Janet, my trusty spotter, spied a wonderful field of sunflowers in Fort Collins. The same evening the scouting report was delivered, and again the next morning, I was on location to try my luck at photographing this magnificent field. For background, sunflowers originated in North America, but are now cultivated world-wide. They are particularly adapted to arid and semi-arid regions. In the United States, 85% of sunflowers raised for profit are grown in North and South Dakota and Minnesota. We have noticed an increase in interest in this region – they are becoming an alternative cash crop for farmers in the Fort Collins region. They are cultivated for their seed (think of baseball players!) , bird-food, and for sunflower oil. Each sunflower head, when in bloom, may consist of 1000 to 2000 flowers, and when mature, may contain 500-800 seeds (no wonder the heads droop!). The plants are phototropic, meaning they follow the sun throughout the day. Growers may plant up to 25,000 “heads” per acre, and yields of a ton of seed per acre are common. Each seed can contain up to 50% sunflower oil. There appears to be a rising interest in these marvelous plants with good reason. In photographing them, I found early morning light, before and just after sunrise was the best. I used my Canon 5D Mark II on a tripod. To help steady the shots, I also used a two-second delay. Photos were taken at an ISO of 400, and were taken with my 24-105 Canon zoom lens. The first shot, Sunflower in the Morning, was shot at f/5.6, 1/250 sec., and 75 mm focal length. The second shot, Standing out from the Crowd, was at 1/10 sec., 28 mm focal length, and f/5.6. This photograph seems to be a favorite among my friends – I guess because we all feel somewhat different from the rest of the bunch. Sunflowers are beautiful, and I encourage more photographs!The gallery was not found!