Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Clouds, letters and imagination

click photo to enlarge
"Clouds That Look Like Things" is the very accurate title of book available from the Cloud Appreciation Society*. The photographs for the publication were supplied by Society members and come from all over the world. Flying saucers, fish, dragons, people - you name it and someone, somewhere has probably photographed a cloud that, with a little imagination, looks like it. When you think about it, it's quite an obvious subject for a book. Who, as a child, hasn't stared at the clouds and seen the profile of a face, the outline of a castle, a bird or some other shape momentarily formed then slowly dissipating into an amorphous, cotton wool-like mass? If you're like me you see such things still.

But, as I discovered the other day, sometimes clouds, like people, feel the need to break the chains of their everyday existence and venture into situations new and challenging. I was photographing the "Water's Edge" visitor centre in Barton upon Humber, Lincolnshire. I'd taken shots inside the building, and I was looking for some of the exterior. One end of the building has a very prow-like canopy that reaches out to an area of tarmac where cars can be parked. I walked away from the building, turned round, put on my wide-angle lens and raised the camera to my eye. Immediately, what hadn't been apparent in my unencumbered field of view, suddenly became very obvious within the confines of the viewfinder. Clouds were forming the letter "Z" in the sky. More than that, they were making it right next to what, with a little imagination, was the letter "A". What a fortuitous conjunction - A to Z! What are the chances? Why have I never seen anything like it before? Perhaps, I thought, these were rogue clouds, clouds that wanted to extend their aerial art by combining it with earthly shapes. Perhaps the "letters" in my photograph are forerunners, the avant garde, the shape of things to come.

*I am a proud member with a certificate, number and badge to prove it!

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 17mm
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/500 sec
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.67 EV
Image Stabilisation: On