Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Holland in Haymarket

With spring having sprung quite rapidly, I was anxious to partake in some fresh air and sunshine, so took off an afternoon to go photograph the tulips at Burnside Farms in Haymarket. I had to pay $6 just to enter the field but if you want to pick the flowers or keep the bulbs, they also charge by the stem or per bulb collected in your basket. The place is really set up for families, with play areas for kids and huge garish plastic clogs amid the tulips for kids to pose in while doting parents took their photos. There was even a collection of wooden clogs which could be worn for the occasion if desired. I tried to ignore all this and focused on a quieter area further down the field where hopefully I wouldn't get too many people in my shots.
The best way to achieve this was, after much wriggling and stretching, bending and crouching, squatting and kneeling, was to simply lie on my back and point my camera upwards. I got an interesting perspective of the flowers and definitely no people. I did get very grubby though and cursed having worn yellow jeans.
There were some parents there who were very serious about their child portraits, the subjects wearing frilly dresses or shirts to match the fields, carrying baskets or favorite cuddly toys, and posing in the many props provided by the farm. There was even one mother who had hired a professional photographer, who, loaded heavily with video equipment, lenses hanging from his belt and lighting attached to his torso which was pointing out in all directions, was trying to coax a small girl to skip between the rows of flowers. This did capture my attention for a short while, but I soon turned away and continued my wriggling on the ground, pointing to the sky, and likely looked like an upturned beetle, with my arms and legs waving as I struggled to get the best angle without damaging any of the leaves or blooms.
I did eventually return to a more vertical stance, capturing the flowers from a more traditional vantage point, also taking a few close ups. There were some beautiful varieties here, some of which I'd never seen before, and I could understand the draw of this place. A great option for choosing your spring blooms for the following year by simply selecting the flowers from here, then pulling up the bulb. It was a riot of color, looking very much like the photos of the bulb fields in Holland that I'd seen and remember my grandmother visiting, then talking about for years. This was the best that I'd see this in this part of the world, I'm sure, and it was indeed spectacular. Everybody, kids included, seemed to respect the blooms, I didn't see one downtrodden flower or leaf.
I eventually stood up and was surprised to look about and see that the crowds had considerably diminished, with only a few of us remaining. I sincerely hoped I hadn't scared anyone off with my cavorting between the rows, but at least it gave me the opportunity to grab one quick shot of the field sans a human population. Then, off home for a shower and clean clothes!

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