Month: June 2014

Friday image No.024

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Blue Haze - Captured on an Olympus Em5 with Panasonic 45-150 lens.
Blue Haze – Captured on an Olympus Em5 with Panasonic 45-150 lens.

This week’s Friday image is another from my recent holiday. I call this one Blue Haze but not for obvious reasons. I just happened to be stood looking out to sea, admiring the view and thinking the house I was outside had a priceless view (this one). The name of the house? You guessed it, Blue Haze.

Have a great weekend everyone.

How did it look at the start?

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An interesting conversion using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2
An interesting conversion using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2

After I posted this black and white image taken from near the summit of Great Gable in the English Lake District a number of you wanted to know what the starting image looked like. Well here is it.

 

Starting image prior to processing in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2
Starting image prior to processing in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2

Looks great eh and you can immediately see how I turned it into the finished version above (only joking). If you can’t and want to know how I achieved the conversion, take yourself over to my Lenscraft website and register as a member – don’t worry it’s free. This entire conversion will be detailed in Summer 14 newsletter which I will be publishing shortly. Members receive an email notification when the newsletters published. You can also be sure that I won’t spam you as I HATE spam email.

Emotional Challenge 2

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Processing in Nik Analog Efex 2
Processing in Lightroom,  Photoshop and Nik Analog Efex 2

Recently I posted a blog entitled Emotional Challenge where I spoke about my recent interest in the emotional aspect of photography and how we could create images that had more emotional impact. As an initial example I posted the image of a seagull flying over the sea. Now some of your reading this will be relating the image of the seagull to seaside holidays, perhaps recalling childhood memories. Others though may have an entirely different perspective of the image.

If you are not from a climate where the seagull is a common sight on the coast you may not have any emotional memory to attach to the image. Instead you may see a huge open stretch of water with a bird gliding graceful over it and flying off into the distance. For you the emotional message in the image is one of freedom.

Today I have posted a few variants of the image that are also intended to add further layers of emotion, using various tricks or rather emotional triggers.

The first variant below has cropped the image to a square format. Whilst this possibly doesn’t give as dynamic a composition as the standard rectangular image, it is none the less a trigger. Some people will associate the square format with older cameras. The other change in this example was the vintage effect. Here lighting and colouring have been used to create the impression of older photography. All these changes were achieved quite quickly in Lightroom using the crop tool and a few gradients.

Processing in Lightroom
Processing in Lightroom only

The next example is a little more complex. This takes the Lightroom conversion and applies effects using Nik Analog Efex 2 (which is a recent release). The effects here are light and colour adjustments, blur, vignette, dust and an edge effect similar to the old Polaroid film.

Old film effects in Nik Analog Efex 2 only
Old film effects in Nik Analog Efex 2 only

In the next two examples the results of the Nik Analog Efex filter have been added as a layer in Photoshop to the Original Lightroom image. The blending mode has then been changed on the Nik layer. In the first of the two the blending mode is set to Soft Light.

Lightroom and Nik versions blended in Photoshop using Soft Light mode
Lightroom and Nik versions blended in Photoshop using Soft Light mode

In this second image the blending mode is set to Overlay.

Processing in Nik Analog Efex 2
Lightroom and Nik versions blended in Photoshop using Overlay mode

All these images are likely to mean different things to different people but all are likely to have an effect. If we can isolate the emotional triggers from great images and then learn how to recreate these in our own work, our photography will improve. But this carries two significant dangers. Firstly people are likely to either love or hate your work. Secondly your work can become a cliché and the effects boring.

I never said it was easy.

Friday Image No. 023

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Olympus EM5 + 0.3 ND Grad filter
Olympus EM5 + Panasonic 14-45mm + 0.3 ND Grad filter. Click the image to see the larger version.

After a short break last week I wanted to share a new Friday Image. This was taken just over a week ago in Cornwall. We went down to St Ives which is a lovely Cornish village if you have never had the opportunity to visit. The light there is amazing and some of the atmospheric effects at sunset can be spectacular.

Have a great weekend everyone.


Update 18/08/14

Someone recently sent me a link to a competition. I don’t normally enter these but thought I would give it a shot seeing as how one of my favourite subjects is the sea. Here is the link for anyone out there who is interested in trying their hand also. The compertition is being run by Cruise.co.uk

http://www.cruise.co.uk/blog/depths-of-perception-ocean-waves-photoblog-competition/

There are also some cracking pictures on the judges site so well worth a look.

 

Emotional Challenge

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What does this image say to you? Olympus EM5 + 45-150mm Panasonic lens.
What does this image say to you? Olympus EM5 + 45-150mm Panasonic lens.

Recently, besides buying lots of new equipment, I have become interested in the challenge of introducing emotion into photography. With some photography (mainly involving people) it tends to be a little easier. You can catch that moment of joy or the look in a subjects eye but with landscapes it becomes a little more difficult. Sure you can show wonderful, breathtaking scenes but this doesn’t always translate into an emotional element.

