Thursday, December 29, 2011

Spalding station silhouettes

click photo to enlarge
Silhouettes are a reasonably regular feature of my photographic output. This year I've posted silhouettes of pollarded poplars, electricity pylons, rooks and lights, the disembarking Lynn ferry, and the Observatory Cafe at "The Deep" aquarium, Hull. Quite a few other images, whilst not as obviously featuring silhouettes as strongly the examples cited, nevertheless leaned heavily on dark shapes against a lighter background: shots such as this fishing boat and these shoppers for shoes.

In fact, when I look back at my "Best of..." silhouettes figure quite prominently in most of the photographic categories. For anyone who hasn't dipped into my back catalogue here are a few examples: St Anne's pier, roller coaster repair, street lights, ducks and water, Mount Pavilion, Fleetwood, dead tree, promenade seat, and one of my personal favourites, the bait digger's bike.

I find silhouettes appealing for a number of reasons. They are strikingly bold, dramatic takes on reality, a way of instantly turning the mundane into something visually arresting. Their positive/negative qualities, whereby the outline of the subject creates both the flat dark shape and the light shape that intersect like jigsaw pieces, endows images with a semi-abstract quality that I like. Then there's the counter-intuitive fact that a silhouette of an object often leads your eye to linger longer and often results in you taking in more detail than you would from a well lit photograph of the same thing. Don't believe that? Look at the photograph of the bait digger's bike again and consider whether you'd have explored it as much if the sun had been behind the camera.

Today's photograph was taken on a shopping expedition to Spalding, Lincolnshire. It was taken from a supermarket car park and shows the prominent chimneys of the railway station, a subject I've featured before. Interestingly, as I was writing this piece I remembered that today's photograph is not the first one I've taken featuring silhouetted chimneys, the end of the day and birds flying to roost. This one was taken in Fleetwood, Lancashire, in 2006.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 100mm
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/400
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.67 EV
Image Stabilisation: On