Friday, April 09, 2010

Blue skies and starfish

click photo to enlarge
I've made no secret in the posts of this blog that blue, cloudless skies do not constitute my idea of good photographic weather. Azure skies are great in spring as a sign of the changing seasons and a marker of the warmer weather to come: they undoubtedly lift the spirits. In winter they give deep shadows and strong colours, and can break the monotony of a long run of dark, overcast days. But for the most part, to my mind, and especially in the British Isles, they more often than not present a photographic problem. When the sky is unbroken blue you have to compose your shots much more carefully to avoid filling a large area with blank "nothing".

I usually overcome this challenge in one of two ways. If trees are to hand I try to place some in the area of blue: that way I don't have to point the camera down more than I want to do. And that, of course, is the other technique - tilting the camera down to minimise (or remove) the area of blue. This isn't always desirable, or possible, particularly if you're trying to keep some verticals - say the edges of building - parallel. But with some subjects it works fine, and has the added bonus of prompting you to seek out more unusual compositions.

The other day, when I knew that the weather was going to be cloudless for my journey home from Norfolk, I was a little disappointed, because that was the weather I experienced the last time I drove along the county's beautiful north coast, and a little cloud in the sky would have helped me come up with some different landscapes. However, I tilted the camera down, and mined a different seam of snaps. Today's is one such, a starfish stranded on the beach at Salthouse. For this image I was fortunate to have a couple of distant fishermen who had strolled higher up the beach and were chatting. I was able to put the starfish slightly left and balance it with the men on the right, and also include a little sea, a touch of horizon, and enough clear blue sky to be interesting but not boring!

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Lumix LX3
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 5.1mm (24mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/800
ISO: 80
Exposure Compensation: -0.66 EV
Image Stabilisation: On