Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sunshine of Your Love

click photo to enlarge
When it comes to Eric Clapton I'm one of those who feel that he peaked in the four albums he made with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker in the band, Cream. In my view very little of his earlier work with John Mayall or the Yardbirds, or his subsequent solo and guest work, approaches the sublime qualities found in songs like "White Room", "Strange Brew", "Sitting on Top of the World", or "Badge". Maybe I'm influenced by the total sound of that band, that comprised the very individual driving bass of Bruce, the virtuoso drumming of Baker, and Pete Brown's lyrics, as well as that stinging guitar of Eric Clapton. There are those who feel that there still isn't a better rock and blues guitarist, and I certainly admire the man's technical virtuosity. But for me, there is no longer the excitement, sound, and sheer "rightness" in his playing. Maybe it needs songs of the calibre of "Sunshine of Your Love" to make that happen again, and they don't come along very often.

That particular song came into my mind yesterday as I was out in the garden. Last year, I moved to a new house. I'd only been here a few weeks when I started to notice a male blackbird that sang a phrase identical to the first five notes of "Sunshine of Your Love". Really! I know it sounds unlikely but it's true! It was in the wrong key, but there was no mistaking it. When I pointed it out to my wife she recognised it immediately. Now I don't know if this bird was a Cream fan, or whether it had been listening at the window as someone played "Disraeli Gears", but it continued with the same riff for several weeks as we sat in the sun, pruned the shrubs or picked the fruit. Then I heard it no more. Maybe, I thought, a cat that's a fan of Jimmy Page's Led Zeppelin period got it. But probably the breeding season ended and the need or desire to sing passed. Well, the other day, as I was taking photographs of tulips in the garden I thought I heard it again. In fact I'm sure I did. Now, every time I go out into the garden I listen, hoping that the avian version of "It's getting near dawn..." will spiral down to me from the top of the cherry tree!

Today's photograph is one of the shots I took when I heard that "blast from the past". I placed my camera low down and took a shot upwards, towards the sun. I knew I'd get the tulips and the trees, and I wanted the sun as well, but it was a shot in hope rather than expectation. However, the composition, colour and sunburst came out better than I expected, so I post the result here today.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 18mm (36mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f16
Shutter Speed: 1/640
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: Off