Taking in New Views

Ladybower Reservoir, The Peak District. Sony RX10
Ladybower Reservoir, The Peak District. Sony RX10. Click to enlarge and drink in the view.

I have mentioned in this blog previously that there are some areas of the UK which should be good for photography but when I go there they seldom reward my efforts. The Peak District is one such area; on paper it should be good but for me it’s always a bit of a let-down. This is very disappointing as it’s possibly the nearest landscape area to where I live with many locations being within easy reach.

But my view of the area might have begun to change. I can’t put my finger on specifically why but I’m seeing many more possibilities when I visit or research possible locations. This last weekend is one particular example. The idea was to take a short walk above Ladybower reservoir using a route I found in a walking book. The book promised a dramatic and impressive view half way round but I have learned over the years that many of these can be a bit of a disappointment for the photographer.

On this particular day though, I was actually taken aback by just how good the scene that greeted me was (the image above). I have tried to do it justice with the image but I don’t think that I can.

The image was shot with the Sony RX10 and exhibits the wonderful Greens and Blues that Sony seem to capture so well with their cameras. A 0.3 ND grad was used on the sky to help prevent the clouds from over exposing. The image is in fact 9 vertical images stitched together in Lightroom. At 300dpi it measures approximately 36” x 16” and has excellent detail. The only mistake I made was to have knocked my camera into Auto ISO mode causing the images to be exposed at ISO 125. There is therefore slightly more noise in the image than there should have been but this can easily be corrected with noise reduction software.

The key points from this rambling are:

  1. Don’t write off locations because of a few poor experiences
  2. Keep exploring new locations in an area but don’t just restrict yourself to the locations in the photography mags – use other sources of information
  3. Sony colours are great

Finally, did anyone notice that I changed my camera a few weeks back (and I don’t mean the Canon G7X). I’m officially a Sony user for my main camera (but I’m not giving up the Olympus).

8 thoughts on “Taking in New Views

  1. I, too, live within a short distance of the Peak District and find, that although it’s great for walking, I struggle to capture images which I really like. I just don’t know why. I also find that other photographers’ images a bit “samey” so perhaps the difficulty is more general than we assume.
    However, and this is not sycophancy, I really found your image gave me great pleasure. The colours are great and the detail exceptional. Thanks!

    1. Hi Allister, thanks for the positive feedback about my image. It’s also reassuring to know that others find the area similarly difficult. I do have a friend who seems to excel in the area but I can’t put my finger on quite why but his images are usually different to the run of the mill landscapes. Perhaps that’s why.

  2. This is definitely a study in color and “vista”. And I agree there is the potential for “samey” as Allister suggests. I think what tips the scale here is the shadows that help accentuate contrast and interest. This also solved the problem of the rather mundane foreground by covering it with a “sheet of shadow” that, if not present, would have rendered the image a more “samey” appearance. One might also ask, “How would this look in black and white and how does it validate (or not) the color version?”

    1. Thanks John. I agree that the cloud shadows make the shot but they do need the colours. I did try a black and white conversion and there was no feeling of depth in the image. I think the colours are helped by the warmer foreground and the slight blue haze over the distant trees.

  3. A great area when the crowds aren’t there I’ve biked all around the area and love it, I’d agree with the thrust of the post though. Sometimes it’s just nice to “be on the mountain” and not shoot the scene.

  4. Lovely shot!

    I enjoy reading about your equipment choices and techniques, interesting to hear you will focus more on Sony. Is it the RX10 in particular that you will be using? I just purchased an A6000, but really agonized between that and the RX10.

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks for the feedback. And to answer your question, no the RX10 isn’t the new main camera. I have jumped to try the Sony A7r and I’m using Canon L serries lenses with it. I’m really impressed. It feels very much like the Olympus Em5 but a little bigger. I must do a blog post about it once I have taken it out a few times.

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