Daffodils

 

I WANDERED LONELY AS A CLOUD

(revised version by William and Mary Wadsworth in 1815)

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills, 
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;  

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. 

 Continuous as the stars that shine
and twinkle on the Milky Way,   

They stretched in never-ending line
along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:  

A poet could not but be gay,
in such a jocund company:
I gazed – and gazed – but little thought
what wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.  

 Great poem, isn’t it?  And such poetic flowers!  God knew we’d need them after THAT WINTER! 

Sorry I didn’t get the lines of the poem’s stansas and photos gathered properly.  I’m trying to do it right, but some (nearly all) aspects of computer stuff elude me. 

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.“  ~Mark Twain

(I don’t know if Mark Twain actually said that. However, do you ever have the urge to break your computer into small pieces?)  

But I diverge…

Daffodils are a little tricky to photograph, so counter their trickiness with some tricks of your own.   

1.  Their wings catch every little breath of breeze, setting them into “sprightly dance”.  Result: blurry photos. 

Tricks:  Wait until they’re becalmed, or pick one and take it into some kind of shelter with good lighting.  (Your resulting photos will tell you if the lighting was “good”.)  Yes, “photos” —  several  at least — different viewing angles and different lighting angles. 

2.  Except for their vibrant colors, daffodils can nearly disappear among very busy/distracting backgrounds (such as this bubbly brook).   Trick:  Take your daffodil shoot elsewhere, or choose to enjoy the painterly effect as I do with this one.

3.  Competitors for center stage and the spotlight can steal the show from your leading lady daffodil.  Earlier today I set up some potted daffodils for an heroic shot against the bright sky, leaving the daffodils in the shade.  Result?  Great sky/nearly black flowers.   And BACKGROUND WIRES  of all things!  Yes, I know better and am embarrased!

Tricks:  Watch the background.  And give your subject good light, even if it’s fill flash (which I almost never use for the reason at the bottom of this post.)

4.  After wind or heavy rain (or sprinkler) daffodils usually lean over, leaving their heads hanging.    Note here that the back stems are standing upright, but the front ones are pushed over by the crowd.  If you want to see a “croud, a host of golden daffodils”, check out Maxine Mace’s dooryard garden!  These stood up very well when arranged for pulpit decoration. 

Trick:  Prop up those to be photographed with an attractive rock, etc.  Or pick them and put them into a bottle or vase that will hold them erect.  Or just resign yourslf to the fact that daffodils sometimes take a bow. 

4.  Daffodils are some of the most dramatically shaped and colored flowers in the plant kingdom.   But how to capture that with a camera?

Tricks:  IMPROVISE!   Use most of the tricks mentioned above, plus control the background and lighting.  To catch the drama of the wonderful trumpet and frills,  DON’T take all shots straight on, and don’t use flash or other lighting from the same direction as the camera.  Try side views and side or back lighting — and so avoid that flat look.  For a contrasting and unobtrusive background, hang a dark cloth — doesn’t have to be black velvet, as in the

magnolia shots, but hang it so its surface is shaded.  OR IMPROVISE.  For these, I wanted a deep shadow behind the flower.  So I laid an old bucket on a stool, and stood the flower vase on a chair… got them lined up when the sun was low in the west and the breeze calm. 

Great fun!  And I hope multiple excuses for you to smile.  

 Smiles 

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This entry was posted in Flowers, Photo Essay, Spring and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Daffodils

  1. Linda says:

    Beautiful photos!! I’m so glad it’s almost Spring. (I say almost because we are still getting rain EVERY DAY since the first of Feb. Before that it was snow!!)

    • Smiles says:

      Thanks Linda! Yes, it’s been a LONG winter! And the breeze is still quite nippy (and wet) here most days. So glad to see little plants finally poking up from the ground!

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