Friday, January 21, 2011

Winter colour and photography

click photo to enlarge
Last night I attended a talk about how to increase the amount of colour in your garden in winter. This is a challenge to all gardeners in the UK. Green and brown are easy to achieve, but the rest have to be planned. The speaker took us through four sources of plant colour - berries/fruit, leaves, bark and blooms. Quite a few of the examples he showed are present in our garden but some were new to me and he gave us a few ideas for planting. This morning, a cold and clear day, we went for a walk that took in three churches: Folkingham, Walcot and Pickworth. As we trudged over the low hills, along frosty footpaths that took us through pastures, winter wheat and vegetables, I looked about me and saw that, the blue of the sky excepted, green and brown were the dominant colours of the winter countryside too. The brown did shade into buff and almost yellow in places, and the orange bricks and pantiles of the farms and cottages added a high note here and there. But, wherever I looked it was mainly green and brown.

I took my photographs of Folkingham's pinnacled tower and the broach spires of Walcot and Pickworth. I also cast about for a few landscape shots. But, I wasn't very satisfied with much of my output largely because of the unremitting blue of the sky, its plainness relieved only by the odd vapour trail here and there. Moreover, the shadows that the sun produced were deep and dark, making the images very contrasty. So, this afternoon, as broken cloud rolled in, I went out again with my camera and took in the churches again, this time producing shots that I'm happier with. The late afternoon light, partly filtered by cloud, and with a yellow tinge, deepened the colours of everything and allowed the shadow details to be better seen.

Pickworth is one of my favourite nearby medieval churches, but it's a building that I haven't managed to photograph especially well. Today's image is the best so far - though I'm sure I can improve on it.

For a photograph of Pickworth church's fine old south door and some graffiti, see here.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 17mm
F No: 7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/125
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: N/A