A recce to Kinder / by Neil Alexander

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Sunday morning, I thought I'd head out and shoot some landscapes. I did some research regarding a potential location over by the Kinder reservoir. The forecast didn't look great, but as I had a window, if the weather didn't pan out then the time could productively be used as more of a recce. Which is what it turned out to be for the following reasons;

A) I got up about 45 mins too late having slept through 2 alarms, and with a half hour drive and a 15 min yomp ahead, I only managed to get out the house about 20 minutes before sun up.

B) I forgot my walking boots which meant that I was fairly restricted as to where I could go.

and C) Most importantly, I forgot to take my wide angle lens with me.

I parked my car at the bottom of the reservoir road and marched the 15 minutes or so up ttowards the dam with my LowePro CompuTrekker stuffed with everything bar the all important Sigma 10-20mm. Once I got up there it was about half an hour after sunrise, but the sky was very grey and lacking any definition whatsoever. No clouds as such just typical British greyness! So I wandered around for a bit, shot a few frames trying to exclude the sky as much as possible by focusing on the landscape itself, but its definitely a place I'll be revisiting as I saw lots of potential for the right light. I may even venture up onto Kinder itself if I'm feeling brave enough.

I did discover however that my new Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 does have a small flaw in that the lens bracket won't mount onto my Manfrotto tripod head with the D300 grip on as it gets in the way. Turning the lens bracket around isn't an option, so the only thing to do was to take the D300 grip off. I do always like to ieave this on as it gives me an extra battery on the camera, and should I discover any interesting wildlife, it gives me that high-burst mode.

Once of the good things I did find out about the Tamron 70-200 was that I can't forget to turn off the image stabilisation when I pop it on the tripod, as I frequently do with the Nikon 18-200mm as it doesn't have any. I frequently found myself producing tripod mounted images that just weren't tack sharp with the 18-200 and it eventually dawned on me that it was because I was forgetting to switch off the VR / IS. Fortunately, a plus side of not having the VR is that I can't forget to turn it off!!!

I always like to check out some work by a past master or two before I head out on a shoot like this, and the previous night I chose Fay Godwin's marvellous Landmarks book as my inspiration. I can't recommend this book highly enough to any landscape photographer, aspiring or pro. Check out some sample images here.