Welcome to In A Vase On Monday – my first vase of 2015! I invite you to join me every Monday as I make a posy of flowers or foliage from what is looking good in my garden and link to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden, who started this lovely meme over a year ago.
After the excess of festive decorations I am in a simple mood at home. Having packed away all my lovely glittery baubles and lights I have started my annual ‘big sort out’. January is the month when I turn my attention to my home, emptying out cupboards and dusting off cobwebs – what does not get done this month will have to wait until next year – January is the only month when I have the time or inclination for this sort of deep clean.
To add to my home detox I fancied something simple and scented from the garden for my vase this week. Still in its mid winter sleep, there is not a lot blooming in the garden, although the snowdrops are very close to flowering and the hellebores are in bud. What better way to add fragrance and greenery to my kitchen than with a jug of mediterannean herbs – which at this time of year are limited in my garden to the winter stalwarts of rosemary and bay. For another layer of scent I added some branches of eucalyptus – my young tree is coppiced every spring to keep it small and covered in young growth, so I need to make use of what I can before the excess gets composted.
I find the scent of rosemary and bay irresistible and always stop to rub the leaves through my fingers on a walk. I am a relative newcomer to the delights of culinary herbs – although always delicious the food of my northern upbringing did not include many herbs – a bit of parsley with fish, mint sauce with lamb, Paxo sage and onion stuffing and a sprinkle of white pepper over the dinner plate was as far as it went. These days it is hard to imagine a meal without the addition of herbs and 2015 is the year that I am determined to add a dedicated herb bed to my garden.
I mentioned yesterday the Christmas present my lovely husband gave to me – a 100m f2.8L macro lens. The first three photos above were taken on my favourite 50mm prime lens – I then switched to my new macro for the picture above and I love the dreamy quality it has added to the photos.
It also allows me to get much closer to my subject and picks up details like the ridging on the rosemary spikes that I would not have noticed as I chopped the herb for dinner. The candle I have used in these pictures is a lavender fragrance from Diptyque, which goes well with my mediteranean theme. As I sorted out cupboards in my pantry today I came across another candle, scented with bay and rosemary, so perfect to burn in my kitchen tonight.
It may be my imagination, but the new lens seems to somehow capture more light. I took these photos in my kitchen (my favourite spot for pictures) with the jug on the table. A large south facing window is to my right and the kitchen island to my left, so the arrangement is lit from the side with soft winter light.
I am thrilled with the detail picked up by the macro lens, but also pleased that I can use this lens for distance shots as well – when considering which lens I wanted I ruled out any that were restricted to macro use only – I like to move around my flowers and take shots from different angles and distances. I never use a zoom lens anymore – I find the point of focus is always slightly blurry with a zoom. If I need to take distance shots I use my 50mm prime lens and then crop the photos – I used this technique at the outdoor opera I went to in the summer, where we were sat quite a distance from the stage.
Finally I have two photos to share that show the effect of changing the focal point on your camera. In the first I focused through the jug handle and onto the bird on the tea towel. In the second I have the same position and camera settings, but I have focused on the jug handle. The two photos are quite different.
I hope you have enjoyed this weeks In A Vase On Monday and that you will pop over to Cathy’s blog to see what she and the others have made this week. From this week I will be posting my Monday vase on Instagram – #inavaseonmonday – if anyone would like to join in.
I will be back on Wednesday with the first of my monthly visits to my greenhouse – I would be delighted if any fellow greenhouse growers would like to link in with a post about their January greenhouse – I will be using the instagram hashtag ‘#inthegreenhousetoday’ to share my photos there if you would like to link up on Instagram.