Friday, February 22, 2013

Crowland willows and cyclists

click photo to enlarge
"He that plants trees loves others besides himself."
Thomas Fuller (1654 1734), English physician and writer

When I took today's photograph I was concentrating on achieving a composition that included the line of pollarded willows and the fast approaching pair of cyclists. The sunny afternoon was reason enough to stop off at Crowland on the Lincolnshire Fens, and I gravitated towards this particular place just outside the village because I'd photographed here before without any great success. A distant walker proved to be too far away to be useful to the composition I wanted, so I asked my wife to walk ahead to provide the human interest that I felt the shot needed. However, as she did so the cyclists came into view and I had just enough time to change lenses, raise the camera to my eye and fire off a few shots before they whizzed past me with a few cheery words. I'm reasonably pleased with the outcome, despite the road being dotted with freshly fallen soil from a tractor and plough that passed a couple of minutes earlier, and a little of the water-tower showing against the sky.

It wasn't until I brought the photograph up on my computer that I looked really carefully at the line of trees. And, when I did so, the quotation above by Thomas Fuller immediately came to mind. Whoever planted the large willows in this row by the side of the water (just visible on the extreme left) must have had a vision of what it would achieve and the public spirit to offer it to future generations, because, as Fuller's quote implies, trees take a long time to come to maturity and full beauty, and this is frequently after the planter has shuffled off this mortal coil. But, my photograph revealed more. In between the old trees are newly planted youngsters that must be the next-generation-in-waiting. Clearly someone else has an eye to the future of this location too, knows that the existing trees have limited lives, and have generously planted knowing that it won't be them who sees the trees when they reach their full beauty.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 300mm
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/250
ISO: 160
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On