Sunday, August 30, 2015


My city, Mequon, has a population of about 23,000 souls.  However, it is one of the largest cities in the state of Wisconsin--geographically, that is.  The eastern side of the city is essentially fully developed as a bedroom community for the Milwaukee metropolitan area and is largely residential, combined with retail and commercial developments.  The western side of the city is largely rural and includes a good deal of undeveloped woods and open land, as well as operating and hobby farms.

One of the places I have looked to for landscape photography is a horse farm located on the west side of the city.  And that is where I headed the other foggy evening, hoping for some possible mood shots.  The quality of the light was just not very good, so the mood shots weren't working.  However, I did notice a vegetable farm directly across the road from the horse farm.  In addition to the fog, there were some lingering showers and  the farm lane that I ventured on was quite muddy.  Even so, I was impressed with the rows of mature--and very large--cabbages of different varieties growing on the farm and got a couple of decent shots in the waning evening light.  The next morning--still foggy but without any rain--I returned and spent a bit more time trying to capture the cabbages.  Here is some of what I got.

I did take a few shots of individual cabbages.

The rain/dew was still on these cabbages, which I thought added to the images' interest.  Cabbages are very three-dimensional, and I thought it was important to keep as much as possible in good focus, so I shot most of the photos at relatively small apertures, ranging from f/16 to f/22.  Fortunately, I had brought my tripod.  Moreover, there was very little wind, so I really didn't worry about the duration of the exposures.  On the other hand, there was enough light that exposure times were surprisingly short, ranging from 1/4 to 1/8 second.

The other factor that I thought helped was the heavy overcast.  That may sound counterintuitive, but not having any strong light source actually helped to create more saturated colors.  It also eliminated concerns about shadows that would create too great a contrast between lighted and shadowed areas.  As a result, I was able to bring out better the interesting texture of the cabbage leaves.

My broader landscape techniques need work.  Here are a couple of my attempts.

I am still having difficulty understanding what to incorporate in a broader landscape scene to create an interesting image.  I have learned that, as a general rule, broader landscapes are helped by having significant foreground objects to create depth and context.  Here I positioned the camera close to the first cabbages to emphasize their interesting leaf structures.  In the first of the two shots above, for example, the cabbage leaves in the foreground occupy virtually half of the overall image.  On the other hand, something still seems to be missing.   I'm not sure if I need to include more of the scene above the horizon, as these shots seem to lack balance in that regard.  Or should I have positioned the camera higher off ground in order to give a better understanding of the scope of the overall field?  Perhaps there needs to be more elevation change, as this field was quite flat.  This is something I need to work on.

My best success, with cabbages at least, was of closer shots that included leaves but not the cabbage heads, as in the following shots.

These were my favorite shots of the group. 

Interestingly, these shots were taken at different times.  The first was taken in the evening; the second the next morning.  They were both of the same kind of cabbage.  The only difference was in the quality of light on the two occasions.

One final comment:  These cabbage fields, obviously, were located on private property.  My visits were in the evening and in the relatively early morning, and I did not meet anyone on either occasion. However, I was a little uncomfortable walking around on someone else's land, even though if I had been approached I would have explained that I am just an amateur and was taking pictures for personal purposes.  I would hope that that person would be understanding.


1 comment:

  1. How interesting to take pictures of cabbages, both collective and individual. The people would have been flattered to have you shoot pictures of their crops