Friday, March 13, 2009

Stoke Dry, Rutland

click photo to enlarge
The village of Stoke Dry, on its hillside site overlooking the Eyebrook Reservoir, must be one of the smallest villages in Rutland, England's smallest county. In 2007 it had a population of 39 living in the 14 dwellings that comprise the settlement. My introduction to the village was as I cycled round the edge of the reservoir and saw its narrow church tower piercing the horizon amongst the surrounding rooftops and trees. I was heading for what Pevsner calls "a most lovable church" to see its curious Norman carvings and its C13 and C14 wall paintings. However, I was to find much more to enjoy in this outwardly unprepossessing building. But more of that in subsequent posts.

Today I want to promote the virtues of long focal lengths for landscape photography. The conventional wisdom has it that wider lenses are most suited to this task. My view is that landscape itself dictates the choice of lens, and even a focal length of 300mm or 400mm (35mm equivalent) can deliver the goods in the right circumstances. When I look through my collection of landscapes I find that I've used the entire range that my lens cover i.e. 11mm to 150mm (22mm to 300mm 35mm equivalent). Yes, there's a bias to the wider end, but the longer focal lengths have been heavily employed too. Today's photograph is a case in point. It was taken using the 40-150mm zoom (80 to 300mm 35mm equivalent), set at 132mm (264mm 35mm equivalent). I used it because it was the best (in fact only) way to show the village in its hillside setting amongst trees and small, irregular fields. I've cropped part of the narrow end of the reservoir from the bottom of the image to concentrate the viewer's attention on my main subject. It's a shot that only a longer lens could produce.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 132mm (264mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f76.3
Shutter Speed: 1/400 seconds
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On