More hours please...

18th November 2010
So - now we have more morning and much less afternoon in our day. I confess I never really understood the need for the clock changes in the Autumn and again in Spring. I understand it doesn't actually benefit the farmers, which was the story I was brought up with, and with the number of massive combines, tractors and bits of farm equipment that have more lights on them than the Portman Road footie ground on an evening match, you can see why it doesn't.

However, it makes life a little easier for us photographers. I was lucky enough to be back in the New Forest on the morning before the clock change - when the sun hit the horizon at a very civilised 8am. You couldn't see it of course, there was far too much cloud, but the thought was there. The following morning I had to get up at a less civilised 7am to get the same effect. Go figure.

The reason for the early rises is essentially down to the quality of the light that we get at the start and end of the day. With the sun below the horizon any cloud is effectively lit from underneath, and turns a gorgeous pinky orangey purpley colour as a result. With the sun actually at the horizon, you can get terrific bursts of orange through the smog-on-the-horizon effect and if you're lucky enough to have mist and water thrown in then there really is no excuse for not coming home with some really cracking shots. By contast, shooting in the midday period makes life tricky when it comes to balancing the lights and the darks in the picture. Cameras are nowhere near as good as human eyes when it comes to sorting this contrast out, and the photographic results can look pretty gruesome if they're not carefully managed.

Winter should therefore be the best time of the year for photographing anything outside - the sun stays low in the sky all day, theres usually enough cloud to makes the sky look interesting and with the chance of a storm or two thrown in theres every opportunity for everyone to return home for tea and toast with a card full of really impressive pictures. You also get to venture outside much later in the day - and stay out all day if you have the time. On the downside, a 9 to 5 job pretty much scuppers your chances and you'll need to invest in some of those fingerless gloves that the milkman used to wear. Anyway, why not give it a go...!




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