new abstraction of a sunflower

Our farmer’s market has been bursting with sunflowers lately, so I’ve been working a lot with them. However, the sunflower is such a iconic flower, that it is a challenge to create a photograph that is not simply a cliche. My goal has been to capture an aspect of their personality that is usually overlooked.

Sunflower by Daniel Sroka

This photograph was the result of a series of experiments exploring the petals of the flower, and specifically the way their edges curl and interact. At first, my experiments weren’t yielding any good results. But then at the center of one image, I was drawn in by the fluid shape one specific petal. I drastically cropped into the photograph (something you are never supposed to do), and I found the image I was looking for. You can see from the image below how I isolated this petal from the rest of the photograph.

This is how I cropped the original image to create this photograph.
This is how I cropped the original image to create this photograph.


Yes Roberta, I resize it to a target size. I have found that soft gradients of color like this have a wide latitude for resizing. After I resize i, I do a lot of detail brush work repairing flaws, enhancing details, and so on.

Indeed, inspired! Don’t you love it when the subject draws you to itself? (Almost makes it look easy 🙂

I noticed that you kept the same aspect ratio when you cropped… is this because you have an intended use in mind? It’s really wonderful as you’ve cropped it, but it becomes an entirely different result (usable in entirely different situations) if you crop a bit less tall and as wide as possible.

Hi Jeffrey: Yes, I do pretty much stick to two aspect ratios: 2×3 and 4×5. I experimented with doing free crops, and honestly found it too free! I like having some constraints to work with. It also makes displaying the photos that much easier!