This was, as the saying goes, a weekend of two halves... Or at least two cameras over two visits to Lyme Park.
One day successful, the other not so much.
And a reprise at Alderley Edge.
The two photos shown here were taken with the Ricoh GRIII with the 21mm converter lens. What a versatile camera this is, and a joy to use.
The key for me is the relative simplicity and spontaneity of the GRIII. Several levels above point & shoot (although like most cameras it can be that if wanted but more complexity is there if needed). It can easily be used one handed which makes it very flexible.
Activating Saul Bellow mode temporarily; yes, the highlights are a bit blown on the second photo but I was after the mood of the place. Look at the direction of the tree shadow. The sunlight was dazzling. The camera did well with the range.
Both of these images look better viewed as large as possible. The first one in particular has a real sense of space and expanse.
So, what happened on the second day at Lyme Park? I took the Fujifilm X100V which I haven't used in a long time. Basically I had forgotten how I had set it up and which buttons and dials I had allocated to which functions and settings. There are so many buttons and dials on this camera and they can all be allocated different settings most of which overide the default functionality. Brilliant... Not! Unless you use it regularly of course... I just hadn't used it for a while and had predictable results - no photos and a bad case of resentment against the camera (not me of course).
Why haven't I used it? I simply prefer the GRIII. It suits me better. I prefer wider (28mm vs the X100V's 35mm) and with the converter the GRIII is a tasty 21mm camera. It is also tiny, small enough for a smallish pocket.
Another weird thing - the X100V feels so 'premium' it makes me slightly uncomfortable using it. What it does have going for it is the viewfinder, aperture ring, exposure dial and other things that actually make it behave like an analogue camera used to. That is what attracted me. I had (and still have) the original X100 Fujifilm produced 10+ years ago and I love it despite its (very obvious) quirks and shortcomings (version 1.0 problems). The X100V has obviously built on this over the iterations of the series and it is a stunning camera.
Now, if they could dump the myriad and duplicated and overly complex ways of reaching the same ends I would be happier. It is a strange thing to moan about but it pisses me off and that is why I haven't used it. I want a camera that produces RAW images that I can edit in Darktable. I don't need (for example) 10 kinds of jpeg recreations of loved film types and the ability to edit them on the fly through the titchy rear viewscreen. But I suppose some people must want this. The GRIII, while to some extent guilty of this too, has considerably fewer options that I don't need to think about.
I finally got to use the X100V a few days later after having to (re) rtfm and familiarise myself with how it works. We went to Alderley Edge
Something else I have to come to terms with is photographing the countryside. My 'landscapes' have primarily been urban. The counryside is fairly alien to me photographically and 'landcape' photography as traditionally defined doesn't interest me particularly. I'm going to have to get my head around that.
Alderley Edge has a particular resonance for me because of the author Alan Garner's novels: The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath which I have reread from childhood onwards.
Even as a child I preferred these two novels over Tolkien's Hobbits & Wizards fantasies. Alan Garner made it feel as if I could just as easily have been the protagonist as Colin or Susan. They are grounded in the 'normal' so the 'not normal' is hugely emphasised as a result. That is missing in all of Tolkien's books (for me anyway). Not to mention Garner's lack of sentimentality compared to Tolkein. A plus point for me.
I visited Alderley Edge in 1976 but all I remember is that the trees seemed to be full of bees. They were all humming like beehives. Odd.
It was considerably less manicured in 1976 and is obviously popular now as a 'destination'. We approached from the rear to avoid the people from the car park and the busy paths. So you can still get muddy.
These photos are from my second visit in 2022.
And despite everything I still expected to meet Cadellin Silverbrow.
I live in hope.