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Jane’s Journal

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Rainy days in December

Stipa gigantea in the rain

There are many kinds of rain here in the middle of Scotland.

There is the rain that skirls in, whirling round in all directions at once, running in streams off waterproofs to fill up wellington boots.

There is the rain that bounces straight down, torrents flowing over the guttering and out of the joins in the down pipes.

There is the unremitting rain that goes on for days, steady without a breeze to shift it.

Best of all there is the invisible rain - more a swelling of water, an accumulation at the tips.

That was the rain I took these photos in.

stipa gigantea in the rain

I took the photos on a Saturday when I was exhausted after a week of travel. I had spent the morning reading by the fire, cup of tea by my elbow, hardly moving.

Then I began to feel that stuffy indoors feeling, slightly queasy, stuck - so I forced myself to put oil my raincoat, pick up my camera and head outdoors. Not far, just a few yards to the garden, and to take some photos of the remnants of the plants there.

The light was almost gone - it was only two in the afternoon but on one of those days when it just doesn't seem to get light. I widened the aperture on my camera as far as it would go (1.4) but the photos were still so dark that I couldn't make out the forms in the light so bit by bit I increased the ISO.

The ISO setting is the one which controls how sensitive the camera becomes to light - usually I try to shoot with a low ISO to keep the image clear, sharp, not grainy. Here I moved from my usual 100 all the way up to 800.

stems and rain in Studio Meadow

What happened, with these images, was a surprise. I loaded them up onto the computer and instead of the muddy, blurry, grainy limages I was expecting; they had transformed into line and shadow and warp and weft - loose brushstrokes of form with bright focussed beads of rain hanging on the tips of grasses. Art.

If I hadn't gone out for those ten minutes of slow walking, stooping, staring with my camera I would never have seen the beauty.

I have put the photos all together into a gallery where it is easier to flip through.

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Comments: 4 (Add)

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Vanessa Dennett

Lovely images! It’s funny, I never mind walking in the rain if it begins when I’m already out, but for some reason I find it hard to make myself step out into it from a warm and dry house. X

Susan Mee

Magical images Jane.


In reply to Vanessa Dennett
I think that is exactly it - the inertia has such a powerful effect when you are going from dry to wet!

In reply to Susan Mee
Thank you Susan - it was really interesting to see what came out, for the damp and the lack of light made it very difficult to see the actual images as I took them.