Thursday, July 22, 2010

The challenge of mid-day photography

click photo to enlarge
In a recent post I talked about the difficulties and disatisfaction that can come from photography during the middle of the day in high summer. High contrast, short shadows, very bright light and desaturated colours resulting from reflections on leaves and grass were some of the issues I reflected on.

Yesterday I was in Market Deeping for lunch. We ate at a Georgian hotel, a former coaching inn, that backs on to the River Welland. After we'd eaten we went to have a look at the river which at that time of day was cloaked in deep areas of shade from the bankside trees. As we stood there looking at the ducks and fish in the clear water a rowing boat came into view and my friend and I raised our pocket cameras to take a photograph. It may have been the prospect of being snapped by strangers, or perhaps it was an unwillingness to run the gamut of the hotel's eaters and drinkers along the riverside terrace, but whatever the reason, the rower immediately turned the small craft and headed back downstream. But not before I'd managed to frame a shot that included an off-centre boat against shadow, a foreground of delicate grasses, and an over-hanging frame of trees.

Looking at the image on the computer later that day I was disappointed by the glossy reflections off the leaves above the boat. The foreground leaves also had a brightness that made for good shapes against the darker water, but they were a touch "blown". What to do? Well, I subdued the overhead leaves and did the same with the leaves at the bottom (though with less success). Then I thought I'd try a black and white conversion. It has qualities that appeal.  Both shots still reveal the time of day when they were taken, but perhaps less than they would have done before my "tinkering". An image taken at that time with an overcast sky, or earlier or later in the day would definitely have been easier to work with.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Lumix LX3
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 12.8mm (60mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f2.8
Shutter Speed: 1/200
ISO: 80
Exposure Compensation: -0.66 EV
Image Stabilisation: On