Saturday, November 19, 2011

Autumn at Deeping St James

click photo to enlarge
The other evening, with a friend, I gave a talk to a group in the village about photography. We divided the alphabet up between us and we each spoke about 13 of our own images (a couple with secondary images to support the main one). At one point I mentioned a quotation by Aaron Rose that I have always liked and which I first used very early in the life of this blog: "In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary". This observation makes the important point that light has the power to change things, even the most mundane, into objects of beauty and visual interest. I think the author and most people, me included, assume the quote is about the value of strongly directional light, and a lot of my photography - in fact quite a bit of every photographer's output - makes use of this kind of illumination.

However, as I've got older I've come to realise that every sort of light has qualities that can be used in photography, even the uninspiring flat light that is produced by a blanket of stratus cloud. Whereas hard, directional light makes for contrast, drama and in-your-face eye-catching qualities, diffuse, almost directionless light softens the scene, mutes everything and confers a quiet quality that can be very appealing in its own way. I blogged about this in connection with a photograph I took last year of some boats drawn up on the shingle beach at Aldeburgh, Suffolk. A couple of days ago similar light prevailed when I took this photograph of the River Welland at Deeping St James in Lincolnshire. I think it's not only the subject but also the light that gives the photograph some of the qualities that I admire in English landscape painting of the first half of the nineteenth century. Who knows, it may be a liking for the work of artists such as Crome, Cotman, Constable, Stark, Stannard and Colkett (mainly members of the "Norwich School") that accounts for me every now and then producing images like the one above.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 65mm
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/160
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.67 EV
Image Stabilisation: On