Saturday, October 10, 2009

Puzzles and perplexities

click photo to enlarge
I must admit to being puzzled and perplexed by many aspects of the modern world. The other day I was skipping through a mental list of them. Here, for your amusement and edification are just a few from my extensive collection:
  • "personalised" car number plates: what's that all about, and why would you pay extra to have them?
  • upgrading mobile phones: I'm given to understand that some people do this every 12 or 18 months, a fact that leaves my gast completely flabbered
  • paying a premium price for clothing that has advertisements on it: surely anyone in their right mind should be asking for a discount on a garment when the word ADIDAS, GAP or MONSOON is emblazoned across it?
  • tucking laces into shoes rather than fastening them: who is responsible for that daft idea, what was his IQ, and why did people take any notice?
  • why can't I buy shoes with soles made with the same rubber as my car tyres? that way they wouldn't wear out when the uppers are still looking good for several thousand more miles
  • women wearing sun glasses on top of their head whatever the weather: have they lost their case, have they lost their marbles, or are they just optimists who always expect the sun to shine on them?
And then there's golf! Try as I might I can't understand why, among all the possible pastimes that mankind has come up with, anyone should choose golf. The premise of the game seems to be that getting a very small ball into a very small hole, in the smallest number of hits, with implements whose design makes that task even more difficult, is a worthwhile way to spend time. I can see that it certainly fills time, but to what end? All that happens is you get better at doing something that was always ridiculous in the first place. The enthusiasts say, "Ah, but you're out in the fresh air getting exercise." Well that's true, but you can get that more gainfully in many other ways - country walking, bird watching, photography(!), and anyway, Mark Twain's "a good walk spoiled" is the last word on that defence. Friendly competition and socialising are also proferred in support, but most social games - darts, snooker, tennis, bowling, etc - offer that. And don't get me started on the despoiling of the land by habitat destruction, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and the like. No, golf is a completely closed book to me.

However, it's possible to get a photograph out of most situations, and golf is no exception. Today's - only my second golf-related photograph ever (here's my first) - was taken as I walked up the drive (it's also a public footpath) of the National Golf Centre in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire. The yellow morning light was filtering and slicing through the trees, burning off a slight frost, and producing areas that glowed warmly, contrasting with the blue hue of the places still in the shade. A recent wind had produced an early fall of leaves that were turning russet on the ground, and a gentler breeze was now dislodging one or two more as we made our way through the golf courses, photographing and noting the wildlife at the start of our walk.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 64mm (128mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/150
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On