Aussies Never Give You A Frosty Reception
There’s nothing quite like a blue sky to provide a great contrast for strong colours framed by your lens. This image shows you a major Melbourne landmark - the recently refurbished spire of St Paul's Cathedral. I chose this composition very deliberately, to use the yellow and green of Melbourne’s giant Christmas tree as a contrast to the sandstone of the steeple as well as the clear blue of the sky.
When I first shot the giant Christmas tree in our city square for the post Star Gazing, the sky was grey and moody. Then a few days ago, it was a beautiful blue Melbourne sky and I realised I should utilise my lunchtime to go back and shoot the tree again – to show you an incongruous meeting of worlds.
Why is it incongruous? Because the rest of the world celebrates Christmas in winter, while it’s summer here Down Under. So, something that is an everyday sight for me is something of a novelty for you. Hence the incongruity – a classic Yuletide symbol, the tree, photographed against the vivid blue of an Australian summer sky.
Christmas trees are supposed to be photographed under a sky laden with snow clouds. They are supposed to have a hoar frost upon their branches. When you choose your tree, you should be well clad and your feet should be suitably shod to negotiate frozen lakes and snowy hills.
Right? Not in Australia, mate. It's the height of summer here, as you can see from the clear blue sky in this series of shots.
And while I stood there in the city square, pondering the problem of how best to present the tree in a true Australian context, I had a classic D’oh moment.
There, to the left of the Christmas tree (see above) was one of the most natural symbols of this country with its topsy-turvy seasons – a slender gum tree. So there are two trees in this shot, a real gum tree beside the manmade metal Christmas tree covered with huge metal baubles and stars of many colours.
Because it was just after midday, the sun was practically right above me, which led to an interesting situation. As I squinted into the sun, I realised the nearby roof line could make a really arresting silhouette if I framed the shot correctly. And if I really contorted myself to work the angles, I could even get in the glare from the sun as well. Seriously, we’re talking real contortion here.
On the basis of my noble performance, I thought at any moment someone would tap me on my shoulder and offer me a job at Barnum & Bailey’s circus.
These shots were all taken in the space of about three or four minutes, but this frame shows a solitary cloud assuming something approximately like a stylised heart shape. To tell you the truth, I was concentrating so hard on the best possible composition that I didn’t notice the shape of the cloud. All I wanted to do was make sure the cloud was slap-bang in the centre of the frame. It was only much later, when I was reviewing the shots, that I paid attention to its shape.
I guess it’s very apt. Christmas is really a season of the heart.
For other participants in Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch HQ.