But I'm loath to slide right back to the bottom of DSLR Photography mountain, and I have the house to myself this week, enough time to putter my way back to enthusiasm for learning. Yesterday, I hauled out my coursenotes and reminded myself about Aperture settings -- f-stops and depth of field. Stunning how quickly the camera toggles and little wheels and various buttons become foreign, but I think I've nudged myself again out of a complacent reliance on the Auto setting. Still much more to be done on controlling lighting and contrast and shadow and framing, among other elements, but for now, I'm happy just to feel some kinaesthetic memory developing. . .
I did make it back to the garden as well, though. . . Spring has sent in the reconnaissance team, and is in the process of setting up camp. We often get our big snowfall of the year in February, so these blooms may end up under a foot of snow before Spring truly arrives. In the meantime, though, I'm soaking up their colours and shapes and fragrances (and the corollary benefits of the hummingbirds and bees they've been drawing).
|I love this Mahonia japonica for its buttery flowers, their delicious fragrance -- so very welcome in dull January and February -- and for the shiny jagged sculpture of their leaves, the contrasting red stems. . . .|
|The flowers of this Viburnum Tinus 'Spring Bouquet' haven't opened yet, but the metallic blue berries with, again, contrasting red stems make such a pretty picture. . .|
|If you know Hellebores, you'll know that I had to get on my belly to get the camera lens underneath and aiming upward to capture this shy bloom. . . Worth it!|
|Cheap and cheerful -- I'm not sure there's much that gives as much satisfaction for such a low price as a bag of crocus bulbs... Especially since they naturalise prodigiously. . .|
These white crocuses (I'm sorry, despite my years of high school Latin, "croci" just doesn't sit well) amuse me so, looking so much like eggshells opening, in a bed of straw, to reveal their sunny yolks (the straw is from the dried blades of a neighbouring ornamental grass that I allow to stay in place as mulch over the winter).
That was such fun, really, and I'm beginning to remember a few things about the camera settings. I'm also remembering how fortunate I am to live in the midst of so much natural beauty -- Rome's architecture, its extravagant energies, its warm colours with the patina of centuries are marvelous, but there are marvels right out my back door as well. . .And while Rome's history is linear, events signposted by art and architecture, resurrected by archaeology, remembered in literature, the Natural History of my back yard is reassuringly cyclical, mesmerisingly repetitive, variations on a rhythmic theme that stirs something atavistic in us if we only slow down and observe. . .
Enough. This is supposed to be a Word-less post. . . But that directive is not meant for you -- Your words are always very welcome here. Comments? Thoughts?