Monday, May 10, 2010


click photo to enlarge
It struck me as somewhat odd that the Conservative Party's slogan in the recent election campaign was "Vote for Change!" Isn't conservatism about resisting change, about lamenting the disappearance of the "good old days" when the Great in Great Britain was an adjective as well as a noun, the streets were a safe place to park your Bentley, and the poor tugged their forelocks and raised their flat caps to their Tory-voting betters?

That imagined past, of course, was a time when oilseed rape wasn't the feature of the English landscape that it is today. There are many - mainly conservatives with a small "c" - who deplore the yellowing of England's "green and pleasant land" and see the crop as an alien intruder. However, anyone who thinks that Britain's landscape always looked as it did fifty or even a hundred years ago - the usual time frame when gazing fondly backwards - doesn't appreciate that our farmland is constantly evolving. In the past two hundred years Lincolnshire has increased its arable acreage and reduced its pasture: animals are much less in evidence than formerly. Fields have, on the whole, increased in size, and thousands of miles of hedges have disappeared, with those that remain being much more manicured than previously. Farms have increased in size too, so fewer farmsteads are to be seen. Some crops - hemp, woad, flax for example - have either disappeared or feature in greatly reduced acreages. On the Fens the growing of flowers commercially is a relatively recent phenomenon, as is the use of plastic on vegetables to hastening growth in spring. A farmer of seventy five years ago, surveying Lincolnshire's landscape today would notice enormous changes. But, if he were sent back seventy five years before his time he would see similarly great differences.

I like to see the yellow fields that are currently in full bloom. I find them uplifting in the same way that I do a field of poppies. Moreover, as a photographer I find their bright glow extends the palette that I have to work with. In a couple of weeks the oilseed rape will have faded to green, but while the fields are here in their day-glo brightness I'm taking advantage of them. I hope you like yellow! Today's shot is a detail of a few oilseed fields in a gently rolling piece of countryside where they abut hedges and land that is given over to winter wheat. I liked the contribution that the tracks through the crop made to this image.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 150mm (300mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/1000
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On