Friday, June 08, 2012

The year's first water lily

click photo to enlarge
It's a truism believed by many photographers (and ignored or disbelieved by even more) that your best photographs are usually shots of subjects with which you are deeply familiar. Many respected photographers specialise in places, subjects or genres and are acclaimed for their work within their self-imposed limits. I tend to be a generalist in all areas of my life, including photography. However, I do deliberately take many photographs of my immediate locality and know from years of experience that this is a rewarding and creative approach to picture making. Only by walking familiar routes repeatedly at different times of day and year, in different kinds of weather, do you see all the potential photographs that surround you.

My garden pond and the annual cycle of growth, maturity and decay displayed by its water lilies is a subject that I return to several times a year. As I've said elsewhere, I especially like the photographs that I've taken in spring and autumn over those when the beautiful yellow and white flowers are blooming. But that's not to say that I don't take shots of them. This year I watched the first leaves appear, then the stalks and buds emerge under water and slowly extend until they broke through into the air. The first bloom opened properly on June 4th and I took a few shots of it.

The main photograph is the obvious image of this subject showing the characteristic flower in its watery context. However, I'd earlier taken the morning shot against the light, after rain, before the petals were fully open. I think I prefer this one. For completeness I've included a photograph taken only three weeks earlier on May 14th when buds and blooms were nowhere to be seen, and the leaves had the characteristic brown that they exhibit when they are newly appeared.

photograph and text © T. Boughen

Photo 1
Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 228mm
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/250
ISO: 125
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On