Starlings Masterclass


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Moordivock - Stormy Weather

September 2009 |

Fed up to the teeth after yet another soaking summer, on the evening of my Masterclass deadline I decided to take my dark cloud with me onto Moordivock. It’s an atmospheric area of rough open fell-side a short walk above our house and much beloved by archaeologists with its wealth of standing stones and stone circles. As I arrived a mass of dark cloud arrived too and remained as a persistent stream above my head, bringing endless gloom supplemented only by even gloomier showers. My hopes of some nice low evening sun with dramatic clouds dwindled – although I could see there was plenty of nice light elsewhere. I stomped around cursing whatever mischievous malign sprite was in charge of directing the weather that evening and tried to brush away thoughts of the open bottle of wine and supper sitting waiting at home. An hour and more passed, the gloom above me intensified. I picked cranberries, examined sink holes, impatiently packed up twice and set off for home, only to change my mind, curse the sky and, finally - too late for comfort but just in the nick of time – the clouds parted.

Nice light on my return and patience finally rewarded (image 1). Although at the time I would have liked to be able to see down onto Ullswater itself. I like the ‘sandwich’ effect created by the dark moorland foreground. Exposing was slightly problematical so I chose to do an overall metering – it seemed to do the trick. I don’t use filters and chose not to change anything in Photoshop. The Nikon 300 was set at ISO 200 (as pretty much always) and aperture priority f16, though I think the automatic mode would have been fine in this instance. In either case there would have been no need to consider depth of field as my subject was distant.

The Cop Stone (Image 2). I took this from a low angle so that the top of the stone was well above the horizon – it makes for a more dramatic shot as well as a cleaner one. I wanted as much in focus as possible, so I set my aperture at f22. The speed was 1/3rd sec, so my tripod was essential. I used spot metering on the stone.