Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snowy fields and contre jour

click photo to enlarge
For the past two days we have had snow. Not an unusual occurrence in winter, but these falls come at the end of a particularly mild and rather wet autumn, are heavier than is usual in this part of the world, and are accompanied by temperatures that are at or below freezing by day and night.

Snow is like manna from heaven for photographers, and so I've been making the most of it. One of its virtues, photographically speaking, is that it so changes the subjects that you've photographed before that you feel motivated to snap them again. Furthermore, contre jour shots take on a special quality when snow is on the ground, so I feel driven to take rather more of these than usual.

Today's shot was taken during a morning walk around fields near our village. The snow was criss-crossed with hare tracks, the sky above with the vapour trails of airliners, and the snow had long shadows thrown by the low sun. I chose this piece of relatively smooth snow for the foreground because you are never quite sure what kind of flare you're going to get when you shoot into the sun - it varies with the camera/lens combination - and a smooth surface allows any lens artefacts to show up properly. On this one I got a a small "rainbow" towards the bottom of the frame. This shot is just what came from the camera, with no filter or post processing, except for a little noise suppression in the sky.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Lumix LX3
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 5.1mm (24mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/1600
ISO: 80
Exposure Compensation: -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On