Monday, 10 December 2012

A winter’s day

At last the weather looked promising enough to attempt Project 13, and I had a day with little to do but shuttle to and from a location every hour or so to take some pictures. So here goes in relatively quick succession:

Crosby Villa (28mm equiv) Time Crosby Villa (54mm equiv)
PC097303.jpg 09:16

Approx 45 minutes after sunrise
PC097305.jpg
PC097313.jpg 10:19 PC097315.jpg
PC097325.jpg 11:10 PC097330.jpg
PC097335.jpg 12:34 PC097343.jpg
PC097420.jpg 13:37 PC097425.jpg
PC097455.jpg 14:55 PC097473.jpg
PC097478.jpg 15:41

About 2-3 minutes before sunset
PC097492.jpg

This was a rather long exercise, the purpose of which, I suspect, was to help me experience for myself the way in which the landscape changes visually as the sun moves. Unfortunately, and I think this is problematic for the exercise, at this time of year, and at this latitude, the sun moves very little.  I downloaded a handy sun compass for my phone, and that shows that the sun completes less than 100 degrees of arc from sunrise to sunset and scarcely gets above 12degrees from the horizon. This can easily be seen in the above shots and as a result the changes during the day are rather subtle. They are also a little disguised by the tendency of patchy cloud to build up in front of the sun, as a result of the hills of the Lake District which are just out of shot to the left.
During the summer months the face of the terrace would be illuminated by the setting sun, but at this time of year they remain in shadow the whole day, with the brightest period being early (ish) in the morning – at this time the glancing sun catches the edges of the chimneys to give a rather interesting effect along the top of the roof line in the 54mm picture.
The land itself is fairly undulating and changes in the shadows can be observed in the backdrop of gentle hills, and there is a change in tonality which accompanies the angle of lighting on the grass in the foreground. My favourite shots are the pair taken at 14:55 where the  flare from the direct sunlight causes a sort of gentle mistiness in the valley.  My least favourites are just an our earlier when all the major detail is in shadow – and even the hills are uniformly unlit.
The project notes also ask me to consider whether the shots are as I remember them. In general I think the answer is yes. I have shot or looked at this particular view many times in many lighting conditions so nothing here is a major surprise to me, except perhaps the complete absence of detail in the 12;34 shots which I remember as being pretty similar to all the others up to that point.
Conclusions
Even given the limitation sof the lighting in this exercise it is reasonably clear that there are good and bad lighting conditions for landscapes, which depend on the position (horizontal and vertical) of the sun, and the topology.

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