This weekend decided to visit Painswick in Gloucestershire known as the queen of the Cotswolds. I was using the AA’s 50 walks around Gloucestershire as my guide. The AA guide described the area around Painswick including the Washpool Valley as having extensive views and a difficult walk due to the hills so good for exercise and photography hopefully.
The Fog of Painswick
As usual checked the weather for Painswick on the BBC, the forecast was some early morning fog but should dissipate early on. Its was another fairly cloudy day so not much point arriving too early forget any sunrise photos.
Found the car park easy enough and headed out of the village towards the Painswick valley and Beacon. Painswick looked a little eerie in the early morning fog. Managed to get a shot of New Street without any cars or people. Just a handheld shot, auto ISO, aperture priority mode around F 5.6 my lens sweet spot. The focal point being the bright yellow lights shining out of the Falcon Inn down New Street. The Falcon Inn is opposite the church one of the main visitor attractions of the village. Painswick is a quintessential Cotswold village in the county of Gloucestershire.
Out of the village and into the Painswick valley you have to cross a golf course. The fog was too thick to take any photographs, from a photography point of view thinking my trip to Painswick may have been a wasted journey but decided to persevere in hope of the fog clearing and its always good exercise whatever the weather. If I felt silly with my tripod and DLSR, there were groups of guys trying to play golf in the thick fog too. I dont like having to cross golf courses on my walks, not least because may get hit in the head by a golf ball.
Lone Ash Tree
Past the golf course and at the top of Painswick beacon I managed to find the Trig point but there was nothing to see, just thick grey fog. The thick fog was also making it hard to correctly navigate the route around Painswick. I had to adapt and shoot something so thought this bare Elm tree clearly visible through the fog would make a good subject.
A few miles and sometime later I enter the Washpool valley and the fog was beginning to lift and the sun was making some brief faint appearances through the thick clouds behind me. I managed to get a few shots of the Washpool valley setting up my tripod, 2 stop ND filter, lowest ISO to eliminate any noise at ISO 100 and F 11 to keep everything in focus.
These settings and setup is pretty standard when I am taking landscape photos of countryside vistas. Tripod, wide angle around 20mm, ISO 100, aperture priority mode F11, 2 stop GND filter for the sky and no image stabilisation when using a tripod. This usually results in a shutter speed of around 1/15 second, too slow to handhold hence the tripod is a necessity to carry around even in the middle of the day, especially when it is cloudy as the diffused light reduces available light by around 2 stops. These settings are far from what the camera would choose in automatic mode, but it was beginning to feel like my own automatic mode.
Saint Johns Church
Following the circular route around Painswick I was heading back towards the village in the Cotswolds and looking around saw this lovely sight of Saint Johns Baptish church in Pitchcombe.
The church was drenched in diffuse sunlight with the fog still lingering in the hills and trees behind. There was alot of empty space around the church and the church needed to be the main star of the shot so using my 18-200 mm canon lens zoomed right in using F8. Tripod was essential for this shot, zooming right in also magnifies any shake, if you are zoomed in at say 200 mm and you are handholding your shutter speed needs to be higher than your focal length so around 1/250 sec. Even so could have experimented with my lowest f-stop 5.6 at that focal length and cranked up the ISO a little to 200-400 maybe just managing a hand shot without a noticeable lost of image quality.
Almost back in Painswick and there was some rapid moving water from the Painswick stream in an area known as kings mill. I had to jump over a fence but wanted to take a long exposure of the moving water to get some motion blur. I used a 3 stop ND filter and a high f-stop of F 22 lowest ISO of 100 to get a 2 second exposure blurring the water nicely.
Further along the Painswick stream the first signs of an early spring was present not bad for early February. Some snowdrops were swaying gently beside the Painswick stream. For this shot of the snowdrops wanted some Bokeh or background blur. I zoomed right in using my lowest f-stop of 5.6 this gives a very narrow plane of focus and does the trick.
So despite the early morning fog around Painswick and feeling like might be a wasted journey early on into the walk managed to get some great photos that I was very happy with and pushed my comfort zone. I sure deserved a pint in the Cotswold village of Painswick and to rest my tired legs.