August proved to be pretty typical here in Yorkshire. The weather was variable and unreliable, and while we certainly had a share of sunshine we also had plenty of grey days and some rainy days too.
Mostly, though, my time out of the house during August was focused much less on photography and more on drives out with Sheryl and Maisie, enjoying the relative warmth, occasionally visiting friends and stopping at cafés for coffee.
Generally speaking, although I always take my cameras with me if I’m out with Sheryl, I very rarely take time to look for photo opportunities.
There are occasional exceptions to this rule, however, and sometimes I can’t resist grabbing a camera from the boot of the car and picking off a shot or two. On a drive out with Sheryl to take Maisie for a paddle in one of our favourite spots in the Dales, I grabbed this shot of the River Wharfe in Upper Wharfedale. This is a location that we gravitate to probably more than any other, because it’s one that all three of us particularly favour. I find the place very photogenic, Sheryl finds it to be extremely tranquil and Maisie finds the river bed to be extremely easy to walk on.
On another occasion, Sheryl and I were out chasing thunderstorms. The path of thunderstorms in these parts is typically from the South West, and so we usually head east in an attempt to intercept storms that we can see approaching on the radar.
Depending on the thunderstorm, Garrowby Hill can be a great location to aim for when storm chasing. It’s around 50 minutes from where we live but the view from the top of the hill is vast and stretches over the Vale of York, WSW over Leeds and ESE out as far as Hull and the Humber Estuary. After picking up snacks and a coffee along our route, this is where we found ourselves on this occasion.
Our storm chase was a bust – we’ve seen very little electrical storm activity in our parts for a number of years now, and this year was yet another such. We resigned ourselves to just observing the weather and enjoying our time out of the house. After watching a hare at the edge of the field for about 20 minutes, I noticed that the clouds were becoming rather shapely and decided to capture this image, once again with the D800 and Samyang 14mm f/2.8.
While the Samyang 14mm has an extreme depth of field, even using a tiny aperture it’s impossible to get everything sharply in focus in one shot. So, using a tripod, I shot four images focusing from near to far and combined them in an image stack in Photoshop to get this result.
I missed many opportunities to shoot infrared in August, mainly because of a lack of situational awareness. I keep forgetting that I have three cameras for three distinct purposes, one of which is my D3000 for infrared. When looking for landscape photographic opportunities I typically have my D800 in hand but more often than not there is an opportunity for an infrared shot in addition to my full-frame shots. Hopefully I will stop forgetting this eventually!
It’s The Little Things
If you’ve read some of my recent posts you know that I’ve added a couple of new items to my photography inventory – a Nikon D5300 and a Sigma 105mm f/2.8 macro lens. Putting the two together has already yielded some decent results. The Sigma is very sharp, as well as extraordinarily contrasty. Add to that, the bokeh is creamy-smooth. It’s a fantastic lens.
Using autofocus, there does seem to be an issue with the Sigma backfocusing on the D5300. This is where the autofocus system focuses fractionally behind the subject. None of my shots using autofocus with this lens have yet delivered in-focus images. I’m not yet sure if the problem is with the D5300 or with the Sigma, though I suspect it’s the Sigma because other images from the D5300 with other lenses have not shown issues.
So far I haven’t attached the Sigma to my D800, but even if it transpires that the lens is the problem, the D800 does have the menu option of “Autofocus Fine Tune”. This is where you can make micro-adjustments to compensate for focusing quality control issues and deficiencies with individual lens copies. My Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 had a fairly pronounced backfocus problem which was easily solved with the D7000’s fine tune option, while the absence of the same menu option made it unusable on my D5100.
The D5300, like the D5100, is also missing the fine tune option. Unfortunate but, since I only intend to use the lens for macro on the D5300 in manual focus, I don’t consider the issue to be prohibitive.
Knowsley Safari Park
I visited Knowsley Safari Park with Sheryl, Jake and our friend Ade. It was a great little adventure and I was able to witness things I’ve never seen before. I didn’t capture images that I really felt pleased with, though, and I have a separate post coming in the next few days to explore what I learned that day.