Tulips In Sunlight

Bright orange and yellow tulips

These tulips were so bold and brilliant that I had to leap out of the car as I passed to try to capture them. 

It’s never wise to take a shot knowing full well it won’t turn out, yet I often do it, half-hoping I will be wrong. That feeling – too fleeting to be called a mood, but with something of the mood about it – is a double whammy. Not only are the odds stacked in some way against the shot, in this case by the intense midday light, but also the foreboding certainty of failure means you’re unlikely to invest the time and thought needed to get the shot right. You just squeeze off a quick shot in a half-embarrassed fashion, in the way you might spend a pound on a lottery ticket.

I tried. I failed. The weight of the twigs which the eye simply ignores or looks through dominates the original shot. It’s crooked (duh!) and it doesn’t really have a subject.

Yet I couldn’t delete the shot and still felt inclined to share the picture. Surely the brightly coloured orange and yellow petals in all that uplifting sunshine ought not to go to waste?

I thought, not for the first time, of Samuel Beckett’s line: “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”, and I turned to Photoshop to see if the artifice of a filter could give back the image some of its radiant beauty.

In some ways, it does. The twigs, simplified by the program, create an effect like batik fabric or modern stained glass. The lack of a main subject or hero flower fades in importance as the image is flattened. It all starts to feel more like a pattern than a picture.

One day I’ll get a better shot of tulips in sunlight, but until then, this will serve as a small spark of inspiration.

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