la Canicule, July 2015

Category: News 16 July 2015

The River Lot at St Cirque Lapopie, Quercy, France. Canon EOS 5DSr, 24-70mm f2.8 L II lens @ 70mm, 8 sec @ f11, Lee Little Stopper filter.

What was this word flashing on the warning signs over the Autoroute more and more insistently as we neared Bordeaux? We'd counted ourselves lucky to have avoided the mayhem at Calais by taking the St Malo route, now what? Attention, météo info: la canicule. As Wendy drives I Google le mot du jour. Its meaning becomes obvious at the next service station; the heat on the forecourt blasts us like an August afternoon in Kuwait. Hmmm, camping in this will be interesting. As we get underway again I check the weather forecast; it's 37°C now, predicted to rise to 39°C tomorrow.

Two days later we're wallowing like hippos in the Lot to escape the heat. Our tent is pitched under the trees on the bank; it's a truly idyllic spot from where we can sit and watch river life pass us by. Long summer days in south west France; life doesn't get much better, except as is all too usual there's a worm of guilt turning inside, destroying my harmony. These conditions may be great for a vacation, but photographically they're a wash out. The Lot Valley is one of my favourite regions of France, a rural gem strewn with bucolic villages, verdant countryside, gorges and fields of sunflowers, but all the views are blighted by the curse of heat haze under burnt out and featureless skies. What to do? Give up and treat it as a holiday? It's an option Wendy is encouraging, but I know I'll be far more relaxed and better company with a few good sessions exposing pixels under my belt. And besides, I came on a mission.

Freya Dangerfield, the Editor of the Chasing the Light Online Magazine, has tasked me with producing enough material, images, words and footage, for a Behind the Lens feature and a Video Blog. Returning empty handed is not an option; she’d eat me alive. On top of that I boarded the ferry in Portsmouth fired up with the prospect of continuing my familiarisation with the capabilities of my new Canon EOS 5DSr. Sad isn't it? 30 years in this game and still getting excited about a new camera. And besides; we photographers know this game is all about making the most of what we find; life is rarely perfect. So Noton, enough wallowing, get on with it!

St Cirque Lapopie at dawn, Lot Valley, Quercy, France. Canon EOS 5DSr, 17mm TS-E lens, 1/6 sec @ f11.

I did, and you’ll be able to read and see all about it next month. But firstly this month’s Chasing the Light Online Magazine is awaiting your perusal with a Behind the Lens feature on Chasing the Orient Express, a How It’s Done on the beach in Vietnam, and we go Stepping Back to Umbria in 2006. In my usual two Fundamentals of Post Production Video Tutorials I evaluate how best to streamline our workflow when flipping from editing an image in Lightroom to Photoshop and I experiment with using the new capability of Lightoom’s versatile graduated filter to refine the mask overlay using an adjustment brush, both adding and subtracting from the mask to ensure the absence of unsightly haloes. The Low Down on Exposure Part 8 delves into when and why fast shutter speeds are the order of the day. This month’s Guest Features see Ross Hoddinott in the Galapagos, Jeremy Horner is in Nepal, wildlife photographer Chris Weston dabbling in landscapes, and nature photographer Victoria Hillman getting up close and personal with snakes. Editor Freya Dangerfield has been canvassing opinion from the ladies on the thorny topic of Women in Photography, and as always there’s your f11 Member's Galleries with constructive appraisal by myself. After 42 issues I’m sure you all know by now the Chasing the Light Online Magazine is published monthly exclusively for our registered f11 Members who pay an annual subscription of £39.00. Here’s a video which spells it all out.

A shot from this month’s Low Down on Exposure feature in the Chasing the Light Online Magazine. Ingjaldsholl Church at Hellisandur, with Snaefellsjokull beyond, Snaefellsness Peninsula, Iceland. Canon 5DS R, EF-100-400mm f4.5-5.6 L IS II USM @ 400mm, 1/200 sec @ f8, ISO 400.

Just a few weeks ago we went Live with bookings for our two Iceland 2016 Photographic Adventures. Following on from our successful Winter in Iceland Photography Adventures in 2014 and 2015 we’re again offering two very special adventures in 2016; one venturing from Reykjavik along the southern coast to the fantastic headlands, mountains, glaciers and lagoons of the east, and the other exploring the unique photographic potential of the west out on the legendary Snaefellsness Peninsula. The trouble is we’re already sold out on both courses. As a condition of membership f11 Members receive immediate notification of new courses etc. We then let world at large know in the next newsletter before finally posting on social media. If you’ve missed the boat this time sorry. We will almost certainly be going again in 2017, but beware, the f11s are quick of the mark. If you can’t beat them, join them.

Last month I made the faux pas of relocating Chesterfield to Nottinghamshire while announcing our next Club Road Show as guests of Chesterfield Photographic Society; full details and tickets here. To the good people of the town with the crooked spire in DERBYSHIRE sorry; we will be there in the right place on the 10th of September. Plus I’m chuffed to announce we'll also be staging our own Road Show event at Chequer Mead in East Grinstead, West Sussex on the 24 November 2015. Tickets are now on sale via our website shop, photography roadshows. And beyond that next spring we’ll be presenting the Show in The Hague, Netherlands; details and tickets here.

The London Waterloo to Exeter train passing Milborne Wick on a misty summer's morning, Somerset, England. Canon EOS 5DSr, 24-70mm f2.8 L II lens @ 38mm, 1/6 sec @ f8.

Back in Blighty la canicule francaise is a memory, but Wessex is looking summery and providing me with plenty of photographic potential on our own doorstep. The other morning I was out at dawn, waiting for, no, not the light, a train. Yes, trainspotting again; all part of a local job I’m working on over the course of a year. Mist lay in the valley we live in and I was hoping against hope that it would remain until the first train of the day from London Waterloo to Exeter passed. It did. Later this summer I’ll be trainspotting again, up in Scotland this time. Where did it all go wrong?

Keep Exposing...

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