Nia Haf Photography

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The Beauty in the Ordinary

So, it’s been so long since I last wrote a post that WordPress has actually had another facelift. Despite having half a dozen posts on the cusp of being ready to publish, it seems none have quite made the grade and in a true creative-persons style, will sit unseen and unread in a metaphorically dusty file somewhere in the labyrinth that is my hard drive for some time, quite possibly, forever.

Anyway, this weekend I was reminded of one of the many reasons that I love my medium, Photography.

First though, let me tell you about where, when and why. The where; National Trust’s Glendurgan Gardens, a garden of three valleys set just above the hamlet of Durgan on the Helford River. The when; A sunny Sunday afternoon in mid February. The why; A National Trust membership card begging to finally be used, a modest picnic and of course the rarity of a sunny Sunday in mid February.

Only a couple of minutes past the entrance gate I knew my photographic plan of action for the day; To concentrate on the flora of Glendurgan, specifically the trees. With a recent survey confirming there to be an impressive 73 different varieties of plants in the gardens, the flora of Glendurgan alone would be enough to keep a photographer busy for life. I can only imagine the verdure of these gardens come the Summer months.

I was captivated by the huge variety of trees on display and began compiling a series of details focusing on the patterns, shapes and colours presented in the trunks of the collection. Here are just a couple as examples;

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I also photographed the plaques showing the latin names of the trees, which I may use as a form of captioning. Though this small series of images began in Glendurgan, I intent to continue adding to the collection with every shoot or trip.

The real photographic highlight of the day though was captured during the last stretch of the circuit walk we undertook. In a small granite pond, bubbling with frogspawn and dappled by exotic banana trees I came across something that I personally found to be really beautiful. A striking three blossom flower floating amongst the rich greenery of the pond. I spend around 20 minutes photographing this one tiny, seemingly insignificant detail within the vast gardens from every conceivable angle.

I lay flat on my stomach to face it, balanced on the edge to get above it and clambered over a tree to get behind it. A number of other visitors wondered by me, each giving the pond a quick glance and staying no more than a minute each. Their puzzled expressions confirmed that I looked like I may be a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

It was this that reminded me of how fortunate we as photographers are to have the ability to observe and thus experience beauty in what appears to be the ordinary and it was this notion that reminded me one of the many reasons why I love my medium.

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