13 Feb 2011

The best I could manage on a damp February Saturday

Apologies for yet another post of little worthwhile substance, but it’s been a funny, disorganised sort of week and my mind hasn’t sufficient capacity left for writing anything sensible or of value this week.

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

On the perimeter of the reservoir are the remains of some workers cottages and farmsteads from before the valley was flooded. This shot was a blended exposure from two frames developed from the same raw image taken – it would have been impossible to get this much detail in the foreground shadow and good colour in the sky from a single in-camera image.

As mentioned previously, I got a new camera for my recent BIG birthday and haven’t yet fallen totally in love with it – it’s taking some getting to know and get the best from. I was concerned that there was actually a problem with it, I was getting a few totally out of focus shots, despite having focus lock confirmed, so I consulted fellow owners on a photography forum for advice.

After discussion of focus and exposure issues, I took it out for a walk yesterday – I needed to stretch my legs and get some fresh air and the 2Km reservoir walk we chose is local, has a good car park and provides just the kind of scene I’ve been having difficulty with.

So armed with some ideas to try and warm clothing I put it through its paces and whilst the scenery was very post-winter and drab looking and the weather very changeable – from bright low winter sunshine to big dollops of cold rain, I came away with a higher percentage of successful shots than I had been doing.

I shot these in a raw unprocessed format which is my usual practice with my DSLR and I think this will be the way to go, I was much happier with the image quality (at pixel level, in terms of sharpening, contrast etc.) and it fits nicely with my preferred work flow for post-processing images – I like working the images to my own taste rather than just accepting what the camera gives me.

My new camera has a wider wide angle than most digicams (24mm equivalent, where most are 36mm or 38mm) and this was one of the reasons I chose it, as I do like to take very wide angle shots like this. I use a 12mm ultra wide angle lens on my DSLR.

I did however have to question one previously published theory – that dogs always carry the largest possible stick they can lift with their jaws. I was passed by a golder Labrador with a very trim stick in his mouth – it was about 2″ in diameter and about 15″ long – with very clean saw marks at each end. I suspect his owner, fearing for the safety of their shins, or perhaps having already come off badly after an encounter with the dog’s favourite walk-buddy – decided to create a stick of his own that was perfect for carrying and throwing and ensured rather less bruising. Mr Boo and I both spotted it simultaneously and pointed, laughing; the owner must have thought we were bonkers!

There’s often little water in this race which feeds the reservoir, but after several days of heavy rain, the waterfalls were more lively than I’ve seen them before.
To paraphrase a quote by Ms Dolly Parton – ‘if you want to see rainbows, you have to put up with the rain’. You can just see that this was a double rainbow and actually was a full arc on both sides too.