and lilies sit on the water. The wind dances with the dragonflies, rustling through the trees, carrying the song of the birds until it brushes across your face, fading to a whisper, saying, “come join.”

I recommend again going first thing in the am to get parking and find a spot to photograph. I usually walk through the gardens and find a place to set up my tripod once I am deep inside the water gardens away from the crowds. You will not experience issues with bugs, as many creatures are eating them all up for you. You will want your tripod, various lenses, a diffuser ( if it is a bright day), and lots of water. The gardens are in direct sunlight and monitoring the shadows in your image will be necessary. Here is a link to learn more about this spot. 

My best tips for summer garden photography are to hit the road early, use various lenses, take a diffuser, and hopefully a friend to help hold it for you. Enjoy the beauty that only blooms in the heat of the summer. 

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