Fickle Spring

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Spring feels like it’s getting off to a slow start around Bellingham this year. I had to scrape frost of my windshield on Tuesday morning, and high temperatures have remained in the mid-40s. Our daffodils are continuing to look good — a blaze of gold in the corner garden. It must be too cold for the slugs as they haven’t been eating many blossoms this year.

Daffodils and Sage in spring garden
We can go from sun to cloud and back to sun again quickly. The two different kinds of light make for different feelings in a photo of the same subject. On the left, Monday afternoon sun. On the right, Wednesday afternoon cloudy skies. One captures the brilliance of spring in a sunny garden; the other a more mellow feeling under softer light.

Neither approach is “right” or “wrong.” They’re just different. It’s a little harder to control highlight detail under sunny skies, and a high noon sun is distinctly not flattering to most subjects, including gardens. It’s easier to shoot under cloudy skies, but if I made all my garden photos under those conditions there would be a certain sameness that’s not very interesting. Backlight under sunny conditions helps outline shapes and gives a stronger sense of depth and dimension. Frontlight would not be as interesting.

Both of these images were made in part as camera tests. The one on the left with a Canon 1Ds Mk II that was acting erratically and ended up going to the shop for diagnosis and repair. The one on the right with a brand-new, just out of the box Canon 5D. The new camera felt immediately comfortable and makes a nice file that integrates well into my existing workflow. It’s smaller and lighter than the big brick 1DsII, which has been my workhorse for a couple of years. Will the new camera become the primary and the old the backup? Only time will tell.

Planting Peas

I finally got peas in the ground yesterday. We grow Oregon Sugar Pod II from Territorial Seed Company on the wire fence bordering our vegetable plot. I’d weeded and spaced up the bed quite a while ago, but never got around to planting. I soaked the seeds inside for several hours to encourage faster germination, a technique we’ve used for several years. Our legume innoculant was old, but I used it anyway. I wonder if it really expires? Maybe I’ll plant some more peas on the fence along the sidewalk where I’d hoped to grow sweet peas (old seeds never germinated).

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