Monday, February 13, 2012

Frosted windows

click photo to enlarge
It's ironic that one of the ways in which shopkeepers and some householders seek to evoke Christmas cheer is to decorate their windows by spraying fake frost and snow on them. Those of us old enough to recall frost on the inside of windows don't wish to be reminded of the days when this was a regular occurrence.

In the the UK in the 1950s and 1960s, when central heating was a rarity, it was unusual for anywhere beyond the living room and kitchen to be heated. They usually had coal fires which radiated heat and warmed the front of those sitting around them, but left their backs and the rest of the room much cooler. Winter bedrooms were chilly places where blankets, eiderdowns (no duvets in those days) and hot water bottles fought valiantly, but usually in vain, to keep the cold at bay. A freezing night where the temperature dropped well below 32 Fahrenheit (no Centigrade of Celsius then either) would result in the single-glazed windows having a frost pattern in the morning as the cold surface of the glass attracted condensation which then froze.

I was reminded of those times when I walked around the village in the snow and frost with my camera the other day. Today's photograph presented itself on the window of a Victorian-period house that is currently empty. The temperature outside was about -13 Celsius. In the house it must have been a good few degrees below zero. These low temperatures had produced the sight familiar to my childhood eyes, and I couldn't help reciting the words of the poem that I learnt at that time.  It begins Watch out, watch out, Jack Frost is about, He's after your fingers and toes..." Perhaps you know it.

Incidentally, today's photograph is a colour shot (you can see a slight hint of brown at the bottom right) yet somehow it seems right that this icy subject should be devoid of any of the warmth that colour brings to an image.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 80mm
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/60 sec
ISO: 1600
Exposure Compensation:  0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On