Friday, March 29, 2013

Billingborough church at night

click photo to enlarge
Driving in the dark over the low hills between Folkingham and Billingborough the other evening, the church tower of St Andrew came into view. It caught my eye as its illumination made it glow like a golden lighthouse, a beacon for travellers heading down onto the Fens. As we drew into the village the tall, fourteenth century tower and spire seemed to be brighter still against the mottled sky, and appeared to be in competition with the moon to see which could best catch the eye of passers-by. It was a contest that, on this particular night, the church was winning. However, the effect of the full moon on the broken cloud was so pleasing we parked up and had a brisk walk to find some photographs that included these two sources of light. It was also, I thought, a good opportunity to try my new compact camera's iAuto+ mode, a setting whereby it takes several shots very rapidly and then merges them to make a single image with reduced noise and motion blur.

Of the cluster of photographs I took the main one is the image I like best. It was taken through the gateway of Billingborough Hall, a large house built in 1620 and modified in the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This building is now a care home for the elderly. For my purposes it provided not only more lights in the form of lit windows to punctuate the darkness, but roof and chimney silhouettes and foreground illumination spilling onto the drive from a nearby streetlight. The tower of St Andrew glows in the photograph in just the ethereal way it did at the time, a dominating presence now at night just as it must always have been in the village during the day.

There is a pond near the west end of the church so we walked round to see if there was a photograph to be had that included a reflection of the church in the water. I came away with the smaller photograph and a few failed shots that included sleeping ducks on the pond's island. Billingborough church is an imposing building that is a fine exclamation mark in its village setting. It's a subject I've photographed several times - see, for example, this shot with the nearby Church Farm. I've photographed the pond before too.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Photo 1
Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: iAuto+
Focal Length: 10.4mm (28mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f1.8
Shutter Speed: 1/8
ISO: 2000
Exposure Compensation:  0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On