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Friday, June 27

Singular Image: Drainage Ditch


Olympus OM2N, 50mm f2 Zuiko Macro, Adox CHS 100 II in Spur HRX.

There was a time when I used to scour OS maps looking for long field drainage ditches so that I could take photographs like this one. I've consequently got a few somewhere in my negs files. These scenes have some of the things I like: a strong compositional element, a bright highlight in the foreground and a sky that helps to balance the image.

Nowadays, I don't go actively seeking out these ditches anymore but I'm still taken by them when I occasionally stumble upon them. This one was shot in Fife a couple of weeks ago. I'd been out in the car looking for new subjects in a part of the world that I'm not overly familiar with. This scene was adjacent to the country road I was travelling along and there was a convenient parking space on a verge - another two elements I like to see in a potential photograph!

I'd been out with my old OM2N and a few lenses but hadn't really seen anything to make me want to stop - I tend to waste a lot of petrol in pursuit of a photograph. The film in the camera was Adox CHS 100 II and I fitted the 50mm f2 Zuiko macro for this shot.

The original scene was relatively subdued from a colour point of view but there were clumps of bright green vegetation running right along both sides of the ditch. I thought it might add some contrast to the scene if I used a red filter to darken this.

The grass on either side of the bank leading down to the ditch was a washed out colour of green and that's why it hasn't darkened as much. The dark vegetation achieves two things: it reinforces the diminishing lines that give the composition strength and helps to make the water in the ditch appear brighter.

It's one of these quiet pics that aren't dramatic or eye-catching but have a stillness to them that I like in small doses. The danger lies in there not being enough in the image to hold the attention - "boring" might be another way to describe them :) - but I think this one manages to avoid that.

5 comments :

Herman Sheephouse said...

Nice one again Bruce! It actually reminds me of something I think John Hedgecoe did a number of years back, except he was using a Hasselblad SWC. There you go . . you need a SWC! I'll bet you love your helpful readers.
Oh and seeing as you now have new wheels, and like ditches, Lincolnshire. That's the place to go for very very very long, straight, drainage ditches . . . either there or Holland . . .

Folker Neumann said...

I like the whole composition as well as the bright T formed by the ditch and the sky!

John Carter said...

I like this image too. But there really aren't locations like that near me(talk about gas). When I was young I lived in the state of Oregon which is more rural than my part of California. At that time I would have never take a Photo like yours but now I love to.

An aside: you seem to like Ralph Gibson (analog)and I do too (analog). But, I just can't bring myself to expose and develop a negative like that. I found a solution (for me) Ilford SFX; it is rated at 200 but I shoot it a 32 with a 25 Red Filter. The film really shows no IR effect. I would use this film for everyday but early morning and late afternoon, especially on sunny days, it is great.

Steven Lawrence said...

I love geometry, balance, leading lines...all components of composition. How can I not like this image!

Art said...

Beautiful. I fear I would have gotten right down in the ditch with a wide angle and totally lost that subtle curve to the left. You really nailed the proportions here.