Friday, September 21, 2012

The Humber Bridge and dog walkers

click photo to enlarge
One thing that is very helpful when you are photographing in large spaces such as the seashore, by a big river, in open fields or in any other expanse, is a sense of the size or scale of the view. The same is true when your shot includes anything large or something that is difficult to visually "read" in a photograph: cliffs are a good example. Scale in this sense is an understanding of dimensions. Anyone familiar with photographs taken by geologists of rocks or embedded fossils will recognise the importance of the often included hammer or short ruler in helping the viewer to appreciate the size of what they are seeing. Those items don't have much use in general photography. However, there are many things that can offer a sense of scale where it is needed. In the past I've used a bench, a fence, a tree, cows, sheep and much else. Anything that is familiar to the viewer and which can therefore be used as a size indicator is all that is needed. Of course, the very best of indicators is the human figure. Place a person in a photograph and not only will he or she often be the initial point of interest for the viewer, they will immediately lend a sense of scale to the depicted scene.

Britain is known for being a nation of animal lovers. I count myself as one, though not in the sense that it is usually meant. My preference is not for the cats, dogs and the other kinds of domestic pets that are far too commonly found on these islands. As far as they are concerned I wish they were much fewer in number than is the case; a sentiment not widely shared or welcomed. My liking is for wildlife. The existence of animals that kill wildlife in very large numbers (cats) or are significant disturbers of the it (dogs) is something that I regret. But, I have to admit that there is a time when I find the presence of dogs and their owners useful, and that is as objects offering scale in my photographs. Today's shot does, I think, benefit from the dog walkers and their animal by the water's edge. Those small figures underline the enormous size of the Humber Bridge arching across the river above them. Take them away and the sense of the size of the engineering is substantially lessened and the force of the photograph diminished.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 24mm
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/1250
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.67 EV
Image Stabilisation: On