Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tongue-twisters, sea shells and over-exposure

click photo to enlarge
"She sells sea shells on the sea shore"
Tongue -twister popular with English-speaking children

There's a certain age, probably around 8 or 9, when English children are attracted to tongue-twisters, those phrases, sentences and rhymes that it's difficult to say quickly and repeatedly without tying your tongue in knots. The sentence quoted at the top of this entry is often the first exposure that a child has to these slippery constructions. But there are others! Here are three of the most widely known:

"Swan swim over the sea, swim swan swim,
Swan swim back again,
Well swum swan!"

"Red lorry, yellow lorry"

"Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper corns,
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper corns,
Where's the peck of pickled pepper corns that Peter Piper picked?"

The only point of the tongue twister is to see if you can say the phrase or sentence repeatedly and quickly without tripping up. Most people can't, but children do love to try. I am always reminded of the sea shells tongue twister when I use the word sea shell: it must have been imprinted on me at a very impressionable age!

A while ago I wrote myself a memo on my computer. It said, "Take some over-exposed, high key photographs." I didn't. But the memo kept catching my eye, nagging at me, and so yesterday I took down this shell from my book cases and made this over-exposed image of its spiral. Over-exposure of an image doesn't come naturally to me. If anything I slightly underexpose, and frequently massively under-expose, particularly when trying to control a strong light source. But, with the right subject, over-exposure can produce very engaging effects. I must do it more!

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen
Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 35mm macro (70mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f11
Shutter Speed: 1.0
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: 0EV
Image Stabilisation: Off