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© David Butts, 2009
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Wild Clematis and Fence

Last Saturday, Sebina and I went down town to see La Traviata that was transmitted from the Royal Opera House in London. Renče Fleming played Violetta and it was a wonderful production. I left feeling quite exhilarated, humming the memorable tunes as we made our way to the parking lot. As I approached the car, I noticed a chain link fence covered in Wild Clematis that had died down for the fall. The beautiful yellow flowers and the leaves were all gone and the large seed heads glowed, backlit from the sun. I instinctively knew that there was a picture there, but I did not have my camera with me. I went home, picked up my camera and tripod, returned to the parking lot and took several pictures. The main problem I had to overcome was positioning the camera to isolate the scene from the nearby train tracks and the city in the background. This was the one I most liked.

To me, it seemed like a death scene, but beautiful and filled with the promise, or perhaps the hope, of rebirth and re-growth in the spring.

I have noticed that my mood often influences how I see, and wondered if seeing La Traviata helped me to see this picture. This opera has one of the best known and most loved death scenes in all of opera, with Violetta coming out of her despair on seeing Alfredo and his father and dying peacefully in Alfredo's arms after a moving reconciliation.

This experience also reminded me of my mentor, Harry Thomson, who never went anywhere without his full 4x5 camera equipment in the trunk of his car; always prepared for when some unexpected image appeared! Perhaps this is something I should emulate!

[photo for week of 21 September 2009]

© David Butts, 2009

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