From “Too Many Tulips” by Joseph Addison in The Tatler, No. 218 (1710), quoted in The Gardener’s World by Joseph Wood Krutch:
“[As] they were passing by me into the garden, I asked them to let me be one of their company.
“The Gentleman of the house told me, if I delighted in flowers, it would be worth my while; for that he believed he could shew me such a blow of tulips, as was not to be matched in the whole country….
“I was very much pleased and astonished at the glorious show of these gay vegetables, that arose in great profusion on all the banks about us….
“Sometimes I considered them with the eye of an ordinary spectator, as so many beautiful objects varnished over with a natural gloss, and stained with such a variety of colours, as are not to be equalled in any artificial dyes or tinctures….
“Sometimes I considered every leaf as an elaborate piece of tissue, in which the threads and fibres were woven together into different configurations, which gave a different colouring to the light as it glanced on the several parts of the surface….
“Sometimes I considered the whole bed of tulips… as a multitude of optic instruments, designed for the separating light into all those various colours of which it is composed.”
From “The Doorway” by Louise Gluck in Poems 1962-2012:
I wanted to stay as I was,
still as the world is never still,
not in midsummer but the moment before
the first flower forms, the moment
nothing is as yet past —
not midsummer, the intoxicant,
but late spring, the grass not yet high
at the edge of the garden, the early tulips
beginning to open….
Sometimes I find a quotation that so accurately captures the experience of seeing and photographing a batch of flowers, that little else needs to be said. The first quotation above — originally published in a British journal called The Tatler in 1710 — could have been written about these red and multicolored tulips I found growing in the partial shade of some large oak, maple, and dogwood trees at Oakland Cemetery’s gardens a couple of weeks ago. On a bright spring morning, the sun created a lot of reflected light from all directions, producing the kind of backlighting and side-lighting that I like to work with, while still letting me preserve accurate color and detail in wide-angle shots.
Thanks for taking a look!
I’m not always crazy about seeing masses of red tulips, but when you catch them glowing with the light going through them, like these, they’re pretty great.
Thank you! Red can be such a weird color to photograph that I often skip by red flowers and go look for something orange, yellow, or purple. But these looked like they’d just recently bloomed, and probably would be gone by the time I went back again, so I spent an hour or so trying out different light and exposure combinations. The dappled light (and sometimes full shade) worked out pretty well!
Thanks for the comment!
A beautiful post of word and images.
Thank you for the kind words!