Saturday, May 08, 2010

A pleasant lane

click photo to enlarge
Householders vary in how they present their property to the world. A few seem oblivious of the state of their fences, gardens, paintwork, etc, the whole appearance being barely a step up from the municipal tip. Most take a pride in making something that is pleasing to the eye, tidy, and easily managed. Then there are a few where you suspect the owner is at some point on the autistic spectrum: houses that are obsessively pristine, regimented, with not a blade of grass out of place, alyssum and lobelia alternating alongside the path, and concrete that has been repeatedly power-washed until it is as clean as the day it was laid.

So it is with farmers too. Wherever I've lived I've seen the odd farm that is a complete eyesore, with redundant vehicles rusting behind dilapidated barns, pot-holed tracks, gap-toothed hedges and scruffy famhouses. One wonders whether someone who takes so little care over such things manages to farm with anything approaching efficiency or profitability. Most farms, of course, are tidy and efficient. Where there is an owner who places a value on environmental management, as well as crops and livestock, it is often apparent in hedges that are allowed to grow in a more natural way, or in carefully managed, uncultivated field border strips. And quite a few farms are very well-presented, with pleasant entrances, care taken over the planting around the farmhouse, farm buildings that are well-maintained, and fields that show the mark of regular attention. I may be wrong, but where I come across these I often suspect the influential hand of a woman.

I was reflecting on such things the other afternoon when I went out to take a few landscape photographs. I drove to this particular lane because I'd seen it on a couple of previous occasions and felt that in the right circumstances it might offer an image. What had struck me was the pleasing line of trees by the road-side. They are mixed species and relatively recent. It's not unusual to find roads and lanes lined with trees, but in England these are usually in the vicinity of towns, villages and hamlets. The example in the photograph put me in mind of France where this is a more common sight in open country of the kind found around Folkingham in Lincolnshire. Whoever planted the trees is to be commended because they enhance this lane. I was pleased to come upon it with yellow oilseed rape adding a touch of vibrant colour and a cloudy sky with fast-moving clouds revealing the sun and throwing shadows on the fields. It allowed me to gather a photograph that I - and maybe you - find a welcome change from my recent output.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 40mm (80mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/800
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On