Saturday, March 14, 2009

New light through old windows

click photo to enlarge
The other day, as I pedalled my way around the lanes that criss-cross the rolling landscape where the counties of Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland meet, I kept glancing skyward. The morning sun that had appeared with a sharp frost and dense mist had given way to thick, grey cloud that rolled in from the west. And, though the weather man had said there would be intermittent sun, it looked quite unlikely. But, as my wife, ever the optimist, reminded me - it wasn't raining, so we were enjoying the ride.

Our route was taking in a succession of villages with medieval churches. In that part of the country a cycle ride is a sequence of fast freewheels interspersed with hard climbs either standing up on the pedals or on foot, pushing the bike. As we dismounted at Stockerston to ascend the short, sharp hill on the which the church of St Peter stands, I reflected that I needed some strong, directional light to replace the flat stratus above. My wife went to borrow the church key, and I took a couple of shots of the exterior of the building just as some brightness began to appear - how often doesn't that happen! Unfortunately the filtered sun was coming over my shoulder from the south-east, so was too much of the floodlight and not enough of the spot to model the contours of the ancient building.

However, whilst we were inside the church the gods of photography smiled on me, and for a couple of minutes strong sunlight pierced the leaded lights of the Gothic windows. The medieval glass for which the building is renowned glowed like rubies and sapphires, and I took some photographs of the kneeling nobles and church dignitaries. However, it was these two quite plain windows that caught my photographer's eye because of the shadows that the spring sun was throwing across the old, water-stained stone. The composition suggested itself, but it took a few shots to get the exposure right.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 12mm (24mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.0
Shutter Speed: 1/250 seconds
ISO: 400
Exposure Compensation: -2.0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On