Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Enjoying the hoar frost

click photo to enlarge
Yesterday we had hoar frost on top of hoar frost such that everything looked like it was encrusted in a thick layer of sugar icing. I had hoped to do a few close-ups or macro shots of leaves, plants and branches, but the delicate subtlety of the previous day had been replaced by this heavy, white covering.

So, once again, I set off quite early to photograph the marvel of it all. This is the first shot of the day. It shows a farmhouse and a few outbuildings in the field across from my house. In fact, like a number of such buildings in the Fens (and elsewhere in Britain for that matter) it is a former farmhouse, now used as a simple dwelling. The consolidation of farms into bigger holdings, together with the reduction in the number of people involved in agriculture due to mechanization, are the main reasons why there are fewer working farms than there were.

I've never thought that this subject was particularly worthy of a photograph before, but the frost added a dimension that transformed it. The whiteness combined with the blueness of the early morning light had the effect of subduing the green of the hedge and grass and made the red/orange of the bricks and roof tiles of the buildings stand out more. The hole in the hedge gave the main subject a frame of sorts, while the tall poplar tree on the right broke the essential symmetry of the composition in a satisfying way, and acted as a counterweight to the upstairs window on the left.

I was glad I'd made an early start because when I went out again in the afternoon the wind was blowing the ice crystals off, forcing me to keep my camera covered, and each tree had a patch of white below that grew ever bigger as the day progressed.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 161mm
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/80
ISO: 3200
Exposure Compensation: -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On