Vertical Form (St Ives) By Barbara Hepworth With Reflections

Vertical Form (St Ives), a bronze sculpture, with reflections
Vertical Form (St Ives) in the window of the Barbara Hepworth Museum

I do like this picture, although it has as many accidental elements as purposeful ones: layers, patterns, textural contrasts and red herrings.

Although I lined the sculpture up reasonably well with the r/h edge of the frame, the reflections make it look all catawampus. That doesn’t just allow me to use the word my sweetheart taught me (we would say ‘skew whiff’) but it also makes the picture seem more abstract. That seems fitting.

I tried cropping closer, but prefer the picture with the distractions in. They have an unsettling effect and they provide context for a bronze sculpture that has St Ives in its name.

I suspect the reflections of the houses humanise the bronze more than if the clean lines of a gallery were behind it. The sculpture seems to gaze out, watchfully or wistfully.

The colour combination is muted – natural stone, grey, plus a languid take on the traditional blue and white that symbolises Cornwall – helping the gleaming sculpture hold its own visually in the gallimaufry. Continue reading “Vertical Form (St Ives) By Barbara Hepworth With Reflections”

Pink Climbing Rose: An Exercise

HeyJude is running a photo challenge during 2020 on her Travel Words blog designed to get us thinking about the techniques of taking pictures. You can find out the details and monthly topics here. January’s topic is Composition and Framing. These crops are inspired by some of Jude’s instructions – I’ve added them in italics, so you know the intention.

Pink climbing rose at Harlow Carr

Clearly identify your subject. Not as easy as it might seem. The rose is my main interest, but the setting is worthy of attention too (around an oval opening on the curved outside fence of Diarmuid Gavin’s garden at RHS Harlow Carr), so I was slightly torn, wanting to give a glimpse of the inside.

It was an overcast summer evening. The curve of the wall and habit of the rose meant shooting into the light, creating a bright glare. The original picture has a few more inches of haze at the top, and bright light always draws the eye away from the subject. I’ve removed some of it with the effect that the crop is neither landscape, portrait or square. I like to keep the traditional proportions if I can, but throwing aside the rules and cropping any way the subject demands is often the difference between a poor picture and a decent one.

Move in closer to your subject, but not too close. While the flowers in the first picture were blobs, more of their character comes out here. Continue reading “Pink Climbing Rose: An Exercise”

So Many Challenges, So Little Time!

Faded advert on a garage wall
Faded advert on a garage wall

…and that’s excluding real world challenges, as this post is about blogging ones. These pictures were inspired by Nancy Merrill’s challenge: Textures.

Nancy is one of several community-spirited WordPress bloggers who fill the breach left by the late (still lamented) Daily Post Photo Challenge. I met many blogging buddies through the Daily Post and loved seeing their sometimes wildly individual takes on each subject. The official WordPress format made it a cinch to navigate. When the challenge ended I felt dispirited, not foreseeing that the mantle would pass to so many other hosts.

Cee Neuner maintains a useful list of WordPress challenges in the For The Love Of Challenges section of her blog. My hat’s off to Cee – her list is more inclusive and up to date than the Daily Post’s list ever was. She lists photography and writing challenges and I’ve just noticed a couple of musical ones are listed too, although I know from experience not to inflict my musical taste on anyone not similarly afflicted. 🙂

Continue reading “So Many Challenges, So Little Time!”

Blue Flowers

Blue poppies at RHS Harlow Carr Garden
Blue poppies

Regular readers will know of my fascination with blue poppies (meconopsis). My timing has been out and I’ve only seen the odd one or two this year so here’s a picture from Harlow Carr last year.

Blue delphiniums in the Jungle Fever Garden, Tatton Park Flower Show
Blue delphiniums

Sightings of delphiniums are always very welcome too, be they stocky little spires or towering ones. The lovely folk word ‘bee’ describes the petals at centre of each floret. The stocky delphiniums above have white bees and the ones below, lavender-blue ones.

Tall blue delphiniums at RHS Garden Rosemoor
Tall blue delphiniums at RHS Garden Rosemoor

This year hasn’t been a flower dearth – far from it. Rosemoor provided me with as many flowers as I could hope for, even setting aside the roses I shared a fortnight ago. and even though my capacity to hope for flowers is huge. Continue reading “Blue Flowers”