Tuesday 14 November 2023

Meandering Thoughts On Recuperation, Local Walks, Photography

Across Strathspey to Cairn Gorm at dusk. November 9. Sony a6700, Sony 18-135mm lens at 125mm, ISO 100, f8 @ 1/25 seconds

Recuperation is frustrating! Especially when you feel well. A recent long-awaited operation (nothing serious but necessary before it became so) means I can’t lift anything heavy or drive for a couple of weeks and probably not carry a big pack for quite a few weeks more. But I feel energetic! Ah well, I guess November is a good month to miss hillwalking and camping if I must do so.

Sunset clouds. November 12. Sony a6700, Sigma 18-50 lens @ 18mm, ISO 400, f8 @ 1/320 second

As during the lockdowns this has made me aware of how grateful I am to live here, in this corner of the Cairngorms National Park. I can go for short walks in fields and woods with a backdrop of hills from the front door. These are the walks I do most weeks anyway. I’m just doing them more often now. And as the wound from the operation heals and doesn’t hurt so much I’ll start making them longer.

Dusk. November 10. Sony a6700, Sigma 18-50 lens @ 50mm, ISO 400, f8 @ 1/10 second

Of course there’s desk work to get on with – there always is – ranging from the tedious (accounts) to the interesting (gear reviews) and the exciting (new book project). Now the anaesthetic has worn off my brain is working!

Late afternoon clouds over the Cairngorms. November 12. Sony a6700, Sigma 18-50 lens @ 41mm, ISO 100, f8 @ 1/250 second

It’s an opportunity to concentrate on photography too – I can carry a camera! – and seek out different viewpoints and details. Maybe take out some lenses I rarely use. I’ve been thinking more about photography this year anyway, for several reasons. A *new camera, **new lenses, new processing software have all required attention. Finding old film photos for the upcoming book project and then scanning and processing them is also interesting and involving.

Across Strathspey to Bynack More at dusk. November 12. Sony a6700, Sigma 18-50 lens @ 50mm, ISO 50, f8 @ 1/30 second

The new processing software has recently had a major update (DXO PhotoLab 7) with enough changes that, having barely learnt how to use the previous version, I now have to start again in some areas. That said, the changes do make some processes easier and give more options for others so overall I am impressed. I’ll be posting some results soon.

There is still some autumn colour in the woods and recent days have seen skies clearing late in the afternoon and the low sun creating some gorgeous light.

Bynack More. November 8. Sony a6700, Sony 70-350mm lens @ 350mm, ISO 800, f6.3 @ 1/160 second

Anyway, it’s local pictures I’ll be posting the next few weeks. Mountains will only appear in the distance or else in telephoto images. Camps will have to wait.

*Sony a6700 - http://www.christownsendoutdoors.com/2023/08/photography-post-new-camera-surprises.html

** Sony 11mm f1.8, Sony 10-20mm f4, Sigma 18-50mm f2.8. I’ve written about the first two - http://www.christownsendoutdoors.com/2023/08/photography-thoughts-new-cameras-lead.html - but not yet the third, which I’ve only had just over a month. It supplements the Sony 18-135 f3.5 -f5.6, which I’ve had for many years. Overall I prefer the 18-135 because of the long reach but it’s not weather-sealed. The 18-50 is weather-sealed and also faster with a constant f2.8 aperture and so better for low light photography.


  1. Fascinating as always. As you probably know I have had to adapt because I have MS and have found an looking more closely as I walk more slowly and use that to take different kinds of photos. Very rewarding!

    1. Yes, it does make a difference. I hope to remember it when I am fully recovered.

  2. I hope you heal up fast and fully Chris so you can get back out there before too long. I just re-read your book Out There - what great stories and reflections! Love Kris x

    1. Thanks Kris. Glas you liked Out There. Healing OK, just a matter of time and patience! Love Chris

  3. Hi Chris, I have 18-50 too, I wonder should I get 18-135 or not, can you give me some advise?

    1. If I only had one of them it would be the 18-135 because of the much longer reach. It's been my most used lens by far of the last five years. It has image stabilisation too - when I got it I didn't have a camera with stabilisation. However it is slow, especially at the telephoto lens, and so not that good in low light. The constant f2.8 of the 18-50 is much better in that respect. The 18-50 has some weather protection too. The 18-135 has none though I have used it in rain and snow and not had problems. I'm not sure yet how much I'll use the 18-50.