It’s an odd title for a post, especially one of an English landscape. I called it seven minutes because that’s how long the sun appeared for as I photographed this field of lavender. It took me a total of three visits and nine hours in all.
This farm is close to where I used to live and also to where I worked until last year. We would spot the lavender signs on the little roundabout every year around July and August. Each time I made a mental note to visit one lunchtime to check out the location, before returning at sunset. It never happened. Shortly before taking early retirement, we did drive past the main road one day. We even stopped in a lay-by to get a closer look, but sadly we weren’t allowed to take cameras into work.
Then things changed when I spotted Carol Kirkwood giving a weather forecast from a lavender farm in Somerset last week. I immediately thought about our local farm and wondered if the lavender had already been cut. There was only one way to find out – so I finished my chores early and set out on the half hour drive. It wasn’t difficult to find and I even parked up in the same lay-by. Crossing the busy road, I could see the flowers were still there in all their glory. I took a quick snap and resolved to go back later that evening.
It seems odd to make that first visit, but I didn’t want to get ready and make the drive with hopes of a colourful sunset, only to find everything was perfect apart from the absence of the lavender. So I charged my battery, re-formatted my card and packed everything I would need in my trusty rucksack. The forecast had been for only 30% cloud and when I left home it all looked so promising. However, when I parked for the second time that day, it was to find that all 30% was piled up over the back of the hill and the sun clearly wouldn’t be seen again that day. I hung around just in case, but two hours later I got home tired and very disappointed. This was what all the landscape photographers meant about repeated visits to get just the right conditions.
I was very aware that with the flowers due to be harvested any day soon, I was running out of time. The next likely sunset was a few days later, but this time cloud cover was estimated to be 60%. I took the chance and thirty minutes later I was setting up my tripod with yet another bank of cloud on the horizon. There was a slim chance that if it moved slightly in my direction, there was a tiny sliver of clear sky before the sun set for the day. And that is what happened as I waited there with the cable release in my hand.
So, three visits, nine hours and a lot of patience required, but I think it was worth it.