25 January, 2004
First decent walk of the year
I went for a walk with Hedley today, up Ingleborough Hill (723 m), just over the Lancashire border into the county of North Yorkshire and the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
UK National Parks (founded in 1952, as I remember from 'A' Level Geography) are rather different to their US equivalents; though there are restrictions on the degree and type of developments permitted, our National Parks aren't pristine wilderness areas, they contain thriving rural communities.
The commonest path up Ingleborough starts at the Hill Inn, but that's long way over very wet ground, finishing with a steep climb. Hedley & I have been up before from Clapham, but again that's a long route which I found a bit boring once we were on the open moor. Since we only had about three hours before sunset, we took the shortest route, from just outside Ingleton.
Though the weather has been wet all week, this part of the Dales is on limestone, and full of cave systems (the famous Gaping Gill is on the second route I mentioned above), so the ground wasn't too soggy underfoot. Today's weather was sunny, but local geography means the top of Ingleborough is almost always in cloud; this was no exception, and much of the walk was either in the shade of clouds, or in the cloud layer itself. This might sound unpleasant to those who haven't experienced it, but walking in light, 'good weather' cloud generated by topography is nothing like being in mountains when dense rain or snow clouds descend. There was no rain, and the temperature was fine for walking, so I didn't bother with my jacket until we reached at the top; the flat summit of Ingleborough is rather exposed to even the slightest wind. This wind was enough to keep the cloud moving, and brief breaks gave stunning, fragmented views of the beautiful surroundings. On the return trip, low sun through such breaks similarly lit the landscape well.
Needless to say, I took the digital camera, and this posting is essentially an introduction and link to the resulting images!
Hedley is an ex-press photographer, and (obviously) still a talented expert, so we discussed digital photography at length, a shared interest we approach from rather different backgrounds.
Having now seen the finished images, and knowing both the degree of manipulation that was possible in Photoshop and the time it took, I've reinforced my impression that I'm able to obtain satisfactory digital images in lighting conditions that would defeat my (old but high-spec at the time!) film camera. In several of the instances shown here, a bright sky and fairly well-exposed skyline (the subject of most images) was dominated by an under-exposed foreground, but the ability to correct the colour and brightness of these elements independently allowed me to restore the balance of composition that I'd seen and intended to record.
However, pride in the result forces me to mention that the final image is exactly as the camera captured, and no post-processing 'faked' it!