The group usually has one ‘away day’ per year and today was the day – a trip to Tollesbury. The sun, of course, was not shining, it was a grey day.
If anyone tries to tell you that a good photographer should be able to produce a good picture under any lighting conditions don’t believe a word of it. Just trawl through your own photos, I’ll bet that those that you are best pleased with were taken in sunlight. The two main reasons for this are (1) shadows and (2) camera dynamic range. With the former, a shadow gives any picture – depth – and a sharpness of detail that just cannot be achieved otherwise. ‘Dynamic range’ is the camera’s software’s ability (or usually inability) to expose for extreme brightness (the sky) and much darker tones (the foreground) in one instant of time.
So in conditions such as these what can one do. The obvious ‘easy’ choice is to include as little of the sky in your shot as possible (although on a sunless day this will probably still result in a ‘flat’ looking picture) but this will not always suit the subject matter. If your camera will allow it try taking the same picture at different exposure settings.
In truth there is not a lot you can do other than to try to improve the original by computer software manipulation once you get home.
Not to be deterred five of us met at the Tollesbury marina and set about making the best of the weather conditions. Those of you who are familiar with the area will know that the centre of attraction is the lightship, which is, at least, a bright red, so gives a bit of colour, so what do you think was included in most of our pictures! Two of mine are shown below (I have taken advantage of being the site administrator here as I will be on holiday when the other group members debate their efforts!). They are not brilliant but illustrate the aforementioned problems that I have touched upon.
After a few hours and 101 pictures of the lightship we decided to call it a day. Ken and Brian had to head for home whilst Peter, Alan and myself headed for the nearby Tiptree Tea Rooms of Wilkin and Sons Ltd for what turned out to be a very nice lunch. And then – guess what – THE SUN CAME OUT!