For the last three years, June/July has seen me out searching for that ephemeral wonder, the wild poppy field. This year, together with my photo-buddy Jenifer Bunnett, I went out looking for poppies on four separate occasions. Out first safari was disappointing; we found poppies galore but couldn’t get close to them thanks to some determined fencing. The second was much more successful, thanks to a generous tip from another photographer, Malcolm Oakley, on Twitter.Much hiking and a pair of binoculars were needed but we found them, in three patches, against the flank of Black Patch Hill near Storrington in the South Downs National Park. We were able to return a few days later for some gentler evening light.Poppy season is now mostly over down here in the South. Poppies do not reliably flower in the same place year after year. Their seeds need rough handling to germinate but then the ground must be left fallow to allow them to bloom, although they do well at the edges of rape fields where the rape seed has not taken hold (or it has been eaten by birds). But not knowing where they’ll be next year is all part of the adventure, and their ephemerality only adds to their allure.If you fancy joining the poppy hunt next year, there is now a group on Facebook dedicated to sharing locations for poppies and other seasonal wildflower displays: Poppy and Flower Site Finder 2015.
Some may remember that last June I found a wild poppy field nearby and went a bit mad photographing it. As is the nature of natural poppy fields, it is not there this year, the land having been rotated back to crops. However, thanks to the photographers’ network, I have found another, rather further afield but, as last night’s visit confirmed, completely worth the trip. More to follow!
In July, I shared some images of a poppy field I had found near the village of Send. I couldn’t resist sharing a few more. It was really special being there, among all the flowers. Three whole fields were covered in poppies. The first shot was taken in the morning, but I popped down again in the evening for some better light.
As the sun set, the poppies began to close, but the light was more interesting.
In low light like this, a tripod was essential. Needless to say, the camera was not set up for a moving deer, so when one bounded across the field I was working in, all I could do was react and take the shot with the wrong settings. At least I have something vaguely deer-like to jog my memory; I have a picture in there that needs no settings.