In contrast to the warm summer weather we left behind two weeks ago in New Zealand, back home in the Yorkshire Dales we're in the depths of winter.
Yesterday afternoon, the sun made a brief appearance; casting a low angled light but sharing little in the way of warmth.
I decided it was time to get further acquainted with my latest purchase, a tilt and shift lens. The Canon 17mm TSE lens is primarily designed for architectural work, but it is not solely restricted to that use. I also want to be able to capture landscape images with great depth and wide field, and the 17mm focal length allows me to do just that.
What better place to have a practice than up on Southerscales, below Ingleborough. It is one of my favourite places, and it is just five minutes up the road from home.
Having the ability to tilt the lens alters the plane of focus. No longer is it parallel to the film or sensor plane but angle away from it. The result of this is a far greater depth of field without having to resort to a small aperture and the associated loss of sharpness caused by diffraction.
There's plenty of snow on the ground, and Polly the labrador seems to have her nose permanently buried in it.
It gives me chance to set up the tripod near a cluster of limestone rocks protruding out of the snow. The controls on the lens are a little awkward to manipulate using gloved fingers so I take them off while I adjust the tilt angle on the lens, about one and a half divisions on the scale seem to do the trick. I check the focus using live view and zooming in to 10x magnification to check that I've got it sharp. The lens has no auto focus.
Gloves back on, it's about -2˚C and my fingers are getting cold.
I have to say I'm liking the results already. But getting to know the capabilities of the new lens takes a bit of time and experimentation. Sometimes the results don't turn out as expected so it's good to experiment in my own time before I need to utilise the lens to its full capability in anger.
Polly and I walk on as the sun get steadily lower towards the horizon. The temperature is falling as well, I can feel the cold nipping at my face.
We come across a nice drift of snow up against a wall, no one has walked here yet apart from the odd hardy sheep. Polly has her nose buried down another hole so I set up the tripod again. The sun make a fleeting appearance under the cloud and lights the snow a pale yellow. Time for one quick shot before it disappears behind the cloud again, this time for good.
Time for home, before it gets dark and a warming cup of Yorkshire tea.