"The Lake District - Stunning scenery begging to captured on camera"
Because to the way things have turned out this year my wife and I have not yet had a proper holiday. During the year we bought a new motor home (an Elddis Accordo 120) and when we ordered it we were told we would take delivery by 1 July. The collection date kept being put back and back, and we finally took collection at the end of August, i.e. after the summer months. My wife also started a new job and couldn’t take holiday during her three month probation period. Because we had to wait for the motor home to be delivered, and as a consequence of my wife’s change in employment the summer passed us by and we never got to take a summer vacation.
We now have the Elddis 120 on the drive, and my wife’s probation period is now over and the holiday is booked – a trip to the Lake District. This is fine but it’s late September/early October so the weather is going to be “interesting” to say the least. With the holiday booked it is time to sort out the photography equipment I am going to take to help me capture some (hopefully) stunning landscape photos. The equipment I am going to take will comprise:-
My collection of cameras comprises a Canon 450D (my first dlsr that I can’t and won’t ever part with), a Canon 7D (bought primarily for motor sports/action/wildlife) and a Canon 6D (because I wanted a full frame and I don’t have the deep pockets for the 5D. I also have a small Canon G1X, which I use for foreign travel and those times when I don’t have the time to set up a shot and have to shoot quickly, like when I am out and about on the cycle or out with the wife.
I would like to take the 6D for landscape, the 7D for any potential birding opportunities and the G1X for the rides out in the hills and around the lakes.
There isn’t a great deal of room in the motor home and I am restricted on space, therefore I have got to scale back a bit. I am more interested in capturing stunning landscape photos of the Lake District than finding birds and wildlife therefore I will take the 6D. As well as being full frame the 6D is also smaller, lighter and takes up less space than the 7D, which is another reason to leave the 7D at home.
The Canon G1X doesn’t take up much room at all, and there is loads of room in the glove box for it. As there is plenty of room I am going to take the G1X as well, besides lugging the 6D and lenses around on a cycle will be a faff, and won’t impress he wife much.
Ideally I would like to take my entire collection of lenses, so I have all bases covered. Travelling in the motor home, where space is tight, means this simply isn’t feasible therefore I have to scale it back to what I consider the most useful lenses, and I have cut it down to two.
Since I am after landscape photos the first lens I am going to take is the Canon 16 – 35 F4L IS lens. This ultra-wide angle lens is perfect for landscapes, and as it is small, light and doesn’t take up much room it leaves me plenty of room for my second lens.
The second lens I am going to take is the Canon 28 – 300L IS lens. With a 28mm wide end and 300mm at the long end the range of focal lengths is huge, which makes it a versatile lens. Okay, this lens isn't very fast but this is one compromise I am going to have to make. If shutter speeds become an issue I will have to rely on increasing the ISO (which isn’t a huge deal with the Canon 6D) to try and get correct exposure.
I would like to take my fisheye lens and macro lens, however there simply isn’t room in the motor home for these lenses as well.
Since I will be looking to take several landscape shots a tripod is an essential bit of kit, but as I am sure you have already guessed space is tight. In a perfect word I would take my Gitzo tripod as it is large (i.e. high), strong, robust, fully adjustable and very stable. The Gitzo is my tripod of choice for all my landscape photography.
The tripod I am taking to the Lake District is my Manfrotto Befree, which I bought specifically for travelling, although not in a motor home. The Manfrotto Be free is a tripod that folds up to a little over 30cm and packs in to its own bag. Fully extended the Befree is high enough for all situations.
The Manfrotto Befree is light, which means that stability is compromised, but this is to be expected. That said, the Befree is still plenty strong enough to securely hold my Canon 6D, Canon 16 – 35 F4L IS lens, Hitech filter holder and filters without any creep. The thing that affects the performance of the Manfrotto Befree is the wind. Yep, when there is anything stronger than a gentle breeze the stability issues can occur. Using the Befree fully extended in windy conditions won’t result in a tack sharp photo, however if I lower it a little the stability dramatically improves, and I can improve it even more if I hang my kit bag off it.
Remote shutter release
Since I will be focusing on landscape photography I will make sure I have at least two remote shutter release cables, being one to use and a backup. I know some people will say just use the camera’s self-timer however I like to have total control over when the exposure starts, and the only way to do this is to use a remote shutter release.
There are times when I need to hold the camera for several seconds before firing the shutter, and a remote shutter release is the only way that I can do this. Trust me, I have tried using the camera’s self-timer but I had so many firing issues, and missed shots that I gave up and used the shutter release cable instead.
Many photographers argue that photography filters have no place in digital photography and that you can create all filter effects in the digital dark room in front of a computer screen. This may or may not be true, I can’t actually confirm because whilst my editing skills are adequate they are not up to the standard required to replicate the filter effects using photo editing software. I could spend the time (and money) and take a photo shop course to learn the skills, but I simply don’t have the time available Besides, I prefer to spend the precious little time I have actually taking photos rather than sat I front of the computer editing them.
Because of the above I still use photography filters and I will always continue to do so. There is a certain “something” about getting the shot right in camera, and this is another reason I won’t give up my photography filters any time soon.
I would, of course, like to take all my photography filters to the Lake District but because of the space constraints I have to make sure I only take what I really need. I am going to take two graduated ND filters and one standard ND filter.
The graduated ND filters I am going to take includes a one and two stop soft edge filters. The Lake District is mountainous so it will be a waste of time (and space) taking the hard edged graduated ND filters. Since it is autumn I am not expecting there not to be too much difference between the land and the sky, therefore the three stop graduated filter is going to stay at home and I am taking the one and two stop filters instead.
The Lake District is, as stated in the name, full of lakes, rivers and streams therefore there is a lot of scope for long exposure photography, and this is what I am going to focus on. It would be good to take a variety of ND filters however I am going to jump straight in with the 10 stop ND filter and that’s it. I know there are times when the 10 stop ND filter is too strong so I know I am going to have to be a little careful. I am going to focus on lakes, rather than fast flowing rivers so the 10 stop should be ideal for most of the photos I plan to take.
If I do get an opportunity to take photos of fast flowing rivers I’ll leave the 10 stop filter alone and try to introduce a bit of movement by stopping down the lens as much as I can, and decreasing the ISO as low as it will go. If I can’t get the amount of artistic blur I am after doing this, so be it, but I am sure I won’t be too far adrift.
Whenever I go travelling I usually take the plastic 10 stop ND filter (made by Hitech) however I plan on taking my favorite 10 stop ND filter to the Lake District, which is my Zomei 10 stop filter, which is made from glass. Zomei’s 10 stop ND filter is an excellent filter, and even though it is way cheaper than the rivals (I refer to Lee and Singh Ray 10 stop filters) the image quality you get with the Zomei is no different. If you want the best bang for your buck the Zomei 10 stop ND filter is the one to buy. Don’t believe me? Take a look at “Review of the Zomei 10 stop ND filter”.
"Long exposure shots are something I intend to do although the effect of this one is a bit too strong for my liking"
In addition to the above I am going to take the usual spare memory cards (lots of small capacity ones instead of one large capacity ones), lens cleaning cloths, lens pen and battery charger.
I have to admit that I am not a fan of travelling light because I always come across a situation where I wish I had taken “this or that” with me, which is very frustrating because not having the right bit of kit is very annoying. I guess that’s the joy of photography, and also having to do the best with what we have.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.