Saffron Blaze's death-defying shot of Prelkestolen in Norway is this week's winning Photo of the Week
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Would you do that? Would you sit on the edge of a cliff and dangle your tootsies over 2,000 feet of air? Well, “ you’re a better man than I, Gunga Din!” (Kipling, 1892.)
This is Prelkestolen, not far from the North Sea in Norway, near Forsand, Ryfylke. Called Pulpit Rock by locals, it has loomed over Lysefjord since the Ice Age. Getting to sit and enjoy the breathtaking view is not easy; visitors have to hike 2½ miles of very steep trail. Norway is one of the healthiest countries in the world and each year, during the summer months, more than a hundred thousand hale and hearty visitors make the trek.
Here’s an important question: Did this week’s winning photographer, whose nom-de-camera is Saffron Blaze, ask a friend to defy death and pose, or was the chap sitting there already? And just where was Saffron Blaze when he snapped the photo he calls "Man on the Edge - (Explored)?"
The choice of a long focal length lens, perhaps a 300mm, added spice to the photo. It foreshortened the perceived distance between the 10,000-year-old rock and the mountains in the distance, making the scene appear far more dramatic than a shorter focal length lens would have giving the image a feeling of “air” – lots of air.
Most “point-and-shoot” cameras have “digital zoom” features, but they aren’t the same as real telephoto lenses. Real telephoto lenses are all glass; they can be a 70mm-300mm “zoom lens,” or a “prime” 200mm, 300mm, 500mm or longer and they can be quite expensive. Digital zoom features use software to crop the image inside the camera resulting in a poor imitation of a true telephoto. There are some digital cameras that come with an “optical zoom” lens permanently attached … Cool, but they are what they are: Not bad, but a good intermediate way to go.
Saffron Blaze made this winning image using a Nikon D700. (That’s not necessarily an endorsement, there’s a Canon camera in the same price range if you prefer.) All DSLR’s allow you to change their ISO (International Standards Organization) sensitivity setting. This is really handy and one of the great advances over film. In days of old, when we put a roll of film in our camera we were stuck with what ever speed (ASA, or American Standards Association) it was: slow, medium or fast.
Today, just by touching a button on the camera, we can set the sensitivity from slow to high and several choices in between. We can shoot a frame at ISO 100, and the next at ISO 400. What’s this all about? It means we don’t have to use a tripod as often, for one thing. Or, by slowing the sensitivity down we can shoot longer exposures in the daytime: cool if we would like some “motion blur” in our photo. My bet is Saffron didn’t use a tripod, and a higher ISO number would have afforded a faster shutter speed to prevent nervous hands from shaking the camera.
So for Saffron’s arduous hike; finding a safe, yet still scary, place to shoot from, we pick “A Man on the Edge” for Yahoo! Travel Photo of The Week.
Alabama-based Michael Clemmer has been a photojournalist/travel photographer, landscape and golf course photographer for over four decades. Once a Senior Travel Photographer for Southern Living Magazine, he has also worked as an assignment photographer for the National Geographic Society and his photographs have been used in fine publications around the world. He currently specializes in golf landscape photography — visit his web site at www.michaelclemmer.com
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