Sunday, December 02, 2012

Winter trees

click photo to enlarge
Winter trees - at least the deciduous variety - are different from the trees of spring, summer and autumn. In the more benign seasons they appear genial, softer, friendlier, more welcoming, a complement to their location. In winter, however, these trees seem to have a split personality. Looked at on a cold, clear day, with blue sky above, or seen against the warm glow of a sunrise or sunset, the tracery of twigs, branches and boughs charm the eye with their beauty and invite us to look more closely at them and admire their delicacy. However, on a cold, damp, grey foggy day, the wet, black, skeletal silhouettes can assume a severe, malign, even depressing, appearance.

I was thinking about this as I pointed my camera across a piece of waste ground in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, framing some factory chimneys and the smoke or steam that was issuing from them. The billowing, white clouds were being distressed and dispersed by the wind as they climbed from the stack and trailed across the dark clouds above. Should I move to my left and exclude the trees from my composition, or should I include them? I briefly tossed those thoughts back and forth in my head and decided that the trees, on this occasion, added a desolate touch that intensified the slightly grim prospect before me, and I took my shot. In summer they would add a welcome greenness, softening the location, offering towers of natural beauty in this urban setting where housing abutted the towers of industry. But, on this late November day, despite the sun breaking through the cloud cover, that welcome verdure was only a memory and a promise.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 105mm
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/400
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On