Late in May I made the traditional visit to Holwell Lawn on Dartmoor for the usual outrageous display of Bluebells. Most images we all make of the ‘bells were cliches a decade ago, and even more so now, but I still go because just witnessing that sudden dah-daaah moment when they suddenly appear lifts me. They’re all gone now, as we enter mid-June.
I shared a couple of images on Twitter and Facebook which I like, but which I’ll readily admit are not exactly groundbreaking examples of original composition. But I still do like them because they celebrate the sheer gorgeousness of the misty morning light and the freshness of the flowers and trees. The full frame format captures every little detail of each flower, each leaf of tree, and doesn’t exaggerate any of the colours. Here they are:
Midway through the walk I decided that Penny (our Cocker Spaniel) deserved, after a rotten winter’s poor health, to paddle again in a Dartmoor stream, and Becka Brook was just beneath us; I was sure Penny would be well enough to descend to it. Just a few moments into the scramble down I saw some of the mist clear over in the direction of Saddle Tor and Rippon Tor. There was a steady breeze, making some branches waft gently, the ‘bells were vibrant against the travelling mist, and the light was revealing gentle detail in the lime greens of the fresh new growth all around me. I think I stood there watching the whole scene unveiling itself for a full ten minutes, absolutely relishing the zinginess of the morning, the new life insisting on my attention. It occurred to me then that I should perhaps photograph it! So here is that moment. I’ve worked hard to get the greens and blues just right, and I like the movement in some of the young leaves. In my original (I’ve just printed this to A3) I enjoy searching out the little details in the faint tor outlines at the top of the image, and the teeny young trees just beneath it. It would surprise me if this photograph meant anything much to anyone else, but to me this is the perfect, fresh-as-cut-lemons moment when I took Penny for a well-deserved paddle at the end of Spring on the moor.
I can understand why, as a photographer, you feel bluebells are a cliche, but they are so briefly with us, and so beautiful when they are, I always like to see images of them. For me, good photographs work like Wordsworth’s writing about daffodils did for him, bringing “emotion recollected in tranquility”. Maybe it’s working like that for you too.
I love these photographs, particularly the first one.
Thank you Daphne. I remember a couple of years ago a jaded photographer posting around 20 Bluebell photos on her website based entire on cliches she’d identified over the years. They all kind of worked nevertheless, but were diminished by her deliberate intent to illustrate the pitfalls… I’ll just continue to visit each year and try to capture just a bit of the simple joy I feel when I see them.