It's Snowing on Stanage Edge

All alone on Stanage Edge - It's FREEZING!!!!

Location: I can't believe that its only my second visit to Stanage Edge and if I'm not careful it'll be my last. The photo above doesn't do justice to the weather conditions up here. The snow is actually about a foot deep and covers gaps between the rock slabs on the edge. One misjudged step and at worst I'd be over the edge, and at best I'd have a badly twisted ankle. Furthermore the wind and wind chill were far from pleasant.

Barbara and I had just fancied a walk so we parked the car, grabbed the camera (nothing else - no backpack with food and additional clothing) and made straight for the edge. No sooner than we arrived on top did the wind hit me and I started to feel exposed and just a little bit stupid - at least Barbara had her mobile in her handbag (yes you read correctly - dressed for the North Pole and all Barbara had was a walking pole and her Handbag!!).

Are these a Hare's footprints?
We walked a couple of hundred yards, enjoyed the view, took a couple of photographs, speculated about these strange footprints and then; although the probability of having an accident or succumbing to  the cold was low - in my minds eye I could see the disapproving looks of Andrew, Hannah and the whole of the Edale Mountain Rescue Team. So I suggested to Barbara that we turn back and enjoy the view from the car.

Inspiration: the colours. The buds are forming on the trees in the distance - the wet bracken contrasting against the snow, and the orange sandstone breaking through a century of industrial grime on the black rocks of the edge. The whole scene has an orange glow despite the almost total lack of sun.

Technique: This was going to be another difficult exposure. I wanted to expose for detail in the snow. Now I could have used the spot meter but instead continued with the matrix meter and, in Manual mode, underexposed by about 1.3ev.

Camera Work: RAW(12bit); Focal Length 24mm; Exposure (Manual) F/14 @ 1/200sec., ISO 100.

Post Processing: The snow detail was exposed perfectly and the all important colour was good too, but the rock face was massively underexposed (I'd expected some loss of shadow detail but not quite that much). Oh well the joys of shooting in RAW meant more processing in Nikon Capture NX2:
  • applied Landscape Picture Control (sharpening increased to +8, Brightness reduced to -1, and Saturation increased to +2),
  • exposure increased to +0.8ev (to just retain snow detail)
  • increased shadow protection 46% (to bring out further detail in the rock face)
  • applied curves mask over the sky, to bring out cloud detail, esp. in the midtones.
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