Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Contre jour pier

click photo to enlarge
Contre jour means, literally, "against the day", but a better English translation is "against the light". Today's photograph is another of this kind of shot taken around the same time as yesterday's, further down the pier at Southwold. At one time in my photography of recent years I seemed to be taking these almost daily, perhaps seduced by the drama that is injected into an image when your lens moves near to the sun (see examples here, here, here and here). Today's photograph, however, whilst it has more impact than the same shot with the sun behind me would have had, is rather more subdued than the photographs I used to regularly turn out. Perhaps that's down to the clear sky, sharp details and shadows, calm sea and relatively few people.

Black and white is often used as a means of emphasising the powerful qualities of contre jour. Nineteenth century photographers noticed this effect almost immediately, and early cinema exploited it too, although in motion pictures it was the German Expressionists, such as Fritz Lang, and the Hollywood "film noir" of the 1940s and 1950s who took it to its heights. It's something I mean to do more of as autumn progresses and the sun is lower in the sky.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 22mm (44mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f5
Shutter Speed: 1/2500
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On