Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Down among the hostas

click photos to enlarge

Grass, tree roots, flowers, insects, leaves, the kerb edge, paving stones, holes, pebbles, sticks. Like many children I spent much of my childhood in close proximity to these things. One of the regrets of growing up is that you leave them behind. You become taller and much farther away from them. Your view changes, from your immediate, low-level surroundings, outwards to school, to the next road, the next town, next week, and to the rest of the world of grown-ups.

One of the joys of the macro lens is that it can make you feel like a child again. It encourages the exploration of the minutiae that surrounds us, and often takes us down into the low-lying regions that we last looked at when we were small. For some photographers it becomes an obsession, with the camera trained on (particularly) every passing insect. For me, the shapes, patterns and colours that this kind of lens reveals make for exciting compositions without the need to leave my home and garden.

The part of Lincolnshire in which I now live had been without rain for the past four weeks. Plants were suffering. So, when the weather broke, and rain fell, bringing relief to farmers and gardeners alike, the photographer in me also felt relieved that I could now look for shots with glistening highlights. I spotted these wet hostas from my living room window, and rushed out to photograph them as soon as the rain stopped, bending down low and close to get a child's-eye view of the patterns made by the leaf veins and water drops. I fired off a dozen or so shots, and couldn't decide which of these two compositions I liked best.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 35mm macro (70mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f8.0
Shutter Speed: 1/60 (1/100)
ISO: 200 (400)
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On