Sunday, June 21, 2015

Ferns, fanatics and abstruse names

click photo to enlarge
It's common to find jobs and professions using technical and abstruse language to exclude the lay person and as an attempt to increase the mystique, status and hence income associated with their activity. It's a subject I've touched on before on this blog. What I don't understand, however, is why hobbyists also fall victim to this malady.

I suppose there are some who seek to maintain a level of exclusivity, or wish to elevate their past-time into something grander than it might appear. But it's also true that hobbyists join together in clubs and societies, and that many of these struggle to achieve the numbers required to make them vibrant and effective. Obscure names don't help with this. Why, for example, do some people call themselves campanologists rather than bell-ringers (which others are quite happy to use)? What benefit arises from the more obscure name? Or what about the numismatists and philatelists? What's wrong with coin and stamp collectors that they need to label themselves with names that many will not connect with their  hobby? And then there are the pteridologists of the British Pteridological Society. "What and who?" I hear you say. Or perhaps not, because today's photograph is a heavy clue to what pteridology might involve. It is, of course, the study of ferns. Quite why the English word needs to be supplanted by a word of Greek origin in the name of this society I'm not sure but it's a common feature of many such groups.

Today's photograph shows a fern, and I'm sure that any British pteridologists could give it its proper name. I can't. I simply photographed it for the way the light was falling on its very regular fronds and how I thought it might look when converted to black and white.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Olympus E-M10
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 45mm (90mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f1.8
Shutter Speed: 1/2500 sec
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On