In the Trenches - October 2015

Category: News 20 October 2015

First light on Tofana de Rozes from the World War One trenches on Cinque Torri, Dolomite Mountains, Belluno Province, Veneto, Italy. Canon 5DS R, 17mm TS-E lens, polariser & 0.6 ND grad filters.

We're toiling up a lung bursting ascent, paying for our truffle gnocchi, wine and cheese decadence the day before, but with each step the views across the valley to the soaring pinnacles of the Dolomites open out a bit more. At the top we reach Rifugio Scoiattoli and the distinctive rock towers of Cinque Torri. All around the base of the rocks are First World War trenches, well preserved and maintained, with multi-lingual plaques explaining what went on around here a century ago. I had an idea, but now, seeing the physical evidence of it all, literally walking through the trenches, really brings the reality home.

In 1915 Italy declared war on the Austro-Hungarian Empire and attacked; on the Isonzo Front (now in Slovenia) to the north of Trieste, in the Trentino north of Lake Garda, and here, in Sud Tirol. Cortina, up until then predominantly Austrian, was occupied by the Italians in the summer of 1915 as the Austro-Hungarians withdrew to the mountain passes to protect the vital routes to the Brenner Pass and the Austrian hinterland. One of those routes was the Passo Falzarego, the valley we are now looking down on. The Italians dug in on the south side, here around Cinque Torri, while the Austrians fortified the Col dei Bos and peak of Lagazuoi to the north.

That all sounds dryly logical, as if I'm describing a Flanders battlefield, but we are talking about a campaign waged on, over, around, up, down, beneath and even within some of the most precipitous high mountains in the world. Trenches dug into the rock well above 2000 metres, heavy guns winched laboriously with block, tackle, human muscle and sweat up incredible inclines to high altitude emplacements, artillery duels ridge to ridge, spotters positioned on the loftiest peaks with enemy miners burrowing into the very rock beneath, infantry assaults up vertiginous mountains, Alpini fighting Kaiserjagers hand to hand at 3000m, while troops of both sides shivered in these very trenches right through the Alpine winters for three long years. Stood here now it defies belief.

In the trenches on Cinque Torri, Dolomite Mountains. Photo: Wendy Noton

The landscape is talking to me. I think I've found my location. They say every picture tells a story; well, this one sure does, to me anyway. This one (left), and the story behind it, is a must for the Chasing the Light Road Show, and the Chasing the Light Online Magazine.

Our next outing of the Chasing the Light Road Show will feature a new Show, with updated content such as this, new images, video clips, music, graphics and much more, at Chequer Mead Community Arts Centre in East Grinstead, West Sussex at 19:30 on November 24th 2015; tickets are available here.

We're also delighted to announce Canon will be at the Show; a great opportunity for you to get your hands on some of their latest cameras and lenses such as the EOS 5DS and 5DS R, and the new EF 11-24mm f4 L, EF 17-35mm f4 L, EF 24-70mm f2.8 L II, 70-200mm f2.8 L IS II, EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 L IS II and TS-E lenses.

So join us for an evening of photographic inspiration and world travel. We'll also be taking the Road Show to Photography School.NL in the Netherlands. Tempted? You can read what others have said about the Chasing the Light Road Show here.

The full story about our Dolomites adventure with accompanying Video Blog will appear in next month's edition of the Chasing the Light Online Magazine. Before that though we've the October edition awaiting your perusal. In this, Issue 45, my regular Behind the Lens feature is all about shooting the Royal Scotsman in the Scottish Highlands. In the final instalment of our Low Down series on Exposure, I look at the creative possibilities of using fast glass wide open for minimal depth of field and dreamy bokeh backgrounds. And in the second instalment of The Bizz series, I expound on the transformation that has taken place in the stock photography market over the last 20 years. I also present my two regular Fundamentals of Post-Production Videos.

An image from The Bizz: The Ride and Fall of Stock Photography in this month’s edition of the Chasing the Light Online Magazine (insert link). Ta Prohm Temple. Angkor, Cambodia.

Then in Bas Meelker's second article for his Art of Landscapes column, he follows last month's piece on cityscapes with a fascinating insight into his experiences of working in Saint Petersburg. In Hoddinott's Hangout, Ross Hoddinott looks at lighting for close-ups, revealing the natural and artificial options available to us to achieve the very best results in this field. Meanwhile, this month in Sense of Space Jeremy Horner travels to Morocco, reminiscing on the many times he has visited this magical country. And for this edition's Guest Feature, we're delighted to welcome on board Alessandra Meniconzi, renowned photographer of indigenous peoples to the world's wildernesses, as she explains her love of capturing their ancient heritage and daily life - with stunning images from Ethiopia and Tibet to Greenland and Siberia.

It's all there for our f11 Members. If you've not yet considered becoming an f11 Member this video explains what it's all about.

To all our f11 Members who wanted to join us next month at Kimmeridge Bay on our Free f11/Canon Day but missed the boat we will be doing similar events again; all, like the eBooks on Light, for Photographers and The Composition Tutorials, For Photographers just another benefit of f11 Membership.





Autumn colours on East Hill and Venn Farm, Milborne Port, Somerset. Canon 5DS R EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 L IS II lens, polariser.

We’re back now from the Dolomites, just in time for the arrival of autumn in Milborne Port. I have been chasing the light around the country since on various jobs, all of which you will hear about soon enough. Yesterday I drove for 4 hours for 30 seconds of light in Herefordshire; still, that’s the name of the game. Making the most of autumn is always a joy, but also a pressure; the colours look fabulous right now but it’s such a fleeting season. I’m hoping they hang on the trees long enough for our Exmoor Workshop at the end on the month. I hope you, wherever you are, will be in the right place at the right time.

Keep exposing.


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Every month we publish an issue of our unique magazine Chasing the Light exclusively for f11 members. With features from behind the lens and on the road with David Noton it combines stunning photography with David's unique style of writing. Technical features, humorous anecdotes, travel notes, a member's gallery, news and the stories behind the pictures make it an entertaining, informative and inspirational monthly read and information resource for all who love photography and travel. All this for less than the price of a coffee and a biscuit a month. F11 members can also download other exclusive content such as Despatches+ and video blogs for free as they become available.

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