Sun, sun go away bring back a cloudy day!


    I’m not in DC this spring.  Therefore, I missed the Cherry Blossoms.  However, I did such a great job last year.  Why should I try to top perfection :-).  Also, I decided to cancel a trip to the Netherlands to photograph the tulips at the world-famous Keukenhof garden near Amsterdam.  Therefore, I decided to make the best of my local flora opportunities. The flowers are blooming here in the United Kingdom as spring is in full swing. Vibrant yellow colors from the rapeseed plant line the motorways as we drive around the country.  However, the flower du jour is the bluebell. This is a beautiful blue flower that grows abundantly in many forests throughout the United Kingdom. It has been featured in the newspapers and on television.  When the flowers are in full bloom, the forest grounds are peppered with bluebells. This Saturday was an unusually warm day. Deborah and Jordyn went on a shopping trip to a London mall. I dropped them to the meeting spot to gather with the other shoppers and now the day was mine to enjoy. I researched the bluebells and I had some forests I wanted to visit.  After a week of deliberation and research, I drove 40+ miles to the Heartwood Forest.   This particular forest was mentioned in the local paper for the quality of their bluebells. There was one major problem with the journey and I hoped it would be resolved by the time I arrived.   The weather was mostly sunny with clouds playing hide-n-seek with the sun. Unlike the other 99% of the people in the world, I didn’t want today to be sunny.   I was hoping for a nice overcast day so the sky would be an enormous softbox to illuminate the forest grounds.   When the sun is bright, the trees cast strong shadows. The ground has bright areas where the sun hits directly and dark areas caused by the trees shadow.   This wrecks havoc on a photograph. The contrast is so great that consistency is lost and the viewer struggles to view the image.  However, I had a few hours before I had to pick up the girls. Therefore, I planted my camera on the tripod and I waited for the sun to hide behind the clouds.   I planned my image composition when the sun was shining. At last, my patience was rewarded with the clouds hiding the sun. The overcast provided soft light giving the images a consistent tone. Therefore, while many dread going outside during an overcast day, I use it as an opportunity to photograph flowers, people or other subjects not requiring a bright blue sky. To see more of these images, please visit my Flickr page. -Roger

The Difference the Light Makes

The snow continued to fall on Friday as Deborah and I attempted to get acclimated here in the UK. Unfortunately, the base closed and this prohibited our efforts to finish necessary business. 

During this time, I captured a couple shots of the trees covered in the freshly fallen snow. The camera sees all the white and attempts to underexpose the image. Therefore, I had to compensate for that and I increased the exposure by +2/3 and +1.

Later that same day, I caught a couple more shots as the sun began to set. I had to change the white balance from Auto to Shade. The auto setting tries to balance all the color in the image. Therefore, certain colors are diminished. Setting the camera to Shade warms the image which is very effective during sunsets. The natural warm color produced by the evening sun is enhanced.