Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Changing the clocks

click photo to enlarge
In 1750 the Calendar (New Style) Act brought England's calendar properly into line with that of most Western European countries. The Julian system was replaced by the Gregorian, and the year began on 1st January rather than 25th March. As part of the process of alignment 1751 was a year of 282 days (25 March - 31 December), and in 1752 an adjustment was made that entailed removing 11 days - 2nd September was followed by 14th September. There is a story that the latter device led to protests, unrest, cries of, "Give us back our 11 days", and concern that the government was shortening people's lives. However, this fiction probably arose because historians took a piece of satirical writing and a Hogarth painting too literally.

I was thinking of this piece of folklore when we put the clocks back one hour last weekend, moving from British Summer Time (BST) to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). The result of this tinkering with time is that we get an hour longer in bed for one night, then mornings are lighter and evenings get darker sooner. The opposite, of course, happens in spring when the clocks are turned forward. Quite a few people disagree with the current practice: some want there to be no change, whilst others favour a two-hour shift of the clocks. No one, however, feels that we, in any way, lose time! One small effect of the change for this photographer is that the sunrises that accompany my rising in mid-October (and find very conveniently timed for snapping) now happen an hour sooner, and the sunsets move to earlier in the evening. Another consequence this weekend was that when my wife opened the curtains and let in the sun (that would barely have risen the previous day) it created a nicely balanced composition of light, shadows and silhouettes that caught my eye.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Lumix LX3
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 5.1mm (24mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f2.8
Shutter Speed: 1/250
ISO: 125
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On