Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Deere and turtle doves

click photo to enlarge
A while ago someone I know told me that her farmer son had taken delivery of a new combine harvester. "What colour is it?" I asked. When I heard it was green I said, "Tell him he bought the wrong colour!" I have no interest in the make of farm machinery, so my observation wasn't prompted by any loyalty to, say, Massey Ferguson over John Deere. It's simply that, as any photographer knows, a red combine harvester munching its way across a field of wheat makes a better photograph than a green one: red has more visual punch, and even a distant shot of a combine painted red has weight in a composition.

And, what goes for combine harvesters goes for tractors too. I took a few shots of this green tractor pulling its harrow of tines and discs across the stubble of a harvested Fenland wheat field, but only in those photographs with the machine relatively near the camera did the tractor have sufficent visual weight to give compositional balance for the dominant wind turbines.

That afternoon's photographic outing produced little of worth in terms of images, but did prove interesting ornithologically speaking. Driving along a dead straight drove road I came upon a wood pigeon and what appeared to be a couple of collared doves that were reluctant to take flight from the tarmac. As I got nearer the colours and markings of the smaller birds revealed them to be turtle doves (Streptopelia turtur). In the UK this species is the most rapidly declining farmland bird. Numbers have fallen by 70% since the mid-1990s. The intensification of farming and continental hunting are thought to be the cause of the reduction in numbers. Consequently I was thrilled to see this pair, quite late in the season in the intensively farmed Lincolnshire Fens just before they depart for warmer southern climes.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 80mm
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/640
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On