A photographer friend invited me out to the McKee Beshers Wildlife Management Area to capture the fields of sunflowers. They're at their peak this weekend and next.
I've been meaning for a long time to join Rena on photo shoots. I love her work, and I knew it would be helpful to see the world through her eyes. And to get some photo tips.
I'd seen her sunflower photos from other years and definitely wanted some of my own. So I met Rena and her friend Amy out at the fields in Poolesville, Maryland. At 7:30 a.m. on a Sunday. We beat the crowds but not the heat.
As we were starting to shoot, a guy from Columbia, Maryland, wandered nearby with his camera and tripod. He heard Rena and Amy offering me tips on what and how to shoot. He piped up that he liked listening to those tips. Then he asked if it was okay for him to follow along with us down the field.
If you want company when you're traveling alone, this, solo travelers, is how to find it. Joining "the locals" can enhance any travel experience. And by locals here I mean a nearby group of people having fun or doing the same thing you're doing.
Meeting David affirmed to me how easy it is to find "friends" just about anywhere you go. Especially if you have a focus (no pun intended) on an experience or interest that you can share easily. Language lessons. Dancing. Photography.
David stayed with us for the next several hours, joining in the banter as if he'd known us for years. He and Rena exchanged cards and talked about possibly meeting for another outing to photograph an area they both like to shoot.
When you're the "David," out there alone in this Goliath world (yeah, sorry, couldn't pass that one up), and you're feeling like you want company, see if you can work your way into a group like David did. It was so easy and we were totally open to it.
Yes, yes, I know, you're shy. You could never do that. Okay, then just stand nearby and listen. Maybe, someone will notice you and make the first move. Or maybe, eventually, you'll get comfortable enough to speak up and offer a helpful tip. Things are likely to take off from there.
Meanwhile, if you happen to be in the D.C. area this week, get yourself and your camera to the sunflowers. It's a beautiful sight.
Photos: Ellen Perlman. Follow me on instagram @boldlygosolo.