One more time into the walnut plantation.
It was wet and a little drizzly yesterday morning when I went out to shoot. I was there because Alain Briot’s column on landscape blurs reminded me that that was a good time to get saturated colors. As indeed it was.
It was windy and dark which spells disaster for some kinds of photography but for landscape blurring – which consists of moving the camera while the shutter is open – it is very promising. As usual the number of images retained after the shoot was much smaller than the number taken, a great argument for digital cameras. I got the shot above early on. (For those interested in such things, most of the effect in the image above was created in the camera. Adobe Camera Raw added some contrast and a little vividness while Photoshop permitted selective darkening and bringing up the orange a little bit in the leaves.)
The story continues. There was a red poison ivy vine decorating a tree trunk several yards into the brush and without thinking I just went in to get a shot of it, looking for poison ivy along the way but forgetting about the burrs that are so common this season. I was immediately attacked by a lurking burr factory. I was born in 1939 so I grew up watching horror movies where some otherwise more or less mildly obnoxious pest was irradiated in an accident and grew to gigantic size and set out to take over the world. I don’t remember any giant burr movies but it would have been a good subject.
You have probably encountered burrs. Once they are stuck to your pants, they are as tenacious as a politician working to stay in office. I was wearing sweats so conditions were ideal for them. I tried brushing them off and that didn’t work very well so I put an old towel on the driver’s seat and sat on that on the way home where surely there would be a good solution. I tried lots of things and they all failed. I’ll talk about just one of the methods. We have a brush which we use to brush our two White German Shepherds. Note that the brush was full of white dog hair, something I noticed but didn’t think about. The brush didn’t work as intended. In fact it achieved the opposite result, which was that the burrs did not come off but the dog hair left the brush to join the burrs. Now many of them have little white beards.
Michael Pollan, in his ‘The Botany of Desire’, says with tongue in cheek that members of the vegetable kingdom rule the world and use us to carry their seeds from one place to another. I’m coming to believe that. Maybe those old horror movies were speaking the truth. Burrs just didn’t need to be irradiated and they don’t need to be big to take over the world. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.