Outdoor Excursions

It's amazing how things develop. After all, this blog started out as a news section for the rest of the website. With encouragement from readers, it has become a place for relating my countryside wanderings and musings about the world of outdoor activity. Walking, cycling and photography all are part of what I do out-of-doors and, hopefully, they will continue to inspire me to keep adding entries on here. Of course, there needs to be something of interest to you, dear reader, too and I hope that's the case. Thanks for coming.

Unto Yorkshire again

October 19th, 2009

Outings beget photos and photos can beget ideas for more outings. In recent weeks, I have been sprucing up the Yorkshire Dales photo collection that I have on display for all to see on the web. Many of these were taken on negative film so new scans of old prints were attempted in order to make more of the results. Back then, I did things with my SLR that I would try to avoid now. Included among these would be a determined attempt at picture making in the middle of a hazy summer day. That’s not to say that such conditions would stall play but I’d be more judicious about what I’d record. Whether it is down to the advent of digital capture or not, it does feel like I have developed more of feeling of how a scene before me will come out in a photo. The reason for my suspecting the effect of technological progress is that I may spend longer looking at my photos now than was the case when I exclusively used film. The fact that I am in total control over the entire process in the digital world may have a bearing because making prints from negatives or transparencies involves a certain amount of interpretation on the part of the printer, even if we are not talking about fine art monochrome images. In time, I may get to adding more new images but my attention has gone forth to a spot of under the bonnet work on my slide show machinery followed by giving my Isle of Skye photo collection (still under way) the same sort of attention lavished on that for the Yorkshire Dales.

Limestone Pasture above Conistone, North Yorkshire, England

Loch na Creitheach, Strath, Isle of Skye, Scotland

For a few years, I have not been devoting so much attention to the Yorkshire Dales but that may be finding itself seeing some recompense. Last month saw me out in the midst of the gentle surroundings of lower Wharfedale while last weekend saw me out in wilder countryside. A circuit from Ingleton saw me both thrilled by limestone pavements, even under duller skies, and immersed in spacious open country. That’s never to say that there was no one else about but we each could have our own corner for a little while and chilling out was well possible on the moors around Twisleton; there was none of the feelings of being in a cavalcade that entered my mind between Burnsall and Howgill in September. It was a little busier on the way up Ingleborough from Chapel-le-Dale but dropping off in the Ingleton direction wasn’t long losing any semblance of crowding though there was little sign of anywhere being overrun. Bunching together became a reality on the steep approach to Ingleborough but that’s always the way so it’s never any real trouble so long as you don’t rush things and keep an awareness of whoever is about you; we all can share a bit of countryside anyway. The day provided the sort of experience that draws me back time and again and it helps that there is more to explore too. Getting a sunny day to make photos reminiscent of those by a certain Granville Harris would be a bonus.

Photographically, it was a day of digital and film capture. Perhaps perversely, the sun found breaks in the clouds at precisely the moment when my DSLR ran out of electrical juice; being ever ready with a charged battery might have been a help but I only can own up to my own fecklessness. Then, it was over to the world of film to capture the wondrous lighting as I tramped the final miles towards the end of my hike. The instantaneous nature of digital capture may have been missed but a spot of patience is all that’s needed to see how well the results of my endeavours worked out for me and to use a lab that I know to do the business for me. If I had no back up camera, I would have been kicking myself so this is no problem. In fact, the incident probably justifies my continuing to bring both a DSLR and an FSLR on walking trips, even if there is a weight penalty.

Like the film photos, the full account of Saturday’s walk should follow and I need to look at those digital images and charge up that camera. A spare battery might be a sensible purchase but any excuse for a spot of film photography never can be bad. My recent exploits with old photos in Photoshop Elements using exposure correcting tools like levels, curves, hue/saturation tweaking and shadow/highlight adjustments have shown me that new life can be added to an old photo (hopefully) without overdoing things. Of course, there has to be some potential for decent results to be obtained and you always want to avoid some abomination in keeping with the punch drunk efforts using filters in the 1980’s. Having a good sense of what is natural and what isn’t has to help but there’s a very fine line between having the right amount of colour saturation and contrast and ending up with a day-glow semi-fluorescent effort; I aim to stay on the right side of that line.

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