Photo Ops

Blog Category
Discover Nature Notes
Published Display Date
Jul 15, 2022

Blooming sunflower fields make for stunning photo ops. This is the season to get out and inspired.


Sunflower Field at Columbia Bottom near St. Louis

Sunflower Field at Columbia Bottom near St. Louis


Missouri is rich in these natural backdrops, from Ozark bluffs and scenic rivers to prairie landscapes and forest wildflowers. 

Here are some tips to make the most of your nature photos.

Besides focus, finding the right lighting is essential.  There are golden hours around sunrise and sunset that offer softer light and color boosts.  Mid-day sun often creates harsher light and starker contrasts. 

Having the light at your back offers the best foreground exposure.  And off to the side keeps people from squinting.

Look for interesting angles to shoot from and keep your subjects off center for more dynamic photos. And when shooting wildlife, slow and steady wins the shot.



Discover more with MDC Photographer David Stonner in our Nature Boost podcast episode 15 on Nature Photography.

Plan your next trip, and experiment with photo ops in Missouri’s scenic landscapes. 

This year, photographers of all levels can enter the 2022 Columbia Bottom Sunflower Photo Contest using the hashtag #ColumbiaBottomSunflowers until August 15.

More Photo Tips


  • How you place your subject in the frame can make or break a photo. Pretend your camera frame is divided into thirds like a tic-tac-toe grid. Place your subject where the horizontal and vertical lines cross.
  • Usually it’s more interesting to give a plant or animal room to roam. Try placing it off to one side. This also helps show a bit of the habitat where it lives.
  • Don’t shoot everything from your perspective. Get eye-to-eye with your subject — even if it doesn’t have eyes.
  • Pay attention to what’s behind your subject to make sure it doesn’t take away from your photo.

Learn more about nature photography.




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