I’d like to propose a counter-term that points us in another direction: image quality. Not, as the Oxford English Dictionary has it, ‘the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind’, or even ‘the degree of excellence of something’. No, I mean it in another sense of the same word: ‘a distinctive attribute or characteristic possessed by someone or something.’Read More
Autumn can be a great time to be a photographer. There's the colourful foliage, the sun is lower in the sky creating long shadows and rich textures, and the light is that bit warmer.
This year I've become conscious that it's also frustrating time for me. I'm an academic and it's precisely the time I get busier indoors. Maybe I've been making more of those furtive glances towards the windows this year, half hoping not to glimpse any scenes of photographic possibility. As you might imagine, I've had to turn away with a sigh on more than one occasion.
So when I'm out shooting I have to hope that the sometimes temperamental light and weather in England is in cooperative mood. I have been shooting a lot of black and white of late, and decided it was time for a little break and some perhaps inevitable autumn colour. To make things interesting, I took a lens I had practically retired, a Nikon 70-300mm with built-in vibration reduction, and began to think about some long shots and flattened perspective.
I had some expired Kodak Ektar film in my fridge, and it was getting high time to put it to use. Ektar is a film that simply loves colour and sunshine. Expose it generously (I tend to go for a half stop more) and it is wonderfully saturated with a very distinctive character; underexpose and things get a lot more pastel and washed out. This was a risky film to choose, because with the British weather in the wrong mood, well, I may as well be back indoors trying not to look out of windows.
The image above is one of my favourites from a couple of outings with this autumn MO. On the whole I was lucky with some interesting light, and the weather held off for just long enough. I spent a fair bit of time chasing patchy sunshine through trees and using what I feared were all-too-slow shutter speeds (bearing in ming Ektar is a 100 ISO film). Nikon vibration reduction, it would seem, is a sound technology, and certainly helped in my endeavours. Now my window-bound glances shouldn't be too longing, and, besides, autumn hasn't really got too long to go.