70-200: Into the Dales

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My wife and I took up our friends’ invitations to come and join them in the Yorkshire Dales this weekend, and had a wonderful, though very wet, day walking with them and checking out various waterfalls and rivers throughout the day.

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When it’s raining, the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 SP Di VC USD has a real advantage. It’s a weather sealed lens, and thanks to its large, deep hood, it’s fairly easy to keep raindrops off the front element as well. It can take a brief shower without causing any concern. Mind you, some of the weather we saw this weekend was considerably more severe. When it’s like this, I use the Hydrophobia camera jacket by Think Tank.  It just gives a bit more piece of mind (It also makes you blend into a crowd more; I’ve noticed people tend to assume you’re carrying a bag or coat rather than a camera).

When approaching Hardraw Force, the 70-200 turned out to be an excellent choice. The normal viewpoint at the foot of the falls was not as appealing to me, due to the lack of vegetation and resultant colour on the walls of waterfall. Standing a distance back allowed me to take in more of the plantlife, while avoiding including too much sky, which was bright, but very overcast and completely lacking in detail.

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The 70-200 has excellent bokeh characteristics, giving a pleasing separation from the foreground trees and a painterly backdrop. And since there was considerably more water coming down the falls that day, the greater working distance and deep lens hood helped to control some of the spray in the air. Not going for the obvious choice of a wide angle lens means I’ve come away with a shot that’s quite different to the typical view of one of England’s more famous waterfalls (having once featured in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves).

This wouldn’t have been possible in a single shot with a DX format camera, but with a full frame sensor, the 70-200 appears to be a much more versatile lens, and the edge sharpness of the Tamron is just excellent.

If I want to get even wider with the 70-200, then the low distortion means that panoramic stitching is a fairly painless process. This was a three-shot effort to take in a bit more of the shadowplay on the hills and fields, and the fainter double rainbow.

Swaledale

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