Cars drive on an alley between rape fields in the...

Cars drive on an alley between rape fields in the outskirts of Frankfurt, Germany, Monday, April 22, 2024. Credit: AP/Michael Probst

FRANKFURT, Germany — Michael Probst has been working as a photographer and editor in Germany for over 40 years. He's covered everything from the fall of the Berlin Wall to Olympics and soccer World Cups, but one of his favorite things to do is make feature photos, the off-the-news assignments that tell their own story. Here's what he had to say about creating this extraordinary feature image.


I like to shoot features in nature. There aren't many things that are nicer than watching the sun rise in the outskirts of Frankfurt with all sorts of animals that you don’t find later in the day.

When the rape fields — plants of the mustard family whose seeds yield an oil used in cooking (canola) and for industrial uses — near the city started to blossom, I drove around to find locations with good looking fields of the yellowing flowers. They are found every year in different places.

When I found two or three fields that could be nice, I returned the next day with my drone. Once it was in the air, I saw that the fields were still too green. I tried again a few days later and the fields were the brilliant yellow I was looking for.


I tried various altitudes with my drone between 30 meters (33 yards) and 120 meters (130 yards). The drone was up for about 25 minutes waiting for a red car to come by.

Whether things that you photograph using a drone will work, you only find out once you are up in the air. A lot of my efforts fail.


For me, green and yellow always work for some reason, and the red car adds a different color. But I actually don’t think too much about why a picture works or doesn't. I like it or I don't. I try to discover things where it’s worth taking a picture.

I don’t often photograph people because in Frankfurt we don’t often have assignments with important people, and shooting interesting people on the street is not allowed without asking. That makes it sometimes quite complicated because most people don’t want to be photographed in Germany — they don’t trust the media anymore.



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