Sunday, July 26, 2009

Photographic droughts and New Zealand Flax

click photo to enlarge
Sometimes I go through a photographic "dry period", a time when I point the camera at what should be a fertile subject, but produce nothing that I like. It's been a bit like that for me lately. The danger when you enter such a phase is that you start to look harder, to widen your search area, to go to places you know to be productive of good images. Well, that might work for some people, but it doesn't work for me.

I've said before in this blog that when you can't find photographs it's a good idea to stop looking for them: that way they're quite likely to find you. And so it proved today. We've been extending our vegetable plot recently. When we'd finished turning over the soil my wife went to thin the raspberry canes and I took the wheelbarrow to cut the flower spikes off a couple of the New Zealand flaxes. These tall stems, six to eight feet high, flowered some time ago and now have long seed pods. The weight of these makes the spikes angle downwards and look quite unsightly. So I began lopping them off and filling the wheelbarrow. As I tipped the first load I looked again at the stems I'd chopped and was struck by the interesting mixture of colours. When seen singly, poking up through the "architectural" leaves of the flax they weren't very striking, but in a bundle they were quite beautiful. So, when I went back to my lopping I carefully selected a few colourful, well-marked sections, laid them together on the garden table and took a few shots. The green, purple, red and blue of the stems next to the brown of the dying leaves makes an image that pleases me. And I'm all the happier because the image sought me out rather than the other way round!

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 35mm macro, (70mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/160
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On