On a recent visit to the town centre I discovered a street with a fantastic view towards the cathedral in the distance. It looked great for a zoom shot with the sun or moon in the frame. As this was looking roughly west by northwest I thought there must be a few days where at least I’d get a sunset. With some luck, even a moon rise. So I did some digging and came across The Photographer’s Ephemeris. There’s a mobile app (Android or iOS) and a free desktop app too. It turned out that yesterday evening was practically a perfect sunset opportunity for what I had in mind – I visualized the cathedral in silhouette with the sun setting next to it. One can never really tell with British weather but then it’s a short drive so it was worth the risk.

True to form, I was there very early, so I had some time to try out a few options. I wasn’t trusting my zoom lens too well (it’s an old consumer lens, past due for an upgrade), so I wanted to have the chance to take some shots with the 50mm as well. You see, I had recently printed a few of my Richmond Park shots, and was very disappointed. Of course I should have picked up the faults on screen at 100%, but I had become so used to the sharpness and general reliability of my two main lenses (the EF 50mm f/1.4 and the EF17-40 f/4L) that I rarely check any more.

Anyway, an hour or so later the sun was sufficiently low so I started shooting. The timer remote came in handy (I have no idea how I used to survive without it!) to avoid camera shake. I used a polarizing filter, even though straight-on it would not make much difference. Otherwise the only processing done is the usual dust removal and a very slight curves adjustment. The top two frames are with the zoom lens, while the last is with the 50mm. I much prefer the outcome of the 50mm shot in terms of general sharpness and detail, but the top frame is actually closest to what I had mind. Minus the cloud cover, of course, but what can you do! So, which one do you prefer?


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