Where in the World – Back Stories Behind the Images – Soft Rain

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We were in New Hampshire last week for our back story; this time we travel a few miles from where that last photo was made…..back to my house in a little town near the Seacoast.

In every home I’ve owned, I have planted at least one crab apple tree. I adore them. Though they bloom for a very short time – and can sometimes be fickle in terms of how many flowers they produce in a given year – to me nothing announces the arrival of spring like a crab tree covered with delicate blooms.

I had three crab trees in New Hampshire: two produced white flowers, while the blossoms on the third were fuchsia. The latter was a reliable bloomer. The larger of the two whites was not. That said, in the years when that somewhat capricious tree decided to put on a show, it pulled out all the stops with a spectacle that was truly something to behold.

The tree was visible from my office windows. The year I made the photo pictured here, the flowers were amazingly profuse: as the mid-day sun would touch them, it almost seemed as if someone had turned on a klieg light in the front yard. It was hard for me to stop gazing at it. Simply spectacular!

One day, as soft showers began falling, I knew I had a golden opportunity to photograph the blooms. The light was flat, the flowers had only recently opened up so were nearly pristine, and they were now covered with huge droplets of water. It was almost as if the tree was encased with jewels.

It’s actually not easy to make good photos of crab blossoms. You’ve got to find flowers which are unspoiled. They need to be on lower branches (obviously, this being a tree, most of it is too high and therefore out of reach). You have to be cognizant of the position of what’s visible in the background: even though I was shooting with a shallow depth of focus to blur all but the main subject, if background elements (like branches, or whatever is on the other side of the tree) are in the wrong spot they can detract from the photo. In short – it takes some time to find a good composition. It also sometimes requires a ladder, which is cumbersome since there’s a tripod involved.

On this morning, I had my rain slicker on and the camera was “wearing” its rain gear as well. Still, I had to pause often to remove droplets from the lens – and eventually, I ended up on the drippy side myself in spite of the initial attempt to stay dry.

After an hour or so, though, I had my shot. This ended up being one of the two best sessions I had shooting my crab trees in the 20 years I lived in the Granite State. (Both of those days involved soft showers.) The droplets were enormous and clung to the flowers for long periods of time since the rain was coming down so lightly.

I look at this image and it takes me right back in my mind’s eye to my lovely trees.

We used this photograph as the anchor for one of our wedding anniversary keepsakes.

This is what it looks like:

Stop by again next Saturday to see where in the world we end up next!

Enjoy the holiday weekend.

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