“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Testing the Wide Angle on Llangollen Canal, Wales

f14, 35mm, 1/200s, ISO 400
First time out with a wide angle zoom lens - loved it and tried all sorts of weird and wacky ideas - some worked and some didn't. It took some getting used to, having such a different angle of vision, but I enjoyed the challenge I set myself and came away with a new found respect for landscape photographers that perhaps I was lacking before.
I had been to a talk by Guy Edwardes some time before the trip and he is a fan of capturing star-bursts using a wide angle and a high f-stop (typically anything over f16), then shooting directly at the sun, and so I thought I would give it a go.... not easy in a moving boat, but thankfully the low Autumn sun gave me lots of opportunity to practise. This image of a sunburst through the tunnel was more of a trial-and-error accident than anything considered - but I love it all the same.

I had wanted to try my hand at "creative-blurring" too whilst away and had an image in my head of swans on the water, similar to one of Guy's he had shown of a pelican in flight, but sadly it was much trickier than I ever imagined and so more practise is definitely needed. I did however get some nice motion effects by mounting the camera on the tripod at the front on a fairly slow shutter speed and focusing on a fixed point in the boat which of course does not move in relation to the camera. This gave the illusion of a boat travelling at seriously high speed along the canal, and of course tunnels, bridges and reflection add some good interest and colour.

f22, 16mm,0.4s, ISO 640
We had quite a punishing route this trip and so there were very occasions to be in position for sunrise or sunset as we had hours of cruising time to cram in, but that said, there were some fantastic autumn colours in the trees at dusk - Llangollen truly is beauty.
Now I'm not a huge fan of tunnels, particularly wet ones with next to no space inside and zero lighting, so again I set the camera up to amuse myself and take my mind off the journey through it. Given the severe lack of light in the lengthy Chirk tunnel I had to bump the ISO right up to 12800, but I was again impressed with the D4's ability to still produce a decent shot.
f8, 17mm, 0.4s, ISO 12800!

I also spent some time interval shooting our journey using the in-camera time-lapse function - quite impressive results in a moving boat... I set the camera up on the tripod again on the front of the boat and used a 1 second interval since the boat does not travel too fast - took a few trial and error attempts, but I'm pleased with the results, particularly the sections negotiating the locks.

Looking forward to the next boat trip where I have set myself the challenge of starlight and torch photography - how hard can it be!?

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