Saturday, January 09, 2010

Snow-fallen angel

click photo to enlarge
By my calculation this area of Lincolnshire has had only one day since 18th December when snow hasn't covered the ground. Now that may be an inconsequential length of time compared with what can be expected in Canada, Finland and Siberia, but for this corner of England it's both long and unusual. Most years, after a snowfall, the weather warms sufficiently for it to melt away within a day or two. Sometimes it lingers for a week, with the odd top-up falling, usually during the night. However, this year the weather seems to have got stuck in a cycle of easterly and northerly winds, with some heavy or light snow most days recently. The first snow to fall wasn't accompanied by strong winds, so it was relatively pleasant. In recent days the icy blasts have made going out much more of an ordeal. Not that it has stopped this photographer, of course. But my radius of action has shrunk considerably, and the car has made only a few forays down the slippery roads.

Today's photograph shows a churchyard angel that I came across after a recent heavy bout of snow. She usually stands, looking quite imperious, gazing eastward, holding on to her anchor lest the winds or temptation should seek to bring her down from her pedestal. In the snow she looked to me like someone had poured the contents of a bag of icing sugar over her head, which seriously undermined her usual dignity. From memory, I think this is the only large monumental figure sculpture in this churchyard. Some of the eighteenth century graves have small cherubs and relief sculptures, but that's about it. In fact Lincolnshire churchyards contrast strongly with those I've been used to seeing in Lancashire where nouveau riche Victorian businessmen often constructed ostentatious memorials with angels, neo-classical weepers and the like.

For this photograph I was torn between a close-up of the angel's upper body and this contextual view. My final choice was clinched by the "white-out" of the trees behind that allowed the lichen-encrusted green stonework to stand out in a way that it wouldn't in less snowy circumstances.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 98mm (196mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/160
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On