Monday, October 11, 2010

Fading water lily leaves

click photo to enlarge
Until I moved to my current house I'd never observed water lilies especially closely. One of the places I worked at had a pond with a few, but I didn't have the time to keep an eye on their growth cycle in the way that I do with the ones that now grow in my own garden.

Over the winter there is no evidence of water lilies above the surface, and it's pretty difficult to see anything of the plant below the murky water. However, when spring appears the shoots and unfurling leaves, brownish to start with, make an appearance. Around June the characteristic white flowers with yellow middles decorate the pond. This year the biggest number in bloom at any one time in my pond was fourteen. Once the flowers have gone the leaves grow with luxurious abandon, pushing up out of the water and spreading across the surface. If they weren't kept in hand they would cover the the pond completely. Then, in September and October the leaves begin to fade. The green turns to yellow, the edges become ragged, and holes appear. Patches of red and brown then appear in the mix, and towards the end a colour close to purple can appear. In some respects I think that the death throes of the water lily can be every bit as attractive as when they are in full flower. In fact, when I look at the photographs I've posted of the leaves, it is this fading and dying stage that is most represented.

Today's photograph, taken on an overcast morning when the colour was quite saturated, is yet another one, and its appearance on the blog has got me wondering. Is the fixation with photographing water lily leaves on their last legs a morbid affliction or at the very least a known medical condition? Have I got a touch of the Monets?!

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 94mm (186mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/200
ISO: 200
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On