Friday 19 December 2014

Colour - Winter Solstice in Ireland

Ireland's Weather 

It is hard to imagine we are about to reach the shortest day of the year here in the Northern Hemisphere.  This winter so far has been another exceptionally mild one here in Ireland.  Garden flowers which should have been burnt by frost by now have continued to bloom here on the south coast.  Some confused birds here have even been breaking into song throughout the winter.  At the same latitude as Newfoundland, Ireland is pretty far north but is warmed by the gulf stream from the Caribbean.  With an oceanic climate, weather influences mainly from the Atlantic and a prevailing southwesterly wind, our winters tend to be wet and mild. 

Ireland's Sunshine

At this time of year light plays as big a role as weather in the quality of bird images.  Mid-winter sunlight has been playing its usual tricks and websites and forums have a share of poorly white balanced images as a result.  I never tire of revisiting the images below which illustrate just how poor the light quality is at this time of year.  Light temperature is in a state of constant flux here in late December, whereas in late June it is stable for most of the day.  White balance correction is a must at this time of year.  More on white balance HERE.

Winter Ultraviolet Light

Unfortunately the website seems to be having trouble at the moment, but having been watching the UV index over the winter, the index throughout these latitudes remains permanently low in winter.  I recently took my UV reflectance camcorder outside and was surprised to find that it could still generate usable images, even in this low ambient UV.  More on UV imaging HERE.

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