Every leap in technology is, initially, at the expense of quality. Only in time does quality catch up,and digital photography took several years to get near the results of slide film. But in the end film was buried under the mountain of advantages that digital offers. The constant search for greater speeds and reduction in size and costs follows Moore's Law of computers, which states that every 18 months the number of transistors that can be placed in an integrated circuit doubles. ln photogra- phy, this translates as memory, speed and pixels, which all continue to increase at a rapid rate while the hardware shrinks in size.

Every method has its particular quality. Digital tends to flatten photos, and auto focus keeps everything sharp. But early complaints about quality have largely disappeared, and results from the amateur photographer using inexpensive equipment can be stunning.

It is not just the figure in the picture above that tells you this is the Caribbean. It is the colour and the light. Beneath a deep blue sky, painted green and blue, the colours of these buildings could not be found in a northern climate. Heading away from the equator, the earth's atmosphere, through which the sun's rays have to travel, increases, causing a more limpid light and lowering the intensity of the co- lour. Nearer home, like wine that does not travel, the attractive lavendar blue of window shutters in Provence can look dull in a northern European country, even when the paint is taken from the same paint pot. Paints evolve locally, and the vernacular architecture in many countries for decades relied on — and was defined by — a limited range of proprietary paints

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