After the snow – Snowdrops

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Snowdrops

In Ireland we get very little snow. In my life I could count on one hand the number of really big ‘snow events’ (snow remaining for more than 3 days). Our winter temperatures hover between -5 and +5 Celsius.

Last year it started to snow at the end of November and remained until the end of the year. On Christmas Day, as we drove home from midday Mass through the snow, the temperature was -11 Celsius. Many of the exotic plants we had accumulated over the years were killed by the low temperatures.

The appearance of the Snowdrops in January was a welcome sight. Those hardy little plants need no maintenance just the right place to live. Our little colony live on a North facing bank under old Ash trees. They like the dry shaded bank for their long summer sleep.

Two interesting things about the attached photo, the low angle of the shot and the narrow depth of field (blurred background). I recently got a new camera, Panasonic GH1, which has a screen which can be swiveled out to be viewed at any angle. I was able to take this photo with the camera on the ground and I looking down at the screen from above. I would have to lie down to look at the screen on my previous DSLR to get this shot. Swivel back screens are not ‘only a gimmic’ as I was told by a friend, a serious photographer. The GH1 also has a great video recording ability. The swivel screen is very useful for recording painting demos with the camera mounted on a tripod. You can monitor the video even when the camera has its back away from you.

The ‘blurring’ of the background isolates the foreground and creates an emphasis. This is achieved by having a lower aperture number than an automatic exposure would decide. Again the screen is great as you get a ‘live view’ as you make the changes to the exposure settings. Whether you are in semi or full program mode the camera will compensate by increasing the shutter speed to maintain correct exposure.

P.S. If you want to propagate your Snowdrops now is the time to do it. Unlike other spring bulbs you dig them up when the flowers have died back and the green leaves are still showing. Replant them in bunches.

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