Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Mist and contre jour

click photo to enlarge
It occurred to me when I was reviewing my recent photographs that Keats' "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness" is also, for this photographer, the season of getting back into contre jour shots, a time when I once again become a "close bosom-friend of the maturing sun". In high summer I tend to see the sun as something to work around. Its position, high in the sky and its floodlighting of the landscape make it something to be avoided across the middle of the day. Only very early and very late does it offer itself for inclusion in the frame, and only before 11.00am and after 3.00pm does it produce the kind of shadows that I like for modelling a landscape or building.

However, from September onwards the sun becomes much more co-operative. Its position in the sky when I am out and about with my camera means that I can often choose to include it if I wish. Moreover, early and late that low position adds drama to contre jour shots. The third of my "misty" photographs from the Yorkshire Dales exemplifies this. As we continued our walk the mist thinned then, unexpectedly, swirled back in again. The small group of trees ahead of us started to be enveloped and the clouds that had rolled in began to be obscured. And, as we climbed the hill towards them the sun broke through behind the foliage sending out the odd light ray: perfect for a contre jour shot, so I framed a composition and pressed the shutter.

I suppose for the benefit of doubters (you know who you are!), and in the light (pun intended) of my recent posting, I must add that no artificial photographic aids were used in the production of either the mist or the light rays. All is as was laid out before us on that October morning.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 28mm
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/2000
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On