My wife is a committed sun worshipper who likes nothing more than a cloud free sky. I enjoy a sunny day too, but give me a few ice cream castles in the air* to add contrast to the scene and my camera is happy too.

Of course the best way to get the most from these conditions is to use a polarising filter to cut the glare and give real depth to the blues above, or below as in this shot of what I assume is an adolescent tern. 

This ability to use filters is one of the advantages of SLR photography, either by screwing the filter onto the end of your lens, or, as I do, fitting a filter holder to the lens which then allows the combination of two or more different effects

This is also the disadvantage. A point and shoot camera is designed to capture whatever is put in front of it, albeit often at a lower standard, but the SLR that is set up for one shot may not be capable of changing quickly to meet a new opportunity.

And so having sat down and attached all the necessary accessories to polarise the light for this shot I was focusing on the distant clouds, which was a pity as the interloper in my next frame would have made a great picture – if she’d been in focus!  Her red hair would be great with some back-lighting I thought, so began the process of dismantling the filter holder and changing lenses as her only viable cycle route was back past me.  Or so I thought for when I finished she was nowhere in sight… until I looked up.  She had carried her bike up the 49 steps to the top of the cliff to continue her ride!

Still, it must have been fate, because it gave me the chance to photograph Cliff, who I discovered had a great laugh that makes today’s portrait.

*Joni Mitchell – Both Sides Now (not from her album Blue!)


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