Sunday, June 14, 2009

Golden Poppies for a Cold Summer Day

(Click on the thumbnail for the bigger, better version)

Since the poppies came into bloom weeks ago, I have had in mind how I wanted to photograph them. Foolishly, I fell into the old trap of stubbornly clinging to that image in my mind and waiting for the right time to get those photographs. Nature has had an entirely different plan—presenting us with an unseasonably cold June and an unusual amount of early evening clouds. Day after day, new roadblocks. When the light was right, the wind was howling. If the wind was not blowing and the light was nice, the poppies were not quite open or had already closed for the evening.

Today, I finally let go of the images in my mind and took photographs of the poppies we have: windblown poppies on a June day when the temperature probably never made it to 65 degrees. I experimented with 1/2500 shutter speed to see if I could get anything; and, even though I moved very little, the wind was blowing fast enough that I got several compositions within a few seconds. I ended up with one that was surprisingly sharp; but, in the end, it is the softness of this frame that feels right to me. Not the poppies I was waiting for, but the poppies I was offered.


  1. Funny! Sitting here reading this and thinking about the wind, I was thinking: Why didn't she just get the tripod out, or brace herself, use a slow shutter speed, and let the poppies pain themselves? :-)

    You hit on a very salient point: It is very difficult to see anything when we are looking to see something specific. Most times, our expectations completely blind us. Completely. I'm very good at this, not only in photography, but in life!

    I'm glad that you were able to look past your 'ideal' and see that which was before you. The poppies appreciate that! :-)

  2. "...I finally let go of the images in my mind and took photographs of the poppies we have..."

    I've found I take better photos when I turn my mind off. Of course there are those who would be surprised to know it is ever on! ~grin~

    The colors in the photo of the poppies are lovely. The earthen browns and greens give life to the bright yellow of the poppies and I like the softness as gives them energy!

    By the way, how is Lancer doing with his recover?

  3. Paul - In respose to your question: "Why didn't she just get the tripod out, or brace herself, use a slow shutter speed, and let the poppies pain themselves? :-)"

    Mostly because she was out photographing the horses with a heavy lens and too darn lazy to walk alllll the way inside to get the tripod and set it up. But, partly, because she is still learning to see.:)

    It is amusing, isn't it, that this is a lesson that we keep learning, over and over? Still, I admit that I don't always appreciate the humorous side of this particular journey.

  4. Earl - I know exactly what you mean about a mind that can get in the way. And, your comment about turning your mind off made me laugh. Thanks for my morning "funny".

    I am so glad you like the poppies. I wondered if they only pleased me because they were relatively sharp, and I really didn't expect them to be.

    Thanks for asking about Lancer. I appreciate your concern and feel bad about not having done a follow up. He appears to be fine. We are greatly relieved. Still, we have no real hope that he will stop pestering Night. He appears to be determined to continue asking for trouble.

    I have been crazy the last several days and haven't read up on Foster's health. I hope all is well with him.

  5. Earl - P.S. I hope it's obvious that I meant crazy busy in that last paragraph. Maybe, it needs explaining? Freudian slip, maybe?

  6. Anita: I didn't read anything into the crazy comment. Besides, I'm not sure I have a firm rock to stand on.

    Glad to hear about Lancer.

    Foster went almost three weeks without sezure and then had two within 90 minutes this past Saturday. We started him on phenobarbital that very day and find ourselves in a holding pattern for the moment. One of the temporary side effects is its made his hind quarters weak and wobbly. He's walking around the house like a little drunk sailor. Being build like a short muscular Bassethound, it's actually kinda funny to watch. We'll have his blood checked in two weeks and adjust the dose as needed. He'll be on this probably the rest of his life--lucky it's generic and inexpensive. It could be a lot worst!

  7. Earl - That must be you on that other shaky rock—the one next to mine. :)

    I can't tell you how sorry I am to hear about Foster. It's small comfort; but, as you said, I suppose the situation could be far worse. I hope your poor little "drunk sailor" adjusts to the medication and has a long and happy life. He is lucky to be so loved and well cared for.

  8. @Anita: LOL! Walk alllll the way back the house! :-) I got a good chuckle out of that!!! Regardless, you got a great picture, so no loss whatsoever!

    Also, I am very glad to hear that Lancer is doing better. Sure, he'll keep pestering Night, but it's just the way that he is built! You can ask a tiger to change his stripes, now can you? He's just really into horseplay! I'd like to meet that fellow one day!

  9. Paul - I had hoped you would join me in laughing at myself. Sometimes, I just shake my head and wonder about my actions.

    When you make your trip to California, you will have to put Lancer and Night on your list of important meetings. I can promise that this tiger will not have changed his stripes

  10. I love poppies. I so wish we had them growing wild in this area.

  11. Mark - They are one of my favorites. I relish the time that they are in bloom.


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