What I want to achieve are images that evoke an emotional response or a feeling of nostalgia. The only tools I have to do this are my camera, choice of composition and post processing “effects”. This is probably a worthy challenge to set myself and one that I don’t yet know how to achieve. It’s also going to be made more difficult as not everyone will see the same or respond in the same way to the same image.

Above is a simple image which is not much different than how it came out of the camera. I think it has potential through the composition and subject matter to evoke emotion. I suspect with more processing it could achieve a stronger impact.

What do you think?

Quality costs but it also pays

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Olympus EM5 with 14-45mm lens. Lee Seven 5 0.9ND Graduated filter. Post processing with Nik Color Efex and Viveza. f/11 at ISO200 for 1/13" handheld.
Olympus EM5 with 14-45mm lens. Lee Seven 5 0.9ND Graduated filter. Post processing with Nik Color Efex and Viveza. f/11 at ISO200 for 1/13″ handheld.

Looking back some 3 to 4 years, I was a devoted user of Lee Filters although they were far from perfect. I didn’t think the quality was great and I can point to examples of colour shifts in my work. When I moved to Micro 43 I found the Lee 100mm filters were too large so I switched to using Hi-Tech 85mm filters and then more recently the Hi-Tech 67mm.

I was very pleased with the Hi-Tech filters and they were also much better value than the Lee equivalent. That was at least until I purchased the Sony RX10. When I use the 85mm Hi-Tech filters with this camera (the 67mm filters vignette badly) I find the sky takes on a purple tint. I can correct this in Lightroom using the grad tool but it’s annoying. What’s interesting is that this isn’t a noticeable problem when I use the filters with the Olympus EM5.

Now enter the GM1 and I found a similar problem was now occurring with the 67mm Hi-Tech filters. It’s not as strong an effect as the 85mm filters on the Sony but I can still notice it. Again, the effect isn’t noticeable when using the filters with the Olympus EM5.

It was this small but very frustrating tint that has taken me back to the Lee filters. I decided to bite the bullet and invest in the Lee Seven 5 filters, and I’m so pleased that I have. These filters and holders are very well made indeed. Best of all there is no discernible colour shift on any of the cameras I use. What really hit home for me was when I used the 0.9 Grad for this image and found the effect to be perfectly natural. If there was going to be a colour shift it would be with this filter but the results are excellent.

If you are thinking of investing in the Lee Seven 5, my view is that the expense is well worth it.

Now that’s a leading line

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The great wall of Wasdale
The great wall of Wasdale

 

I just wanted to share this one.

Friday image No.022

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This week’s image is one I took recently in the Lake District (my favourite place in the world). I was near to the summit of Great Gable when I shot this. I had just descended Green Gable and was climbing back up and noticed this great path leading up the hills to my right. I couldn’t swear to it but I think it’s a route up Great End. I should probably look it up on a map.

I’m going to take a short break over the next week as I have a lot to catch up at home but I’m planning lots of new material including more from the new GM1 and also some work with my new Olympus 17mm f/1.8 (a wonderful lens)

Have a great weekend everyone.

What are your favourite filters?

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Sea and cloud scape. Shot with an Olympus EM5 and processed using Nik Silver Efex
Sea and cloud scape. Shot with an Olympus EM5 and processed using Nik Silver Efex

I’m really interested in something and need your help. I love photography software and in particular filters and editing tools. I’m always on the lookout for new software that’s good and want to know what recommendations people have. Here are a few of the filters I already use in my workflow:

  • Nik Collection
  • Topaz (B&W Effects, Star Effects, Adjust, Detail)
  • On One Software Perfect Photo Suite
  • Photomatix (HDR)
  • Photo Wiz (B&W Styler, Contrast Master, Focal Blade)
  • Neat Image Noise Reduction
  • Qimage Ultimate (printing)
  • Akvis Magnifier (resizing)
  • Helicon Focus (image stacking)
  • Hugin (panoramic stitching)

Now I don’t want just names of filters and adjustment tools you have heard about, I want recommendations of tools you use and think are great. What do you recommend I look at?

Sony RX10 Colour Profile for Lightroom

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Image captured on the Sony RX10 and converted in Lightroom using the new Colour Profile I created.
Image captured on the Sony RX10 and converted in Lightroom using the new Colour Profile I created.

I have finally managed to find a little time to produce and upload a new Colour Profile for the Sony RX10. The profile can be used with Lightroom and gives a nice improvement over the standard Adobe profiles that come with Lightroom. The improvement isn’t quite as marked as some of the other cameras I have profiled but it’s still better. Blues have more punch and the reds are more natural.

You can find the free download on my Lenscraft website.

I hope you like it.