Saturday, January 05, 2013

Spalding sunset

click photo to enlarge
The weather has taken a turn for the mild. Daytime temperatures of 10 or 11 Celsius would not disgrace March so they are very welcome in January. Unfortunately the balmy conditions have been accompanied all too often by leaden skies, drizzle or rain. However, today the sun made an intermittent appearance and I left off my path cleaning to accompany my wife on an afternoon shopping expedition to Spalding. I call it an "expedition" because shopping, though it seems to have taken the place of gardening and looking after pet animals as the national pastime, holds few pleasures for me and I approach it as a soldier or explorer might - with a grimly determined expression on my face.

But, I'm also an optimist, and so I always put my compact camera in my pocket when I go shopping. By the time we emerged from a succession of stores the sun was low in the sky, about to set, and I headed back to the car resigned to not finding any photographs. As we passed through a part of the town that isn't the most picturesque - it features a car park, public toilet, the magistrates court, security fencing and some housing and shops that have seen better days - I looked around for an image or two. The potential subjects were most unpromising and the fading light did nothing to pique my interest. But, just as we were about to leave the area a low shaft of sunlight broke through, raking the backs of a row of old houses, revealing the details of their battered brickwork, making sharp silhouettes of a tree and a nearby streetlight, and flooding the scene with strong colours. I raised my camera, composed a shot, pressed the shutter and walked on. As I did so I reflected on the transformative power of sunlight; how it can not only animate and elevate the mundane but can also lift the spirits and provide a photograph where only moments before none seemed possible.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: LX3
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 12.8mm (60mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f4
Shutter Speed: 1/200
ISO: 125
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On