Fennel Fail


I have been posting a series of images from the back patio highlighting my recent search for some colour amongst the gloom of a dreary December day. This post is in contrast to the others as it features drab winter colours and dying plants. This is a large fennel plant that we have tied up to allow the birds to finish off the seeds, and to get a bit of shelter too. I am feeling very pleased with the first image for its water-colour textures and winter feeling.

The title of this post, Fennel Fail, harkens back to an earlier one I did of this same plant that I called Fennel Fall  that was bright with sparkling light. It makes an great contrast to these photos and really shows off the two ends of fall. Even so, in the earlier post there are strong hints of the onset of decay, especially in some of the last shots from that post.

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Close up shots all taken with SMC Takumar 100mm f4.0 macro screw mount (m42) lens on a Canon EOS 5D MkII. The light was very poor and the tripod was visiting friends, so I shot at ISO 2000, usually at f4.0 and f5.6 with shutter speeds in the 1/125th to 1/250th range though some slower, some faster. Most of the pictures are quite heavily cropped.

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17 thoughts on “Fennel Fail

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    • Thank you Robin – the first image is the one I really like, but maybe that is because I know I could never paint something like that and yet it is like a painting in many ways.

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  4. I love this series. I don’t mind the dark tone, I think it enhances the images, but it’s still the compositions that are interesting.
    I don’t have an expensive monitor, but I occasionally run the Win 7 monitor calibration program and I think it’s very close to being accurate. You bring up a good point about how these images are being viewed by others. It’s a lot to chew on.

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    • Hi Ken – thanks for your comments. I am going to have to try that calibration program – I did not know about it. The closer I can get with existing equipment to something that is accurate the better the images will be received I think. It is a version of the age old problem of reproduction – creating a print for inclusion in a publication, or an internegative from a positive for the same purpose which then gets processed further until ultimately its in a book or magazine or whatever. Starting from the best possible points must mean the image stands up to the indignities of the process as well as possible – a variation on ‘garbage in – garbage out’ idea.

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  5. Nice images and very unusual; I’ve photographed the seedheads lots of times but never focused on the stalks like this. We have fennel plants too, but I’m not as generous to the birds with them as you are: I collect all the seeds, partly to keep them from taking over my entire garden, but also to eat. I dry them and use them year-round, especially in Indian cooking.

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    • Hi Laurie – we have so much in this big volunteer that replaces itself every year that we are happy to share with the birds. It’s little birds that get them, not starlings, crows or other of the more voracious species that can clean up in a few minutes what the little guys make last for weeks. Fennel does like to spread though and it pops up around the garden, sometimes in a spot that can be tolerated, sometimes it has to be yanked out. We are haphazard gardeners, rather neglectful except for short bursts of activity here and there during the year so in some ways leaving the fennel up is an excuse for not having to deal with all that foliage.

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    • Hello Toad – so nice to have to visiting again. Of this past week’s garden peeks (jeez, I should use that as a title) these ones, though not colourful, are most of my favourites. Some very unexpected textures (that is to me, I found some real surprises lurking in the shots I took).

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    • Hi Mathias – glad you like them. Dark would not be all that bad, for this subject. But you comment raises an important point about digital photography which I had not thought through before. Each viewer is seeing something a bit different depending on their monitor and it’s settings. Its not like printing a hardcopy under controlled circumstances and hanging it on the wall, or mailing it to someone. Each copy is stable and its viewing only effected by the light that the person is in when they are looking at it. You could come back to these blog images in two months with different settings or a new monitor and see something quite different.

      My son does a lot of music recording and he is very particular about the quality of the monitors (speakers in this case) that he is using as he wants to get the best possible mix and tone. He then tests the outcome in the car, on lousy sound systems, and so on to see how it translates. I think a similar approach is probably warranted for serious photographers that publish on the internet, or that print from digital – getting the best quality monitor with the settings tweaked just right is probably really important. I have a cheap monitor and the settings are, well, they are set. Not sure on which option right now. So, am I trying to talk myself into an expensive monitor? No, but if I were a professionaly photographer I would probably be thinking about it. And, next I will look at the monitor settings in case I should make them different. And, I will try to remember to tilt the monitor to the optimum angle for which ever chair I am using, especially when I am editing photos, or choosing which ones to delete. Thanks for setting this train of thought in motion, it might prove useful for me :).

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