Readers’ wildlife photos

Today we finish “the life of sunflowers,” a series of photos by reader Rik Gern (you can see part 1 here and part 2 here). The sunflower’s life is now drawing to a peaceful close. At the end Rik has put four whimsical photos.

Here are some fun sunflower photos. Rik says this:




  1. Posted August 26, 2018 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Thank you for posting these, Jerry. I’ve been in awe of so many of the pictures your readers have taken, and it’s a thrill to be a part of the sharing.

    I recently finished another variation on the first two whimsical distortions you posted.

    Looking forward to your next Reader’s Wildlife Photos post, and the next, and the next…

    • Posted August 26, 2018 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      Shoot! I didn’t mean to embed the image. Feel free to un-embed, if that’s possible!

    • BJ
      Posted August 26, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Great stuff! So, are those “variations” the original images, warped using some kind of software? Or are they paintings/drawings inspired by the original photos?

      • Posted August 26, 2018 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        The variations are distortions of original photos using Photoshop PS6. I actually started making the crazy images first and came into an interest in photography thru that. I started by playing at random with images I’d find, but as I started sharing these images it seemed like a good idea to start with my own source material instead of “borrowing” from the internet. (One of the first series of images I played with several years ago was one of Professor Coyne’s Chicago skyline pictures!)

        • Posted August 26, 2018 at 10:34 am | Permalink

          I did download a picture of an eagle from the internet, then “traced” the eyes with part of the original image that had similar colors and/or shapes and molded it using the liquify function. That way I was able to copy a shape but keep the textures and colors from the my picture.

          • BJ
            Posted August 26, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

            Very cool. Thanks for the explanation.

  2. Christopher
    Posted August 26, 2018 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Those last two fit in nicely with the new Michael Pollan book from PCC’s recent Kent Presents trip.

  3. Posted August 26, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Rik, you are definitely an artist with the camera and with post-processing. I don’t even know for sure how you worked your magic.
    How did you do those?

    • Posted August 26, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      Those variations stem from playing “what if”–just dropping the image in photoshop,saying “what if I try this”, “what if I try that”, doing all sorts of distortions and strange things, saving a bunch of them and then playing with the ones that look interesting. Over time, I’ve notice that I can get interesting results by doing a lot of bending, folding and liquifying and then saving the different results as different layers. You end up with a common “architecture” and textures that you can start combining and re-combining. Once you’ve got shapes and textures you like, you can start playing with color, light and all sorts of other stuff. It’s largely trial-and-error.

  4. Glenda Palmer
    Posted August 26, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing the photos and variations with comments. Very enjoyable.

  5. Posted August 26, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Photoshopped sunflower could easily star in a remake of movie *Demon Seed.*

  6. Michael Scullin
    Posted August 26, 2018 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely wonderful pictures. Years ago I developed a sunflower from a commercial variety and rather quickly had a sunflower which closely resembled the variety grown by a Native American tribe whose gardening strategies I have been studying for 40 years. This droughty year has not been kind to corn, beans, and squash. but the sunflowers have been gorgeous and, except for the heads chosen for seed (and soon) the crop will be consumed by the gold finches. All of mine have flower-heads growing from almost every leaf axil except for the one large one the size of a dinner plate. The Indians made an almost granola like product with the seeds from the large heads and, after a frost, used the seeds from the smaller heads for oil.

  7. Ken Phelps
    Posted August 26, 2018 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Any mushrooms in that sunflower patch?

  8. Mark R.
    Posted August 26, 2018 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    This has been a fun series of photos. Thanks for sharing the psychedelic sunflowers too. 🌻

  9. Diane G
    Posted August 27, 2018 at 3:31 am | Permalink

    Absolutely fascinating! I esp. love the row of yellow petals. You are quite the artist!

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