Saturday, April 04, 2015

Seeing stairs

click photo to enlarge
One of the pleasures of photography and looking at photographs is the way they can help you to see better; how they can focus your attention on form, colour, line etc in a way that augments your unaided eye. Very frequently I look at a photograph that I have taken and notice not only small details that had escaped my eye when it alone confronted a subject, but also fundamental qualities that had similarly passed me by.

Today's photograph shows the turn of some stairs in Croome Court, a large, eighteenth century country house in Worcestershire, now in the care of the National Trust. I took the photograph in this particular way for two reasons. Firstly a wider angle shot taking in much more of the stairs picked up clutter and extraneous objects that detracted from the elegance of the stairs themselves. And secondly that shot would not have emphasised the way the stairs turn and the devices the architect used to make this a visually satisfying sight. In fact, this is another example of the part being more expressive of the subject than the whole. I liked the combination of subtle colours with the stark white. I liked the way the dado rail traced a line on the wall that echoes the bannister of the stairs. I liked the wrought iron detail of every third baluster. I liked the horizontal "S" profile of the edge of each step. But, what I didn't notice, until I looked at my photograph, was the way that "S" shape produces a section that stretches across the underside of each step and produces subtly shaded modelling and a strong, contrasting line where it meets the wall. And I like that too.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Nikon D5300
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 40mm (60mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f5
Shutter Speed: 1/60 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On