Blue Sky, Spitalfields

Text and picture World © Geoff Wilkinson – All rights reserved.

I have to say that I didn’t see many blue sky days during my Spitalfields project. This photograph was taken one August afternoon and if I remember correctly this was a unique weather day. Not that I worry too much about such things. One of the pieces of advice I give my students is ‘don’t put you camera away just because the sun is not shining’. I have one photograph that is a particular favourite of mine taken on an overcast rainy day in the East End of London, I’ll keep that for another time.

If you have been following this blog from the start you will know that I believe photographs are made by just simply looking and thinking how you can interpret your subject. Having an expensive camera is great but if you don’t know what to point it at it becomes a really expensive doorstop. I encourage students not to fall into the trap of just looking ahead but to also look down at the floor, look up at the tops of trees and buildings. It will give a whole different perspective to your photography.

This particular photograph came from looking up. It’s a simple if not conventional composition taken in Blossom Street, Spitalfields, it just needed some reinterpretation from what my eye actually saw. The eye/brain combination is so clever that I could see detail in both the side of the building, the ironwork and the much brighter blue sky. The camera sensor can’t cope with this. If I had exposed to get detail in the brickwork it would have burnt out the sky so I choose the opposite. I set my exposure for the sky and so turned the brickwork, plants growing out of the brickwork and the crane into silhouette.

Technical info: Nikon D80, handheld, in Aperture priority mode, f2.8 28/70mm Nikon zoom lens. The shutter speed was 1/1600th of a second and the aperture was f5.6. The ISO was 200

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