Sunday, April 27, 2008

Both sides of the hill

click photos to enlarge
I was driving through the rolling hills around Folkingham in Lincolnshire when the manicured, intensively farmed fields prompted me to look for some landscape images. There were rich colours and strong lines, and I wondered if I could make something of them. After a bit of searching I came upon a yellow oilseed rape field on a hillside. Some parts were yellow with flowers, but elsewhere the green leaves still predominated, and on the steeper slope, where the rape didn't grow as well, lines of brown soil showed through. These colours attracted me, especially against the blue and white of the sky. But what made me take the shot was a row of trees along the horizon that hadn't yet come into leaf. So I clicked away, then meandered on, not heading anywhere in particular, and turning up any road that took my fancy.

Soon I came to a flat area of pale stubble with a hedge, and beyond a field of green wheat with lines where a tractor had been spraying. With the sky above this presented three bands of colour. But once again it was a row of trees on the skyline that made me consider the shot. When I framed it a hare came bounding into the viewfinder. I pressed the shutter, and as I did so I felt a touch of sympathy tinged with admiration for this gentle animal. Here it was, an insignificant creature in a big landscape that is heavily controlled by man, finding food where it can, subject to regular disturbance by people and machinery, hunted with guns and dogs in winter, and yet still managing to eke out a life as its forebears had done for millennia.

When I got home and was processing the shots it dawned on me that the trees on the horizon were the same in each image: I'd captured them from opposite directions. I had been so engrossed in looking for photographs that I hadn't noticed I'd driven round to the other side of the hill! So, here they are, two shots of Eastern England's arable farmland, wonderfully productive of food, but not so good at growing wildlife.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 1st image: 84mm (168mm/35mm equiv.), 2nd image: 150mm (300mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1st image: 1/1250, 2nd image: 1/320
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: 1st image: -0.3 EV, 2nd image: 0EV
Image Stabilisation: On