The “holiday” is over

I last posted on the 26th September, a day before leaving for a few days in the Lakes. A lack of wifi at the place we stayed kept me from my blog and then the arrival of grandson number four and the wedding of daughter number three continued to keep me AWOL until this morning. I have some images to share, some footage for a blog post or two and some thoughts to share too. But not just yet!

One benefit of a lack of wifi is that I got some reading done and as my birthday also fell within this two week window there were some new things to read too; no doubt some of what I read will influence some of my ramblings in the coming weeks. A couple of new gadgets found there way into my possession as well so the inner child in me was also catered for.

I did post a few images to Facebook, Instagram and even Twitter over the two weeks and once again the benefits of the Fuji’s in-built wifi and Snapseed on my iPad were well appreciated. I’ve just looked at the RAW files from the last couple of weeks and whilst there won’t be an avalanche of new material there are some nice images that I’m looking forward to processing properly over the coming week or three.

© Dave Whenham

Trees and mist, Rydal Hall

© Dave Whenham

Boathouse, Rydal Water

So, I leave you with a few images from the last fortnight and the promise of more posts to come. I’m away for a few days in Anglesey next week, a place I’ve never visited so I am looking forward to that immensely.

 

Moors misty morning

Alliteration has been a weakness of mine for many years!

As part of my ongoing videography development I decided to try to create a short video that used no drone footage, no time-lapses and no stills apart from a short slideshow at the end. In other words from start to finish just video footage shot specifically for the project. To simplify it slightly I was going to revisit a regular location and spurred by my Sunday sunrise success (more alliteration but see earlier post) I planned to shoot a sunrise for this exercise.

The weather forecast was such that a misty start was a possibility but the forecast was also for reasonably clear skies with just a little cloud cover. Visions of low lying mist with a blue sky above, dotted with fluffy clouds, filled my mind. Knowing the lay of the land and where the sun would rise I was also thinking that if the sun peeked through said clouds I would get some lovely side lighting across the rocky edge at Buckstones.

(C) Dave Whenham

Not the conditions I had previsualised

Would you be surprised to find that it didn’t go to plan? In fact I think the trendy term is (or was?) #fail

My alarm went off at 5.30am and resisting the urge to snooze the alarm I was out of the door, flask of coffee in hand, by 6.00am. After a stop for diesel I was in place ready to shoot before 6.30am. Camera (Fuji X-T20) on tripod – check. Camera in video mode – check. Fluid video head in use – check. Audio recording active on camera – check. Lapel mic in place ready to capture my pearls of wisdom – check.

In short, a text book departure and set up. Sunrise was due at 6.59am and I was ready and waiting by 6.45am.  The Nikon D800E was at my feet and I have never been better prepared for a shoot – ever.  Period.  There was just one problem. I had to guess at the composition because I could only see a few feet in front of me.

Hhhmmm.

I stuck it out until 8.30am at which point I had to get back home to keep an appointment. During the two hours on location I shot video, waffled into the tiny dead cat on my collar and even took a couple of stills. At no point did the mist lift. There were a couple of occasions when there seemed to be a slight gap in the mist as it drifted across in front of me but at no point during the time I was there did it clear even for a short period.

Whether the video will get made is as yet an unknown quantity. I haven’t looked at what I have on the memory cards and nor have I listened back to the audio to see if I have enough to make something worth listening to or looking at. Unfortunately it will need to wait until next week at the earliest as I’m away on a conference until Sunday. If it does get made it will be a major achievement!

But, in closing, it is important to note one key thing – I had a fabulous two hours, enjoyed the solitude, the peace and the joy of trying to create something despite the conditions. There may, or may not, be an end result but I had a great morning.

Chasing the light

OK, not the most original title ever but it has the benefit of accuracy.

© Dave Whenham

As I’ve already mentioned in an earlier post today I “mis-timed” my departure this morning; or to put it another way overslept. I had checked and knew sunrise was 6.58am so, allowing for a twenty minute drive and ten minutes to set two tripods up and get cameras in place I calculated that I’d need to be out of bed at 5.45 to give me time to dress, make a flask of coffee and get the gear into the car. I awoke at 6.28 and although I moved quickly I was already past my ideal set-off time when my feet touched the bedroom floor.

Despite driving within the legal limits, of course, I was still five minutes from my intended destination, and still fifteen minutes behind schedule, when, glancing in my rear view mirror, I saw that the sun was just about to pop its head over the horizon.  Luckily the road up on the moors was quiet at 6.57am so I managed to pull over and grab the camera (Nikon D800E with my trusty Nikkor 24-70) for a couple of shots including the 10-frame panorama I posted when I got home.  I had no time to do anything other than grab the camera and shoot handheld with whatever lens happened to be on it; I would have preferred the 70-200.  Nor was there time to add ND graduated filters so I bracketed and hoped that the dynamic range of the camera and some judicious post-processing would come to my rescue.

