… or how I almost got stuck in a bog.

Yesterday, my photographic spider senses were tingling. I looked out my window (which overlooks a lovely 2-acre sculpted garden) and thought to myself ‘my, we might be in for a frosty sunset.’ Now, I got the sunset bit wrong, as the cloud cover was simply too heavy, but I did capture a little frosty moment above the lovely little Ashdown Forest in Sussex.

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It’s a great photo, but I thought I could do better! So, heading down the hill you see in that photo, I stumbled across a lovely wide, open, frosty scrub land.

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This photo isn’t quite so good (it’s just not as interesting), but I do like how it feels almost… Siberian. I forced the colours to come out very cold, and washed out. Dismal, I guess you could say. English and grey.

So, having taken that photo, I thought ‘Oh, wouldn’t it be nice if I could compose a photo with that tree in the foreground, and the hill falling away below me, with the town’s lights in the background…’, and started trudging down the hill. I guess those of you from more interesting climates might be more used to bogs, quagmires and swamps, but here in England they’re certainly not common. I was a little surprising then when my foot sunk about 30cm into brown, sticky (and smelly)… bog. Not deterred, and avidly chasing THE killer photo, like all real photographers should, I strapped the camera around my neck and trekked on, using my tripod to test the ground in front of me, like a REAL explorer.

About half way to the tree, with no sign of the bog drying out, and realising I’d left my mobile phone at home, I decided to abort and scramble to safety. Yes, I wussed out without taking the photo… but to be fair, I didn’t think my tripod would balance very well in the middle of some mire. Better to escape with my life, and an unboggified camera.

Anyway, I’ve been looking at two new ultra-wideangle lenses to replace my venerable, awesome but-not-quite-wide-enough Canon 17-40L. I don’t shoot on full-frame-sensor bodies unless I’m in a studio, so the 17mm on my Canon 450D comes out at a not-so-wide 26mm. Both Sigma and Canon provide some awesome ‘small sensor only’ (APS-C, for the geeks out there) lenses: Canon 10-22mm & Sigma 10-20mm. Both seem virtually identical in reviews, some even placing the Sigma above the costly Canon in terms of sharpness and chromatic abberation. Now I’m just waiting for a good deal to pop up on Ebay, or for one to appear at one of my local camera shops, and then I’ll wow you with some English landscapes!

It's still damn cold


I am a tall, hairy, British writer who blogs about technology, photography, travel, and whatever else catches my eye.