Thursday, 11 February 2010

Project 46 - choosing the moment

This morning, after weeks of prevarication, I stumbled out of bed while it was dark not on this occasion to join the 7.11 Hove to Clapham Junction but instead to complete Project 46 about the effect of the movement of the sun on images. It was cold but the sky was already lightening - and I knew from my experience with sunsets how quickly things can change.

Not much was happening apart from a little pinkness in the sky at 7.09am. It was still sufficiently dark for the streetlights to be on. Only a few hardy joggers and dog walkers were around.
By 7.21am the sky was beginning to get more interesting with some of the higher clouds taking on a lighter and brighter pinkness although the low grey cloud seemed to be trying to blot them out. While on this occasion it wasn't enough to be truly spectacular it showed the potential of a sunrise - but this phase did only last for a few minutes.By 7.30am it looked as if the sun was more likely to set than rise again, as the bank of grey clouds thickened up again. Meanwhile, I was icing up - there was snow on the ground and given the instruction to stay in the same place for an hour or so I was freezing. I took the decision to move closer to my subject of Brighton's west pier.
By 7.42am I turned round from being absorbed by the tide tables to discover the grey clouds had been overcome and the sun was bursting through. This was a really interesting moment as the sun was still partially obscured by the clouds - but still pink.
7.49 and the sun continues to rise, burning off the cloud around and creating some interesting effects. It becomes quite difficult to photograph however, with areas being burnt out. Focusing on a different part of the image however lightens the whole thing and means you don't get any of the sunrise effects at all. It would be a shame to have missed the pink sea!
At 8am the sun is fully up, brightening everything that's around me and warming my fingers and toes which have just about frozen solid. At last there are some shadows to look at. The effect in the sky and on the sea is dramatic as it changes from being pink to an almost sepia effect with the sun's rays clearly visible through the cloud.
I did enjoy this exercise - and in fact the getting up early too - but have struggled a bit to see which is a "good" picture as there are clearly significant areas of highlight and dark on all of them as a result of shooting directly into the sun which confuses the light meter.