Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Leaves on a Vine - Using Depth of Field

I love watching plants grow. I like to make a couple trips a day out to my garden and just kind of check things out. I'll lean forward against the fence and observe the progress of the tomatoes, see how the cucumbers are coming, and see if the peppers are turning colors yet. I'm fascinated that all of these plants have sprung forth from these tiny seeds that we stuck in the soil and watered once in a while, avoided stepping on, and occasionally pulled a weed or two to feed to the chickens.

I've got a friend that runs her own sugar house and small farm featuring lots of heritage breed animals and vegetables where I often turn for advice with my forays into the agricultural world. I stopped by her farm this evening to photograph some very rare heritage breed chickens that she has. When the birds had tired of my intrusion, I just walked around the vegetable patches looking at the plants. Ten foot tall sunflowers over here, tomato plants bending under the weight of their fruit over there, and strawberries still producing fruit over there. What really caught my eye next were the bright orange orbs in the pumpkin patch. Big and round and tangerine colored, the pumpkins are ready for harvest weeks earlier than usual. As I walked through the pumpkins and came into the squash area, I was amazed at the new leaves still spiraling out of the vines and their leggy tendrils reaching out for something to grab like Jules Verne's giant octopus in "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea".

©2010 Scott Bulger, All Rights Reserved
ISO 400 ----- 60mm ----- f3.2 ----- 1/90

Each leaf was twisting forth, straining to break the grip of the other leaves, and spread itself out where it could battle for the sunlight that it would need to feed the rest of the plant. The intricate web of veins protruding from the back of the leaves, carrying moisture that the roots had extracted from the earth.

I used a large aperture to give me the shallow depth of field that would separate this group of leaves from the rest of the tangled vines and leaves that were only inches away. This shallow depth of field also provides a three dimensional feel to a very two dimensional thing; a flat computer monitor or a printed image on a piece of substrate.

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