The road way back at Belluton Narrows (what a wonderful name!) being blocked for the time being, I now drive down onto “my bit” of the Somerset Levels along this narrow back road into the village of Mark.  And here are the village’s outlying buildings, its outskirts, with the church tower rising up behind them.

It was just before sunrise but, on this cloudy morning the light was still dim.  My 70-300, the lens I’m married to, has Nikon’s image stabilisation (known as Vibration Reduction or VR), but the high pixel (37MP) D800 is all too proficient at registering camera shake – and so to VR engaged, and then 1/250th, aperture wide open at f5.6, and ISO set to 25,600.

Having to take extra care when photographing with high megapixel cameras is not something camera manufacturers are keen to advertise.  They are keen to say that their latest megapixel creation will enable you to “take your photography to the next level” (whatever that means) and that you’ll now be able to capture the gnats on the Moon, but what they don’t say that all of these megapixels come at a cost – increased disk storage space for your images obviously, but also that you’ll also have to pay more attention to your camera technique, and there is also the point that if you want a camera good in really low light, then fewer megapixels are really the way to go – e.g. Sony’s flagship models.  Locking high megapixel cameras down onto sturdy tripods is of course the thing, but I for one find tripods very restrictive.

The D800 has been described as “a beast of a camera” and I can see the rationale behind that.  Its big and bulky and the shutter is loud, loud, loud.   And then there is the technique thing already referred to.  But then, for me, its very similar in layout to my D700, and I just have to remember to try, if at all possible, to keep shutter speeds that bit further up.  It used to be said that a “safe” shutter speed was the reciprocal (is that the word?) of the lens focal length – so that, for example, the shutter speed to prevent camera shake when using a 50mm lens is 1/50th second or faster, but I’ve recently read that high MP cameras need twice or even three times such speeds.

Anyway, back to more pleasant things: entering the village of Mark, just before sunrise, on 16 Dec 2016.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 25,600 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2 – and I’ve forgotten the preset I started out from, but I do recall adding a tone to the finished product.

About Adrian Lewis
Photographer - using mono, colour and combinations of the two - many types of subject, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous, trying new ideas, working in multiple genres. And I've a weakness for Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.


  1. …so, so good Adrian…(…smiling…)


  2. paula graham says:

    we do want it DARK…as Leonard Cohen wondered. Bless him. Lovely shot.


  3. Good story on sharpness and high megapixels; very true, unfortunately.


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