Monday, July 21, 2008

Lines in the landscape

click photo to enlarge
This year I've made quite a few images of tractor lines in cereal fields. I've posted a couple of examples here and here, but I've taken many more. I'm not absolutely sure why this interest has arisen. I think it's something to do with the temporary superimposition of the marks of man on the perfect surface of the field. The fact that the lines are parallel, and that each pair of tracks is, except for those near the field boundaries, the same distance from the next pair, gives them an interesting regularity.

Another reason for my fascination is to do with how you can see the world through a camera. The narrower field of view of a longer focal length lens allows the photographer to isolate part of what is seen. This presents a number of opportunities. It can be a device to concentrate the viewer's attention on to something. It also allows, by the exclusion of surrounding distractions, the composition of a simplified image. And it enables you to create odd looking images from familiar scenes and objects. The lines in the landscape in today's image combines the last two of these.

Thinking further about the photograph, I probably wouldn't have taken the shot if the lines didn't appear to start in the middle of the field, and if they hadn't begun with that small wiggle! So here's a "thank you" to the tractor driver on the rolling hills of Lincolnshire whose slightly wandering attention produced these slightly wandering lines!

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 43mm (86mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f11
Shutter Speed: 1/250
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On