Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Bay leaves and homonyms

click photo to enlarge
Our store of dried bay leaves is getting low, so the other day I picked some more from the tree that grows in our garden. We are fortunate to have this particular specimen because eighteen months ago a high wind brought down a massive limb from a nearby willow that flattened it. Remarkably, after the fallen branch was removed, the 12 feet tall bay sprang back to almost vertical, and, after a few months of being tied upright to a stake, resumed its normal and vigorous growth.

I collected about a hundred leaves making no impression on the tree, and laid them out on wire trays in a cool, north-facing room to dry. Being a meticulous sort of person (well, sometimes anyway!) I arranged them in rows to maximise the number that the tray would hold. The following day, casting around for subjects for a photograph or two, I noticed the drying bay leaves and took several shots of them. The example above, with its contrast increased using a blue filter, then sepia-toned, is the best of the bunch.

Whilst I was taking my shots it occurred to me that the word "bay" is a homonym with quite a few meanings. Being a pedantic sort of person (well, sometimes anyway!) I decided to see how many such meanings I could find. My researches uncovered about 14 distinct definitions. "Bay" can mean: a type of tree, a small ball (obscure), an indentation of the sea into the land, an indentation of the land into the sea or into a range of hills (both obscure!), an opening in a wall (especially the space between two columns), a recess in a building, prolonged barking or shouting, the stance of a hunted animal, an embankment, a particular branch of an antler, the old word for baize, a reddish brown colour (especially of horses), to seek with open mouth (obscure). Being an inquisitive sort of person (always!) I wonder if anyone feels their life is a little more complete knowing trivia of this sort?

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 35mm macro, (70mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/125
ISO: 400
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On


Andy Pounder said...

"I wonder if anyone feels their life is a little more complete knowing trivia of this sort?" Definitely ;-)

Ed Buziak said...

Salut Tony... I'm becoming a regular daily visitor to your postings... and yes, trivia is mind expanding so keep it up. I particularly appreciated your tip a while back about photographing churches from the... err... have to return - forgotten the compass bearing because of this French heatwave!

Oh yes, you could (maybe not) have included "e" in your "Bays" ;~/

Bien cordialements, Ed Buziak.

Tony Boughen said...

Thanks for the comment Andy. I'm glad my trifles are finding an ear somewhere!

Regards, Tony

Tony Boughen said...

Salut Ed,

I'm interested to hear you find something worth returning for on a regular basis. I sometimes think that a blog that skips about all over the place, as this one does, finds it harder to find and keep regular viewers and readers.

You must be thinking of me speaking of photographing churches in the afternoon from the south-east. That works particularly well with English churches that have a west tower - which is most of them. I know some French churches have the tower at the east end: on those it wouldn't be quite as successful.

Our heatwave with uncharacteristically clear blue skies has gone, and we're back to weather with "good" cloud, so it's now much better for photography.

Best wishes,

Ed Buziak said...

French churches have a different tower location... so that's why I'm confused! Actually, most of the ones I've photographed in old villages seem to be tightly hemmed in by houses (like my local Preuilly-sur-Claise abbey church built in 1009)... so I tend to wander out after lunchtime when the light is better on the west face / doorway.

Keep up the interesting searches... with both camera and pen. It's all good nourishment for aging brains!

Regards, Ed.