Saturday, July 25, 2009

The barren months?

click photo to enlarge
I often think of July and August as the "barren months" photographically speaking. That is, of course, too harsh a judgement of the brightest and warmest part of our summer period, and its perfectly possible to take many good shots at this time. But, once the sun climbs high above us, and the clear blue skies appear, and the shadows are short, and the foliage is a mass of reflected light, it's much harder I think, to come up with decent images.

During these months I find it's the morning, up to about 11.00 a.m., and the evening, from 5.00p.m. or 6.00p.m., through to sunset that are the best times to be out and about with a camera. During these hours the complete set of negatives that I list above are unlikely to be present. Yes, there may be "boring" clear blue skies on some mornings and evenings, but shadows are longer and deeper, and the greens of leaves and grass are more saturated. However, even during the "barren" hours of these "barren" months, it's possible to find circumstances in which you feel motivated to record, say, a landscape. One of the features of this time of year is the "fair weather" clouds (cumulus) that periodically come along to add interest to the azure of the summer blue. Today's photograph is a case in point. It shows the wheat on a Lincolnshire Fenland field towards the end of July, almost at the point where it is ready to harvest, and above a sky dotted with "cotton wool" balls and a smear of thinner cloud. A wind farm, pylons and an associated electricity sub-station give some skyline interest. The shot was taken just after 3.00p.m., when the scene presented just enough colour and contrast for me to point the camera and press the shutter.

At the end of July I shouldn't be thinking "roll on September", because the warmth and brightness of summer should not be so easily dismissed. But, photographically speaking, that thought does pop into my head periodically, and at this time of year I sometimes find myself looking forward to the better light, deeper colours, longer shadows and changing landscape of the first month of autumn.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 11mm (22mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f11
Shutter Speed: 1/400 seconds
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On