Saturday, November 29, 2014

Mist, photo cropping and relativity

click photo to enlarge
I've been using my relatively small DSLR body (Nikon D5300) and one relatively light and small lens (AF-S Nikkor 18-140mm 1:3.5-5.6G ED) as my walking camera for several months now. I'm relatively happy with the combination's relatively low weight, relatively high quality and relatively wide zoom range. If that makes me sound relatively unenthusiastic, I'm not. Bear in mind that I was raised in Yorkshire, a county where the compliment, "Not bad", is high praise indeed. Seriously, I'm very happy with the results I'm getting: the technical qualities of the sensor, camera controls and lens are very good.

However, the 1.5 crop factor (relative to 35mm) means that the lens' range is 27-210mm and that's not quite wide enough or long enough for me. Better would be 24mm-300mm. However, such a lens would be bigger, heavier, probably not as bright, and probably not as sharp. All equipment involves compromises and my reluctance to carry the Canon 5D2, 24-105mm and 70-300mm (which clearly does cover my desired focal lengths) means that sometimes - maybe 5% of the time - I can't get the shot I want using the Nikon. But, one of the benefits of a good 24 megapixel sensor is the ability to crop the image and simulate a longer focal length, so one of the shortcomings can be addressed.

I took today's photograph with a heavy crop in mind so I ensured the camera was well stabilised. I estimate that I'd have needed a 400mm (equivalent) lens to secure this shot. Yet, cropping has left me with a file that is perfectly usable for most purposes. It shows a view from near Herefordshire Beacon in the Malverns, looking across the low hills around the Severn valley. On our recent walk in that area the mist was clearing when we arrived but started to thicken again as we departed. I liked the colours and gradations in this composition, as well as the detail of the trees and the plumes of smoke. It reminded me of traditional Chinese ink and wash paintings.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Nikon D5300
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 140mm (210mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/320 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On