All photos were taken with my old 50mm MF lens, with all but the bottom one with f/2.0. I love the dreamy textures the extremely shallow field of depth creates (demonstrated beautifully by the photo third from the bottom). Being manual focus, it’s somewhat stiff to use, and occasionally it’s difficult to see how well in focus the pictures are, but the end result almost invariably is worth the effort.
But once I went through the lanes, over the sharp
Tilt of the little bridges; past the forge,
And heard the clang of anvil and of iron,
And saw the founting sparks in the dusky forge,
And men outside with horses, gossiping.
So I came through that April England, moist
And green in its lush fields between the willows,
Foaming with cherry in the woods, and pale
With clouds of lady’s-smock along the hedge,
Until I came to a gate and left the road
For the gentle fields that enticed me, by the farms,
Wandering through the embroidered fields, each one
So like its fellow; wandered through the gaps,
Past the mild cattle knee-deep in the brooks,
And wandered drowsing as the meadows drowsed
Under the pale wide heaven and slow clouds.
And then I came to a field where the springing grass
Was dulled by the hanging cups of fritillaries,
Sullen and foreign-looking, the snaky flower,
Scarfed in dull purple, like Egyptian girls
Camping among the furze, staining the waste
With foreign colour, sulky-dark and quaint,
Dangerous too, as a girl might sidle up,
An Egyptian girl, with an ancient snaring spell,
Throwing a net, soft round the limbs and heart,
Captivity soft and abhorrent, a close-meshed net,
—See the square web on the murrey flesh of the flower—
Holding her captive close with her bare brown arms.
Close to her little breast beneath the silk,
A gipsy Judith, witch of a ragged tent,
And I shrank from the English field of fritillaries
Before it should be too late, before I forgot
The cherry white in the woods, and the curdled clouds,
And the lapwings crying free above the plough.
The spring was late that year, I well remember.
The year when first I came on the field of fritillaries;
So late, the cottars meeting in the lanes
Would stop to marvel mildly, with that old
Unplumbed capacity for wonderment
At Nature’s whim. The calendar told spring,
But spring was heedless: April into May
Passed, and the trees still wore their livery
Of lean black winter’s servants; very strange
Most lovely Easter played three days at summer,
A heavy summer over winter’s fields,
Three days, and then was vanished, like a queen
Dropping the lifted flap of her pavilion.
Vita Sackville-West – “Fritillaries” from The Land