Friends, Failures and Being Frozen

Let's Go Back To Brentor

It's rare that I have a Saturday afternoon available for photography so when one did present itself a few weeks ago, I wasn't going to let it slip by.  Even if the weather conditions weren't necessarily going to be great.  Though the setting sun was in a direction that would give me good light on the church, the skies were going to be very clear.  However, one of the things I've learnt over the years is to take some weather forecasts with a pinch of salt.  But would I get an epic sunrise like I did on my last visit to Brentor?

Most of my trips out with the camera are a bit last minute.  This makes it difficult to make arrangements to meet up with fellow photographers.  So when friend and fellow photographer Andy Hobbs said he could join me on my trip to Dartmoor I was delighted to have the company.

Things I love About the D850

 It's me doing some filming.  A rare behind the scenes shot taken by Andy.

It's me doing some filming.  A rare behind the scenes shot taken by Andy.

One of my goals of going to Brentor Chruch was to shot my video called 8 Things I Love About the Nikon D850.  If you click on that link you'll see I have indeed published that video but you'll also see it certainly isn't filmed at Brentor.

My plan for Brentor was fairly straightforward.  I would arrive a couple of hours before sunset, do some filming, and then capture a great sunset.  What could go wrong?  

When we arrived we found we had the best spot to shoot Brentor to ourselves.  This is rare, especially for a Saturday.  However, the skies were very clear and while this makes it all look very lovely, it is a bit of a nightmare for photography and for video because of the high contrast of bright and shadow areas.  Then there was the cold.  Brentor is notorious for being windy and cold.

 When my hands were warm I was happy to double check the audio.  Thanks again to Andy for the BTS shot.

When my hands were warm I was happy to double check the audio.  Thanks again to Andy for the BTS shot.

The filming started off OK, and it was really great having Andy there to help out, but sometimes you just can't find your mojo.  Maybe it was the strong light from the sun or just the cold wind, but it just seemed to take me an age to get into my stride.

While I managed to get all the scenes shot for the video, I, unfortunately, skipped a few steps that I would normally take to ensure certain things have worked correctly.  When I later got home and went to edit the video I noticed that some of the clips shot towards the end had no audio.  What probably had happened is that as I got colder I probably didn't rigorously check things after and it appeared that I had disconnected the mic from the audio recorder.  

This failure to check my recordings, something I normally always do, resulted in the entire video shoot being scrubbed.  To be honest, I also don't think it was my best time behind the camera so in some respects I was happy to shoot it again in a few days time at a different location.

The Photographs

Shooting that video was only half the purpose of the trip.  Of course, I wanted to get some good landscape photographs as well.  Unfortunately, the sunset wasn't the best I'd seen at Brentor, but we still got some nice light. 

 Filming was done, it was time to move onto capturing some still images.  Thanks again to Andy for the BTS shot.

Filming was done, it was time to move onto capturing some still images.  Thanks again to Andy for the BTS shot.

I took a couple of frames and I even tried out the focus shift feature of the D850 for the first time.  I did a very rough focus stack in Photoshop, and while the image could do with a bit more finesse, it is clear the image has better sharpness from back to front than from the single frame.

Nikon D850, Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 at 23mm, ISO 64, 1/13th sec at f/13 - single image

Nikon D850, Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 at 21mm, ISO 64, 1/6th sec at f/4.6 - focus stacked

Despite the failed video and the lack of interest in the sky for the pictures, it was still time well spent out with the camera.  It was great chatting with Andy and we had a great laugh.  There might even be some funny video outtakes that I might publish one day!

So have you ever had things go wrong on a shoot?  What's your worst disaster?  Let me know in the comments below.