A day for walking through summer fields with a lady in an orange sun-hat…
As she came downstairs, I could sense that Liz was a little wary about my reaction to the hat. There was no need for any apprehension however, as she looked lovely. It was a hat amongst hats; strident and jolly and at the same time delicate and feminine – rather like its wearer.
The main purpose of our walk was to find and photograph a dandelion clock, just as one of the little ‘parachute’ seeds was leaving its round white head. I needed it as the end shot of a video I was compiling to the song/hymn “Morning has Broken”
The plan was for Liz to hold the dandelion clock with one hand, whilst blowing a short sharp breath, so that one seed would “take off” Easier said than done – Liz seemed to have an excess of breath, and whole lumps of seeds began breaking off - looking more like an expression of demolition than the gentle indication of re-incarnation I had intended.
I began to play the highly-strung film-director…
"No Darling, you haven’t got the technique…"
"No no, try again with more SENSITIVITY!!"
By this time Liz was giggling and so was I – the shot I had envisioned receded into the realms of impossibility, especially as we seemed to have used up all the most symmetrical clocks – only a few weedy misshapen specimens remained…
…I looked around the field – It was truly a piece of old England. It was the England of my dreams, with it’s long grasses and gentle trees and hedges. I asked Liz to stand in amongst the grass, which I could see would come up to her shoulders.
Liz has always been my Muse with my photography. She has a rare ability to be totally natural in front of a camera and at the same time, to compliment the setting she is in and also to bring something spiritual of herself. Maybe I am biased – after all, I have photographed the lady for 45 years but for me she has a certain charisma…a certain magic.
That is not to say that she is an easy subject. My request to “stand over there” was greeted with “Oh no, I haven’t done my hair” and “Just photograph the scene” and her favourite, “Oh Dear!”
I looked at the scene. Shakespeare stood waiting amongst the waving grass, with a sonnet to compose...
Liz adjusted her beautiful hat and walked, 'tut-tutting', to join him in the long waving stalks...
She then looked down shyly to prepare the moment
William smiled as she looked up...
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Wm.Shakespeare ~ Sonnet 18
I almost always know when I have got the shot – I think we all do. It’s a tingle and then I know.
One shot I had not got however was the dandelion clock.
I think Liz noticed it at first as we made our way back across the field. It was the most beautiful one of all and we had somehow overlooked it…
I gently pinched the stalk between my thumb and first finger and handed it to Liz who began to look apprehensive at the prospect of the return of the eccentric director. It looked so beautiful and fluffy; I focussed manually on the front of the clock and composed the background.
The click of the shutter came without warning, slightly before I saw a parachute seed detach itself. Drat! I had missed the shot.
Or so I thought...
A combination of a natural breeze and a shaky shutter finger or a nudge of thanks from William had given me the shot I needed.
Both Liz and I are getting on in years and this shoddy Odysseus does fear the end – especially on dark nights in hotel rooms and guest houses.
But sometimes the Universe whispers and I am deaf, or shows me a truth and I am blind…Until I see it.
And then I know that I am loved.