Working as a contractor in the southwest of England I look forward to the weekends having a break from sitting in an office all week. As a walker and photographer I keep my eye regular on BBC Weather for where I am intending to explore that weekend. This weekend it was around Condicote in the Gloucestershire Cotswold.
Cloudy Misty Weather
I find BBC weather pretty reliable 90 percent of the time. Although need to regular check every 8 hours or so to see if any changes. This weekend Around Condicote in Gloucestershire looked like a good walk of around 9 miles. I got the walk from the AA’s 50 walks in Gloucestershire. The forecast was cloudy all day but no rain. So not much point in arriving at the crack of dawn. Photographing on cloudy days its best to exclude as much of the sky as possible as nothing of interest there. But the clouds do act as a giant diffuser of the sunshine and for some scenes such as forests etc can be advantageous, this walk around Condicote included some wood land.
Lost in Time
Condicote village is small and like something lost in time. You can park beside the village green. Condicote village is somewhere where old people would probably like to retire and die in peace whereas any young people born and growing up in Condicote would probably be dying to leave and live in chaos, such is the dichotomy between the generation extremes.
Roman Road Ryknild Street
The walk starts heading south out of the Condicote, it pays to have a handy compass on these walks, I got a good one in my digital watch, A Casio PRO TREK Unisex Watch PRG-240-1ER. Nothing worse than starting on a wrong bearing. Out of the village you walk 2+ miles down a former roman road called Ryknild street. Rkynild street was a little dissapointing you would not know it was once a roman road if you not read it here.
A long walk ahead
I had my Canon EF-S 24 mm f/2.8 STM Lens attached to my Canon EOS 700D Digital SLR Camera 18 MP, CMOS Sensor, 3 inch LCD) that I have been using for nearly 2 years now, my first DLSR. I wanted to get a photo of Rkynild street and included a tree and stonewall.
The day was not only grey but misty and foggy too, really not ideal. Had a long walk in front of me and like to have lots of photo opportunities along the way
In post processing this photo of the tree on Ryknild street I noticed I am getting blinky highlights on the thin dark branches, which is not ideal, they not exist in reality, not sure if it is the lens or an artefact of some post processing step? watch this space, intend to get to the bottom of this.
Changing lens in the Field
Further up the roman road I changed my lens back to my trusty Canon EF-S 18-200 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS zoom lens. There was a nice photo of some Gloucestershire countryside but alot of empty space so needed the zoom factor.
I rarely change lens in the field, one sure way to get dirt and dust into the sensor. When you change lens in the field, check the wind direction and stand with your back to it and hold the camera body facing down so nothing can get blown inside.
But you dont need to change if using a lens with a zoom of 18-200mm. Still for landscape photos wide angle around 20mm a prime lens should produce sharper images, I am still testing this. Most people would probably not notice though.
Things got alot more interesting once you enter the village of Upper Slaughter in the Cotswold. There are many things to photograph even on a grey cloudy day including the river Eye, an ancient church and graveyard,
There is an expensive restaurant and hotel in Upper Slaughter called The Lords of the Manor Hotel. Which in itself makes a good subject to photograph. Its nice to see the Daffodils now fresh and in bloom, the snowdrops now are withering.
So looking to get my first shots of some daffodils, dont want to use to much of a long exposure, they were swaying slightly in the wind so F8 should do and maybe 200 ISO to get fast enough shutter speed. On the contrary wanted to blur the water of the River Eye. Got a few good vantage points and used a polariser.
a polariser on a cloudy day? Yes keep turning and you see those white reflections on the water disappear revealing the pebbles below. A polariser will extend your exposure by 2 stops and stopping down to F16 or F22 will give you a shutter speed of 2 seconds plus especially on a cloudy day, more than enough to blur the motion of the moving water. So lots to photo around Upper Slaughter, the village is very pretty and not merit its name.
Long walk back to Condicote
A long walk back to Condicote and not much else to photograph. The sun began to make an appearance through the clouds. Back in Condicote took some handheld shots of some Daffodils on the village green.
Thats the great thing with the 18mm 200 mm Canon zoom lens, can take some great handheld shots. I put the ISO on auto, image stabilisation and just just change aperture. If I zoom right in can only go down to F5.6 but thats enough to get some serious bokeh in the background. After a long walk, content with the photos I had taken, tired and in need of refreshments Condicote not have a pub or village shop but just out of Condicote on the corner of the road is a farm shop and cafe.
Good day out took over 100 photographs and learnt a few things, like using a polariser on the water even in cloudy conditions. Changing lens in the field I not think to go back to 24mm prime when taking wide angle. getting some great photos hand holding, not always need a tripod especially moving around inside a tight small village like Upper Slaughter. With a cloudy white sky it not matter if this part is overexposed as no detail anyway, so not need to use a graduated filter when trees etc were breaking up the skyline. Legs are aching now. Good nights sleep.