Sunday, 15 April 2018

Winter on the Southwell Trail - Part 8

The photography conditions at the end of January were bright and sunny and far removed from the dull and rainy conditions we are currently experiencing in the first weeks of April. Making the most of the opportunity I captured this selection of images along the Southwell Trail:

The sun enriched the golden tones in the fields:

Only a week or so before the ash trees on the path to the Hexgreaves Estate had be shivering in the snow and now looked almost spring-like:

Lastly, some nice highlights on bare winter branches plus a catkin laden hazel tree:

Friday, 13 April 2018

Winter on the Southwell Trail - Part 7

I continued with the winter series on the Southwell Trail after the snow with the new Canon M6 camera providing some additional impetus.

The 18-150mm lens allowed me to select a long focal length  to condense the perspective and emphasize the tunnel-like nature of the trail. The exposure was set for the highlight in the distance and the shadows were left uncorrected in post processing:

I also used the long focal length for these backlit bramble leaves:

The wider angle focal lengths were used to capture the fine winter sunlight along the trail:

One of the interest buildings on the trail is the Victorian Pumping Station at Farnsfield. Normally it is difficult to get a clear view of the station due to the trees but some hedge trimming further along the trail allowed me to get following shot. I have also included a later image taken in the snow:

The Pumping Station sits at the head of a 54ft well and was opened in 1898. It is still in use today pumping water to Newark on Trent (about 12 miles away) although electric pumps have replaced the original steam mechanism. The links below provide more information about the Pumping Station including an aerial photograph taken in 1947.

Information about the pumping station on Geograph Britain and Ireland

Miles of Mains article in the Newark Advertiser including a photograph of the pump house taken in 1948. The chimney is no longer standing.

Aerial photograph of Farnsfield Water Pumping Station (1947) on Britain from Above. This also shows the original railway line which is now the Southwell Trail. Amazingly, a comparison of this photo with its equivalent on Google Earth reveals how little has changed in the immediate vicinity over the last 70 years although pressure to build new housing is gradually moving residential properties ever closer to the pumping station.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Curbar Edge - January 2018

A trip to Curbar Edge was the second outing with the new Canon M6 and an opportunity to test the camera in a familiar location.

I don’t particularly see the M6 replacing my DSLR and tripod for landscapes but the reach of the 150mm lens on a crop sensor provides an alternative to wide angle compositions:

I find the compact camera most useful for detail and close up work. It is much easier to compose and set the focus with the compact camera’s touchscreen screen than it is with an eye level viewfinder on a DSLR. The weight of a DSLR also makes it awkward to use liveview in a similar fashion to a compact camera.

These are a selection of gritstone close-ups taken with the M6 include a partially completed millstone:

Whilst taking pictures of the gritstone I noticed these marks on the side of one of the edges. The regularity suggests that they are not natural and I assume that they were made to split the rock in the process of quarrying and making millstones:

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Blidworth Woods - January 2018

I used my new Canon M6 camera and 18-150mm lens for these test shots in Blidworth Woods. I wanted to upgraded my current compact camera (G1X mkii) and thought the mirrorless Canon system would provide a step up in quality without impacting on the spontaneity of a small carry around camera.

My first impressions were excellent. The camera handled well and the Canon familiarity allowed me to continue where the G1X left off. I did think the 18-150mm lens was a bit chunky on the front the small body but as soon as I started to use it I found that it naturally sat in the hand, helping to stabilise the camera.

I specifically chose the 18-150mm lens for its big zoom range but plan to add additional lenses from the 'm' range in the future. I have my eye on the macro ‘m’ lens. I did however purchase the EF/EF-S adapter which allows me to attach my current Canon L lenses to the M6 - very useful.

The most noticable improvement when comparing the new M6 with the G1X was establishing a fine focus for close-up work. Sometimes I found it hard to lock on to the subject with the G1X and the electronic manual focus wasn’t easy to use. In contrast, the M6 auto-focus very responsive and quick to find focus. The manual focus was also easier to use with a fully manual twist action on the front of the lens.

In terms of quality, all the technical reviews I have read give higher scores to the M6 than the G1X mkii (1), and my perception on first use was sharper and bright results from the M6, although this could easily be attributed to a new camera halo effect!

Overall, I am happy the Canon M6 will at least match G1X mkii that I have enjoyed using and provide the additional advantage of interchangeable lenses.

(1) Example technical comparison