Friday, January 02, 2009

Winter photography

click photo to enlarge
A spell of winter weather that is colder and duller than usual has kept people indoors recently. A quick skip round the photography forums finds many in the UK wishing for brighter skies. Like most photographers I relish bright, contrasty light. A sky with 70% broken cloud of different hues (the kind seen after rain), blue showing through here and there, and pools of sunlight reaching the ground, is probably my ideal for landscape shots.

But, different weather presents different opportunities and we must seize them. Heavy rain is pretty useless as far as I'm concerned, with only a few opportunities for images. Light rain or drizzle offers more chance of capturing glistening photographs. A leaden sky with a blanket of stratus above is lamented by many, but can be fine as long as you keep the camera pointed down, and, if it's bright enough, is particularly good for saturated colours and therefore plants and flowers. Snow is great, not only for the novelty (at least in much of England), but also because of the way it converts scenes into drawings with dark shapes and lines across a white surface, and for how it changes the light and illuminates the shadows. Fog is good too, and I often venture out in such weather to try and capture the graduated tones and simplified silhouettes it offers. That was my thinking the other day when we went for an afternoon walk near Swineshead in Lincolnshire. A weak sun was shining through wispy cloud and visibility was poor. It looked like mist and fog would start to appear as the sun went down. And so it did.

I took this photograph towards the end of the walk, balancing the faint outline of Swineshead church towering over the village houses, with the silhouettes of trees on the right, and used the curve of the road as a leading line into the shot.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 137mm (274mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/100
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On