Sunday, October 13, 2013

The allure of dark skies

click photo to enlarge
After the coldest spring for a few decades the summer of 2013 eventually turned out to be one of the warmest and sunniest of recent years. There were blue skies and white clouds a-plenty, enough to satisfy the requirements of the lover of warmth and the photographer of sunny, congenial scenes. Even the farmers were happy because precipitation arrived reasonably regularly in ample but not excessive quantities. Early October proved to be significantly milder than usual too, with temperatures daily above 20° Celsius. However, much as I enjoy mild weather and the feel of the sun on my back, the photographer in me does eventually yearn for more dramatic weather, the sort that the British Isles is known for, with fronts moving across the land bringing cloud, rain, sun, breezes and the rest: what the forecasters describe as "changeable" weather. Well, as the previous post rather suggests, with a dip in temperatures, a rise in wind speeds and increased cloud cover, change is now upon us.

Today's photograph was taken as that change arrived. It shows the decorative roof of a building on the corner of New Road and Hall Place in Spalding, Lincolnshire. Across its ashlar face, between the ground and first floors, stone lettering proclaims that it was built for S & G Kingston, Land Agents and Surveyors. It was erected in 1907, the work of J.B.Corby & Sons, and is in a free style, a sort of modified Jacobean. The windows have mullions and transoms, decorative oriels sit over the main entrance and at each end of the curved facade, and above are turrets, a strapwork balustrade, tall chimneys and a weather vane. It was this cluster of verticals that caught my eye when I saw them sunlit against deeply dark clouds that threatened rain. The contrast of the glowing stonework against the black sky appealed to me and so I took my photograph.

The drama of a sunlit subject against an uncharacteristic dark sky has always appealed to me. Unfortunately photographs with these qualities aren't easily acquired because a suitable subject doesn't always present itself  in the right place and sometimes a camera isn't to hand. I did, however, catch an old walnut tree in these circumstances last year.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 37.1mm (100mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f4.9
Shutter Speed: 1/800
ISO: 125
Exposure Compensation:  -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On