Snow drops in black and white


My mother is a gardener. She has a wonderful garden, which is her pride and joy, and she spends hours every day maintaining and caring for it. So when I was visiting one year I went out with the camera to try and capture some of her magic.

My parent’s home, and where I grew up, is a cottage in the middle of the Devon countryside, with a small lane at the front of the house. These snowdrops were growing on top of a small wall that marks the front of the garden, and this image actually looks out over the lane to some trees on the other side.

I loved the composition, and deliberately underexposed the image by using the exposure compensation tools of the camera to keep the background dark (an effect I later enhanced in Lightroom). I generally like to use aperture priority mode, and this was no exception, and combining the fastest available aperture (f4) with one shot mode allowed me to further draw the eye of the viewer to that single flower which is in focus. I included so much dark space to achieve some level of visual balance – the snowdrop occupies the bottom left of the image, while complete blackness occupies the top right, and as such I feel the image is quite harmonious.

Interestingly, my mother and I disagree about this image. Her preference is the same image but in full colour, which she says shows the life of the plant, and while I understand where she is coming from, personally I feel the contrast of the black and white, along with this little plant’s own story of juxtaposition – a delicate flower that grows and thrives in England’s harshest winter conditions, tells a better story.

I even once submitted this image to the BBC Countryfile calendar! Sadly, to no avail.

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*Originally published on 20th January 2016

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