So I think my latest outing up to the hills was more successful than the last. I think I caught the only gap in the weather all weekend and I was rewarded with this shot. I’m pleased to say my new walking boots felt great and I can’t wait to be back up on the hills soon to capture more landscapes. With winter on it’s way I’m looking forward to getting out on some brisk mornings and evenings.
I was itching to get out today but conditions initially didn’t look promising with grey overcast skies. Not that this is a bad thing but I really wanted to capture the golden hour before sunset. Around 3pm the skies cleared a little and there was broken cloud which makes for fantastic conditions. I set off to Ladybower reservoir with the intentions of reaching the salt cellar rock stack. The drive down was fantastic and and conditions were improving further still. I arrived and literally ran up the path until I ran out of breath, which I’m pleased to say wasn’t too soon. My table tennis fitness regime must work!
There was just one slight problem however the clouds came over again just as I reached somewhere worth shooting. There was clearly a front coming over and I resigned myself to the fact that not every time we venture out can we return with keepers. Despite this I got the camera out and my ND filters which I’m ashamed to say was their first outing despite having them for over a year (well I did say I needed a kick up the backside). It also felt like it was blowing a gale in places to, even with my sturdy tripod wasn’t going to keep camera shake away. Despite all this I shot away happily and thought I would return with something useful. With the sun nearly set and behind cloud I headed back down the track where the sun almost broke through creating a dramatic sky. I got the camera out again and set it all up where I captured the below. I think my first outing with the sole intention to shoot landscape was quite kind to me. However I have learnt a few things on my day out.
Firstly set off earlier than you think you need. Had I arrived an hour earlier I could have got some excellent shots and got to my intended destination! Even with my run up the hill I could have done with more time. Secondly make sure you have plenty of space on your memory cards. I’m a bit fanatical about backing photographs up. They say data doesn’t exist unless it’s in at least three places at once, I make sure mine are but don’t like to remove recent shots from cards unless I’ve finished editing them. As a result of this I had about 200 shots left on one particular card, before setting off I though was more than enough. However when you start exposure bracketing it quickly disappears. It’s not fun having the sun disappear behind a cloud again just as you’re reaching for another card. Another lesson of the day was to carry some tissues. A runny nose is not a good look. Wear some good footwear, I love my trainers but they are not ideal for running up hills with my feet rolling about in them. Fortunately I’m waiting for my new boots to arrive. I can’t wait for them. Sometimes I think I like companies just because of their names. I think Mammut may be one of these! One final thought is that I need to devise a ingenious way to attach my tripod to my bag. It does have a way of attaching a tripod but the Giottos is just far too heavy to attach it to the bag this way. I’m thinking of a cargo net.
All in all a good day I think I got an acceptable shot in the end. I can also really recommend the android app OS Atlas to which proved to be really useful. It’s basically any OS Map area you want. Remember to cache the area you’re going to before hitting the hills!
So I thought I’d write a post about my Yongnuo 622C flash triggers. I’ve been working with these a while now and can honestly say I’m super impressed with them. Flash triggers allow you to set up independent flash units and put them anywhere off camera, and they fire when the shutter is pressed allowing endless lighting possibilities. So why would you mount a flash unit off camera I hear you cry, well the reason is that you can choose to light your subject however you like and from multiple angles and light sources. If you’ve looked at snapshots from cameras with the flash mounted at the front of the camera you’ll see that it’s often not very flattering for the subject and the image can look flat with blown out skin tones. You can also run into the problem of red eye. This is often why you’ll see photographers who are using a dedicated flash unit on top of an SLR pivot the head of the flash to bounce it off a surface such as a wall or ceiling nearby. Flash triggers allow further control. These models apparently work up to 100 meters away although I haven’t tried that…yet! I have also been very impressed with their consistency and have not had one misfire yet even testing it with a notorious flash which creates lots of radio interference. The 622C’s also allow for high shutter speed sync and they allow you to control various functions and channels from the camera menu. These features would have been things we could only dream about a few years ago. I think I’ll be shooting more and more with these, competition wise there seems to be nothing comparable at the moment.
Let me start by saying there are a several manufacturers who make fantastic cameras and have a wide range of great lenses to accompany their camera bodies. All of which would be up to the most demanding of jobs. I started shooting with Canon in the 35mm film days and have never been tempted to jump ship to another manufacturer, there are several reasons for this I think.
The first and most important to me is ergonomics. For me Canon SLR cameras just feel right in the hand and all the functions come easily to my fingers and are within reach. This is important because if you are not consciously thinking about adjusting the settings of a camera then it means you are focusing on the important things – like taking pictures. Many functions fall at the fingertips can be changed without the need for the eye to ever leave the viewfinder. And when you do need to adjust camera setting within the menus they are intuitive to me. I once picked up a friends Nikon and navigating the menus for a long term Canon user was somewhat tricky. I’m sure had I spent more time with the camera it would have come easily after a while, but my overall impression was that the icons on the camera seemed to bear no resemblance to me of its function. I’m sure for lots of people they make perfect sense, but not to me.
Another reason is that once you have decided on a camera system you are very much stuck with it. Lenses are not readily interchangeable between manufacturers so I can’t pick up a Nikon lens and put it on my Canon as good as their lenses may be. I would only be able to do this if I was prepared to buy a whole new setup and start accumulating lenses covering the same focal ranges I already owned. There are exceptions and I have in the past used mounts to allow me to experiment using old lenses but there are always drawbacks to this and it’s never been more than an experiment for curiosity.
Finally I’ve been happy with all the Canon cameras I’ve ever owned. They have never let me down and have always been absolutely reliable. I take great care in looking after my gear to make sure it’s in excellent condition. Some photographers however give their gear a much rougher time. I’ve seen several accounts of Canon cameras suffer punishment of which no precision instrument should ever be subjected to only to go on and live to shoot another day. This fills me with confidence. I can also personally vouch for the Fujifilm J10 compact camera. After a days motorcycling with a friend whilst in Australia, the camera was attached to a jacket somewhat optimistically, sure enough the camera fell off at about 50mph and tumbled down the road. After retrieving it I watched in disbelief as it was turned on and functioned as it should. The zoom lens still worked perfectly and on closer inspection of the photos taken after the event were fine! I’ve seen some compact cameras rendered useless after a one foot drop onto carpet. They made the J10 tough indeed! I’d expect nothing less from my Canon.
So I’ve been a bit occupied recently and haven’t updated my blog as much as I had hoped over the Christmas period. One of my projects was to complete an English Tuition website for a client. Melanie provides English tuition in Huddersfield and the surrounding area. Melanie’s website can be found at www.melanie-robinson.co.uk. She teaches children’s key stages through to post graduate level, more details can be found on her new site. It’s not quite finished yet and we are shooting a video in the coming weeks about her services and teaching methods. I’m sure her enthusiasm and love for the subject will shine on video so it will be a great addition to her site.
So here’s one of my recent favorites. The colors of Autumn make for great shots!
So here is one of Dove Stone Reservoir in the Peak District. The image is made up of three images in total that have been stitched together. Unfortunately I arrived slightly too late in the afternoon and the light wasn’t what I had hoped for. However I do like this shot and find it quite tranquil, I think it’s the symmetry and the lone tree!
So here is the latest shot. I’ve been enjoying the weather in recent weeks as on occasions it has been very nice indeed. This is another one from the Peak District in the idyllic village of High Bradfield. The village definitely has lots of sights worthy of being post card material!
So I’ve decided I’ll try and edit one photo at least a week. I’m not sure what this car is but answers on a postcard please!