15 Jan 2012

Frost and blue sky – perfect for a walk

First of all, may I wish everyone a Happy New Year and I hope that it will be kind to you.

I’m pretty horrified to see how long it is since I blogged – I hadn’t realised it had been so long over the festive holidays. Mr Boo and I have both been laid pretty low with a bug – not sure how to describe it, it was a severe cough with flu like symptoms. Not a cold as such, just a rotten, exhausting cough. I came off pretty lightly in comparison, but Mr Boo had a pretty miserable Christmas – it’s tricky to manage a very robust, spasmodic cough when you’re waiting for surgery for an abdominal hernia.

Thankfully, he suddenly seemed to improve over the weekend, so when we saw how good the weather forecast was for today, we put together our stuff yesterday evening so that we could get out for the day today and we managed a walk and in-car picnic at one of our favourite places; Beacon Fell in Lancashire.

I suspect half of Lancashire had the same thought too and for the first time ever, we couldn’t find a space in any of our favourite car parks, so settled for a roadside spot we’ve used before, a little off the beaten track and walked a slightly different route – which worked out perfectly and proved to be a blessing as it was a smidge quieter.

Please click on any of the images for a larger view.

There was thick haw frost in the shade near where we parked, so we wrapped up warmly and set off in lovely winter sunshine and I took my camera along, as always. Unfortunately, whilst I had all the right equipment with me, I seemingly failed to engage my brain. I didn’t take many photos, for a variety of reasons, from the bitter cold on my hands, to meandering children within the frame and those photographs that I did take ended up lacking in technical competence, like totally failing to notice the very slow shutter speeds and consequent lack of sharpness. So this is all far from my best work, but the best I have to offer just at the moment.

I think I’ve almost certainly shown similar scenes to these before as I just love sunlight through trees and as we walk the same paths often, largely for this reason, I’ve surely taken these same shots before, although I’m pretty sure that I haven’t done them with this particular camera, so I’ll treat them as new images.

This is certainly a favourite spot as the shadows falling across the path always give rise to lovely curvy abstract shapes and even at this time of year, the sunlight is a deep golden colour as it dances through the trees.

I was also grateful for the nice spell of weather before the weekend when I managed to get out for a decent walk at lunchtime, having been held inside for a few days by the ferocity of the cough and an indecent amount of wind and rain. I had my camera with me then too, but the shots I took were specifically to test something out we’d been discussing on one of the camera forums, so this was as interesting as it got.

The camera I was using is the Fujifilm HS20 EXR – the EXR designation refers to the ‘extended dynamic range’ feature – one that I really do love and one which works well for the type of photography that I do. It allows you to capture a good range of tones in contrasty scenes like this. Most non-EXR cameras would burn out the sky and that white house if you exposed the foreground in the same way. This shot doesn’t look anything unusual, as this is what your eye saw and it just looks right, but the range of tones captured in an image like this is pretty fabulous and I love that I can get results like the two below with minimal post processing and confident in knowing that I’m unlikely to blow highlights like white cloud detail. Even the examples above with the trees show the same feature at work – one I’m becoming very fond of.

Apologies for the lack of worthy content in this post, I’ll aim to do much better next time.