English Poppies

English Poppies: Photograph at Your Own Risk

I have to say that in Spring and early Summer the English countryside is a beauty to behold.  In May the English landscape was a patchwork of golden-yellow rapeseed fields.  In June it was dotted with gorgeous scarlet poppy fields. But, unlike the golden rapeseed fields which are everywhere you turn, the poppy fields are like little secret gems that you randomly stumble across.  I honestly didn’t even know I was supposed to be looking for them or that they even existed until my photographer friend said she was on the hunt for them for a bridal shoot.  Even after almost three years, I learn something new about England every day.

I finally found time to shoot some photos of a poppy field I had found nearby but I have to say I’m pretty disappointed with most of my shots.  I think it’s easy to get into habits with your camera settings if you shoot the same subject the majority of the time.  And then when you do something a little different, it’s easy to forget the fundamentals.  Like just because you shoot wide open most of the time because you’re shooting people doesn’t mean that is in any way appropriate for wide landscapes.  And, when you do that, most of your photos will be horribly out of focus.  So, my close up shots were ok but the wide-angle shots are nowhere near what I would call “tack sharp.”

Also, besides going out in the blazing sunshine I chose completely inappropriate footwear.  If you’re going to take a wander in a farmer’s field with waist-high vegetation, flip-flops are really not your best choice.  I wanted to wade deeper into the sea of red but felt that was inadvisable.

Field of Scarlet

Not sure I can even tell where the focus point was

Poppies Up Close

Lots of red here but mostly out of focus

Reach for the Sun

Up close and back in the comfort zone

Lessons learned from my first attempt, a new field found, and desperate to capture a good wide-angle shot of the expanse of red, I ventured forth with my tennis shoes.  This time however, the footpath ended well before I got to the field I wanted to shoot and I found myself again wading though a thicket of vegetation.  And, while I had addressed my footwear issue, I failed to understand that I should have worn body armour as well.  Stinging nettles on the arm, ouch!

For the wide-angle shots on this trip, I paid much more attention to using small apertures so that most of the shot would be in focus. Regretfully, even the power lines.  Still didn’t really get what I wanted to achieve with a wide-angle shot, but now I’ll be ready when next year’s poppy season rolls around.  And, will have purchased some Kevlar clothing and steel toe boots.

Another Scarlet Field

Much better focus, still couldn't get close enough

Two of a Kind

Sometimes simple is good

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  • Reply Laura Williams July 6, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    First and last definitely my favorites! x

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