English snow at night and the magic square


(full size: here)

I love the square. I fell in love with it back in my days of Liubitel and 120 roll film. The 6×6 cm ground glass and the loupe of that twin-lens reflex conspired to infect me with the photographers’ bug: the urge to compose. To stuff the frame, to twist the light, to add a meaning to a shape, to place a blotch of colour or a line strategically, so that it may hold the image together. Nothing disciplines you more than a combination of chemical photography and ground glass, when you only get 12 shots before the expensive roll of film runs out.

The square is the least merciful canvas. Its aspect ratio is neither portrait nor landscape. As much width as there is height, and you are the one creating depth. For example, you open your back door into the garden, set the tripod and expose for 30 sec at f/4. And the shadow on the snow-covered grass will clinch the shot. (Bokeh fanatics, desist: suggestive diffusion of the background is not tantamount to souping it up). The lurking round shrubs pulled in by the door shadow are adjusted in post (from raw) as are the sky tones.

Oh yes, the snow. We are having snow for the first time since autumn. It is forecast to stay. What this means in England is that the snow will stay for a day. Maybe two.  Carpe diem.

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