Saturday, January 12, 2013

Dull weather photography

click photo to enlarge
Britain's geographical location - an island influenced by the Gulf Stream in shallow seas off the north-western edge of the Eurasian landmass - means that we are rarely subjected to the extremes of temperature experienced by places further north or south, or those well inland from the warming effect of the sea. So, we get regular rainfall, clouds are common, and our weather is best described as "changeable". We get plenty of bright and breezy days, but we also get quite a few that are dull and damp. Like most British people I relish those days when the sun is in the sky, the shadows are deep and sharp, and the colours of the landscape glow. It lifts my spirits just as it does for most other Britons (note: not "Brits" - it sounds like a disease!) However, being a photographer, I like to think that every day offers a quality that is worth recording or interpreting.

I've spoken elsewhere about my liking for photography in foggy and snowy weather, how I like the changeable skies of showery days and the flat light of blanket stratus clouds over the sea. On a recent trip that involved crossing the River Humber I stopped off on the south bank - the Lincolnshire side - and indulged in a little dull weather photography of the Humber Bridge. If you do a search for photographs of this large suspension bridge you'll find that the great majority are taken on sunny days or at sunrise or sunset. There are only a few taken on days that some would describe as "dreary". And yet, there is not only a challenge to be found in making such photographs, there is a satisfaction too in stepping away from the commonplace image and making one that offers a different quality and a different mood.

On the dismal day of my photograph the sky had sufficient interest that I wanted to include it. The challenge was to find some foreground interest in this flat, estuary landscape. It came in the form of an open gate that was by the footpath that runs along the top of the riverside bank. Its silhouette against the reed beds was just what I needed for my composition.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 24mm
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/160
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.67 EV
Image Stabilisation: On