Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Low-light conditions

I'm tempted to think photographers (at least in the temperate UK) share something with farmers – for both, the weather is never quite right. For the farmer, it will either be too wet or too dry; with the photographer, it's either not light enough or it's too bright. I find myself craving the longer days and clearer skies that spring will bring. Winter can, of course, be wonderful – those bitterly cold days when the sky is a glorious blue and the light is crystal clear (T. S. Eliot's "mid-winter spring") can light up natural subjects in all their glory. Grey days, however, can render everything flat and lifeless. Happily, however, there are occasions when failing light or an overcast sky can produce images that are gentle and subdued, with subtle tones that are somehow right for the season. By contrast, I do find some of the most perfectly 'staged' avian photography – pristine backdrops (often literally backdrops), vivid colours and an almost total absence of any context – a little, well, too much…

Canon 1DS MkII, 1/100 sec, f8, 400mm at ISO 800

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