Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Water lilies and femmes fatale

click photo to enlarge
The femme fatale with her beguiling beauty is something of a cliche. A classic example in art is "The Beguiling of Merlin" by Sir Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898), the Pre-Raphaelite painter and designer. This well-known piece shows the femme fatale, Nimue, luring the powerless Merlin. In religion, history, literature and film this figure abounds too, in women such as of Salome, Delilah, Cleopatra and Mae West.

The other day it occurred to me that there are flowers with something of the femme fatale about them. I was photographing rhododendrons in the Yorkshire Dales. These were introduced into England from Asia by the Victorians because of their large and beautiful flowers. Their exotic beauty resulted in them being planted in far too many locations and receiving too little management, with the consequence that they now constitute a weed in many woods throughout the country.

The same is true of a number of water plants including the beautiful water lily. Some lakes and pond have been choked by these lovely plants that were introduced by well-meaning people seeking to add a little colour and elevate the appearance of nondescript stretches of water.

This year my small pond has fourteen water lily flowers in bloom, as many as I've seen at one time. However, once the display has finished we will be cutting back the plants otherwise they will cover the whole of the surface of the water with their round leaves. I took this photograph of one of the flowers after a short, sharp shower had cleared to reveal broken clouds and a little blue sky. The water droplets and the reflected blue seemed to set off the perfect flower very nicely.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 140mm macro (280mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/500
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On