Alvin Hinton, Alvin Hinton Photography, Blooming Sunflowers, BluGraphics Photography, Brattonsville, Charlotte, Draper Wildlife, Draper Wildlife Management Area, Louis Jones, McConnells SC, NC Photography, Sunflowers, York County SC, York County Sunflowers
I recently had the opportunity to participate in several photo sessions with two very talented photographers (Alvin Hinton of Alvin Hinton Photography, and Louis Jones of BluGraphics Photography) who shoot at Draper Wildlife Management Area every summer with only one intent…to capture the magic of the 20-plus acres of these majestic sunflowers.
My first visit to Draper was on June 21, 2014 and none of the flowers had bloomed yet. I went back exactly one week later and I could only spot a few golden petals peeking out among all of the green leaves in the field.
Their peak bloom this year was during the first week of July. The hundreds of rows of sun worshippers were all in bloom, standing tall and ready to be photographed. But just a few hot and humid days later all those pristine, perfect flowers were beginning to wilt.
Finally, on July 18th I visited the same field again, and only a few patches of flowers remained that had not completely drooped. So it appears that the total active bloom life of these was about three-and-a-half weeks.
I have been back since then and was introduced to three additional sunflower fields in a different part of the wildlife area…one of these fields in particular has very large flowers—much larger than all of the others. However, since I didn’t know these spots existed, I cannot say for sure when they began to bloom.
For those who are interested in seeing the sunflowers this year, or for future reference, there were no signs posted telling me how to find the flowers once I entered Draper. Here’s how to locate them easily:
After turning onto Draper Rd from Brattonsville Rd, stay on the dirt/gravel road until you come to the circular end (this is the parking lot). Enter the gate to the left of the parking area and continue walking through the woods. After approximately 100 yards you will take a right onto this more defined dirt road. Go an additional 40 yards and the flowers will be on the right and left sides of the road. (Note: it is my understanding that they plant in various areas each year, so these instructions precisely apply to only my experience during the 2014 season).
I certainly have plans to visit Draper every year from now on, and highly suggest that, if you live anywhere within the Metro area, you do the same.
Draper Wildlife Management Area is located at 1080 Brattonsville Rd, McConnells, SC (approximately 10 miles southwest of Rock Hill, SC).
Jessica Williams is a professional photographer and a York County native who is constantly in search of new and interesting places to go and things to see in the Charlotte Metro area.