Tent Rocks National Monument, New Mexico, September 2006
Note: photos to be posted later
This, alas, is the one that got away. Much of New Mexico, Albuquerque and Santa Fe particularly, lie at an altitude of about one mile. Unfortunately, this is also the altitude at which I start to get the first signs of altitude sickness, so I have to say that I wasn't really in a very good state to start with, and I found the 1 mile or so easy hike actually extremely demanding. As a consequence, I'm not really sure what I did exactly, but I made samething of a mess of most of the photos. I got quite physically shaky, but I had the camera (Bronica/Megavision) on a tripod so it shouldn't really have mattered. Nevertheless, I managed to end up with a motley collection of out of focus and camera-shake-ruined images.
At the time of writing, I've not yet been through all of the raw images, so there may yet be a few keepers -- if so, I'll post something here soon. I did learn a few things, though. With very high resolution sensors, you need to forget everything you thought you knew about getting sharp images. Depth of field is much narrower -- relying on markings on the lens barrel to do hyperfocal focusing just isn't reliable. At f11, even the markings for f5.6 aren't sufficiently conservative, so I've now abandoned the technique completely, so if I want something to be perfectly sharp, I focus on it rather than use depth of field.
The slightest camera movement will affect the image. On a really sturdy carbon fibre tripod, with a very heavy lens, just firing the shutter by pushing the shutter button on the camera is often too much. If it isn't too obvious in the raw image, it often becomes painfully visible if you apply unsharp mask -- things that should be points typically end up as 2 pixel vertical lines. In prints up to 10x8 this doesn't really show, but it is visible in larger prints, unfortunately. More recently (after this trip) I have been using a cable release exclusively, which has helped enormously. I am working on an essay, Keeping it Sharp, on the subject of sharpness, so watch that particular space.
Well, to sum up, I now realise that I tend not to be very good at taking photos if I'm having physical difficulties coping with the effort required for the shoot. I need to be relaxed, not rushed, not overtired. Altitude sickness really doesn't help. I also need to clean up my act somewhat as regards ensuring sharpness.
I'll chalk this one down to experience, I think.