Sometimes I walk into a room and my heart sinks when I see the light. It may be that its just really dark or that the direction or quality of the light is bad. My job is to make photographs regardless of the conditions. There's nothing I can do about the light, other than use flash, which I don't like to do unless its absolutely necessary.

So I look to see where the best light is and work from there.

This picture was taken at about 4:30 on a very dull winter afternoon. The guests were having their drinks reception before going into the main room for the meal.

The only light coming into the room was from a couple of very large sash windows so I stood in front of the windows and looked back into the room from that position to see if I could find some interesting pictures.

Then something unexpected happened. Being a large country house it had exterior lighting which was there to light up the whole front of the building. When the lights came on some of that light spilled into the room through one of the windows and started hitting people in interesting ways - particularly this boy who was so engrossed in his mobile phone that I had plenty of time to get this picture without him realising.

By exposing for the bright exterior lighting and letting the rest of the room go dark, your attention is focussed on him while still leaving enough information in the rest of the picture for you to know what is going on around him.