© Dave Whenham

Handheld panorama (6 frames)

Still hoping that I’d get something at my chosen location I jumped back in the car. In the end, despite visiting two alternative shooting spots, the conditions just five minutes down the road were nowhere near as photogenic. I debated sitting with the flask and just waiting but realised that there was a totally clear sky above the scene and by the time the sun illuminated my view it would also be very harsh.

I decided to go back and chase the light and the rapidly dispersing mist back down the valley.

© Dave Whenham

I stopped just over the brow of the hill, swapped the 24-70 for the 70-200 and knowing that I had an image in the bag already took the time to get the tripod out.  The light in the upper part of the sky was much brighter than the foreground but with the sun almost bald in the sky creating huge variances within that upper area of the frame no amount of graduated ND filters were going to make much difference. I therefore bracketed by five stops but in the end only used a single frame choosing to crop the sun out on the computer.

pano_DWE2767

A tiny bit of post-production manipulation here. I applied a warm filter to the sky and a cooling filter to the landscape. The end result is closer to what I perceived at the time.

sunrise-moors-_DWE2720

Taken at the same time as the panoramas, this is a single frame.

30minsaftersunrise_DWE2774

I stopped three times driving back managing a few nice images including the tree above which sits just above the M62 motorway. The third stop, at the reservoir, yielded nothing unfortunately. Just as I got the tripod out of the boot, the geese, which had roosted overnight on the water and were my intended subject, suddenly rose and disappeared before I could even extend a single tripod leg.

However, I was not going to complain. I had chased the rapidly dispersing mist down the valley and captured a few nice images so all in all a good start to the day.  It was a shame my intended location wasn’t “doing it” for me this morning but as I’ve said before nothing beats knowing your patch and it was that knowledge that was my friend this morning.

Sunrise (1 image)

© Dave WhenhamI mistimed my departure this morning so was still five minutes from my intended destination when the sun peeked up over the horizon. Luckily the road up on the moors was quiet so I managed to pull over and grab the camera (Nikon D800E w/Nikkor 24-70) for a couple of shots including this 10-frame panorama. Had no time to get tripod out so handheld (again) nor add filters so have lost a little bit at the top of the frame but all in all a good start to the day especially as my intended location wasn’t working for me at all this morning!

You might need to click on this to see it larger!

Waiting for the Light …

[spoiler alert]

… that doesn’t come.

An unscripted video filmed and shot at Buckstones on Marsden Moor a couple of days ago. It’s all new material but if I’m honest none of what I captured that day is likely to feature in a “best of” compilation, unless it’s the best of the worst!

I chose to record the voiceover totally spontaneously because I wanted to see if the narration sounded more natural as a result. I think it does. It also has a consistency from being recorded in one “take” although I must remember to stop turning my head away from the lav mic to retain a consistent volume. I’ve tried to adjust as necessary but getting it totally right at the time would have given a better result.

With the light not playing ball it was a bit of a let-down photographically. However, it was an excellent learning exercise as I wanted to ensure that everything (apart from titles and music) was produced from the one visit. So stills, video, drone footage and time-lapse sequences were all shot that morning. The voiceover was recorded stood next to the tripod, so some of the ambient background noise was picked up underneath the narration so to speak. Even the shots of the Pluto Trigger and Turnspro were created on location.

I also got to ramble about two pieces of kit that I have acquired in the last eighteen months and had cause to regret not taking a hat. The newest purchase, just last week, is a Turnspro for rotating the camera during a time-lapse (or even a video shot) and the other is the Pluto Trigger which I’ve had a long while now.

Pluto Trigger
https://www.turnspro.com

Intro/Outro Music: “Easy Lemon” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

A Rookie Mistake

© Dave Whenham

Fuji X-Pro1 35/1.4 1/4000th sec f2.8 ISO 800

Elland Vintage Fair, less than a ten minute walk from from my front door so a natural event at which to point my lens. I chose the Fuji X-Pro1 with 35mm f1.4 lens, perfect for this type of shooting, and slipped an 8mm fisheye in my coat pocket.

© Dave Whenham

Snap! A nice establishing shot through the open gates.

Snap! Another establishing shot this time of a few of the children’s rides and the burger van (“good food fast”).

Snap! A close-up of a Porsche badge on gleaming, black rain-covered bonnet.

and then ….                     IMG_0562

 

And then I realised that I’d not picked up the two spare batteries that I’d put out next to the fisheye not ten minutes earlier. I also realised that as I hadn’t used the X-Pro1 for a while I should also have checked the battery before setting out.

Gutted doesn’t cover it. But there was more to come; patting my pockets I couldn’t locate my iPhone. I was staring at the prospect of no X-Pro1 and no phone camera! Fortunately this second slow was short-lived when it transpired my iPhone was in my wife handbag but if I’m honest I’d kinda lost interest by then.

So, rookie mistake – I hope that by sharing it at least one person will heed the advise to always check you have that spare battery. So, here are three differently processed images from the iPhone. I didn’t capture what I’d intended and really did pay for my rookie mistake.

© Dave Whenham

iPhone 7

iphone7IMG_0546Iiphone7MG_0545