Landscapes and Trees in Rowsley

Away from Scotland, the weekend back down in Derbyshire provided a couple of extra photographic opportunities for me.  The first of these was provided by a walk through some photogenic farmland; the second was back at my parents’ and their cacti greenhouses.


First, on a 30-min walk from our hotel in Rowsley I had in mind to take some landscape shots.  In particular, the wooded knoll overlooking the river Wye (Peak Tor) has always been intriguing, but getting a good clean view of it from the right angle posed problems which I am yet to overcome.  To get a good vantage point without clutter from the main road, telegraph poles, and farm buildings would require a shot from the other side of the valley, and a longer landscape lens than I currently possess (I have a large gap with the D800E between my 60mm and 200mm macro lenses – which would be nicely filled by the Nikon 70-200f4 zoom on my Christmas list); since I knew this, the only other option was to venture up closer to the feature and try a wide-angle shot with the Zeiss lens.  As I suspected, this wasn’t a great compositional success, as I was bound to end up with far too much uninteresting foreground grass and not enough subject.  In the end, I stuck with the Zeiss, and scouted around for other things to shoot.  I finally homed in upon this photogenic Sweet Chestnut tree; working with the Zeiss is a constant surprise, especially if you haven’t used it that much for a while: you really have to get very close to your subject to make the shots work.  In this case, though the tree fills the frame, I was not more than a few feet away from it.


As you can see, I made two versions of this image: one processed in the original colour, and one in black and white.  I think I prefer the b&w version because it accentuates the texture of the tree and the contrast in the sky, and allows for some greater tonal separation between the tree and the lower left background.


Both shots:

Nikon D800E/Zeiss 21mm

ISO 100 1/500 f/7.1,

no filters


B&W version processed with Nik Silver Efex Pro 2:

High Structure (harsh) preset, with structure at 23%







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