Thursday, October 09, 2008

Sunset transformations

click photo to enlarge
Here's a question for your consideration. How repugnant does a scene have to be before a sunset is unable to transform it into something beautiful? Leaving aside scenes of human suffering, what would be so awful that the descending orb and its associated colours, shades and silhouettes couldn't elevate it to something worth contemplating, something that lifted the spirits? The municipal tip? The local sewage plant? A petro-chemical works? How about a shopping mall with its acres of parked cars?

I really don't think that I can come up with anything that a sunset cannot improve to the point where we say, "that looks wonderful." Over the years I've taken my share of sunset photographs. Some have featured in this blog including a bicycle, roof tops and gulls, the River Thames in London, a Fleetwood lighthouse, a pier, a view under a pier, another view under a pier (!), people on the remains of a pier (!!). In fact, I've had something of a moratorium on sunset photographs in recent months because the last thing most people with an interest in photography need to see is another wretched sunset picture!

But, today the moratorium has been lifted. Today's post shows (I hope) the transformation that a sunset can work on that abomination, the electricity pylon. Now I know that some people like these structures. You don't believe me? Well have a look at The Pylon Appreciation Society's website! For me, however, these structures are far worse than wind farms for the effect that they have on the landscape, and though I have, on one occasion, produced an image in which they were the main subject, and another where they shared that billing, usually they are unwelcome interlopers into my photographs. Nevertheless, I put aside my feelings the other evening when I saw this line of them above the trees with the sun going down. The silhouettes that they made against the orange and gold sky, and the compositional balance they gave to the sun's disc made me see them, literally and figuratively, in a better light, so I framed them and pressed the shutter.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 150mm (300mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/400
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -2.0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On