photography

Friday Image No. 64

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Olympus EM5, f/6.3, 35 seconds per image, 4 images blended in Lightroom to give the panoramic. Post production with Nik and Alien Skin Exposure 7
Olympus EM5, f/6.3, 35 seconds per image, 4 images blended in Lightroom to give the panoramic. Post production with Nik and Alien Skin Exposure 7. Click the image to enlarge.

It’s another waterfall image this week I’m afraid. This is one of the falls at Keld in the Yorkshire Dales. The weather wasn’t too kind but it doesn’t usually matter when shooting waterfalls or forests. In fact I like the wet weather for this type of scene as it makes the foliage glow with colour. Much better than the contrasty scene a bright sunny day would create.

Hope you like the image and have a great weekend.

Compact Camera Image Quality

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West Burton Falls, Yorkshire Dales. Canon G7X, ISO125, f/5.0, 30", Lee Little Stopper filter
West Burton Falls, Yorkshire Dales. Canon G7X, ISO125, f/5.0, 30″, Lee Little Stopper filter

As regular readers will be aware, I have recently been sharing my thoughts about the Canon G7X camera recently. My previous posting on the subject was a little critical as I had found that on very long exposures, light appeared to be leaking into the camera through the lens barrel. I would now like to balance this with a brief post demonstrating the image quality that’s now possible with even compact cameras.

The image above is a long exposure of Burton Falls in West Yorkshire. To avoid the problem with the light leaking into the camera I wrapped a cloth around the lens barrel. On processing the image in Lightroom the image quality is evident. Below you can see a close up of the image at 100% magnification prior to processing.

Canon G7X Sample 1 at 100%
Canon G7X Sample 1 at 100%

Depending on your screen resolution you may need to click on the image to review it properly.

What I found interesting is how clean the image was when I then went to touch it up in Alien Skin Exposure 7. I started with a Fuji Provia slide film simulation but turned off the grain. I then adjusted the sharpness and clarity very slightly. Below you can see the same sections from the image after processing.

Canon G7X Sample 2 at 100%
Canon G7X Sample 2 at 100%

If you would like to see a full resolution JPG of the image you can find it here (I had to drop the JPEG quality to 10 due to the file size).

Canon G7X full resolution Sample
Canon G7X full resolution Sample – click to enlarge

You don’t need to look back too many years to find this beats the pants of many DSLR’s.

The Power of a Letter

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This story has nothing much to do with Photography but I wanted to share it as it restores my faith in people.

Over the weekend I was in France to visit my daughter and her partner for my Grandson’s first birthday. Whilst my daughter and her partner don’t have very much money they wanted to give my grandson Zach a wonderful first birthday. They collected together the various gifts of money before taking him to the toy shop. They had seen a lovely toy car (similar to the one shown below) that Zach could sit on to push himself around. As soon as he saw the car in the shop his face lit up with excitement and he started to point to the car that he liked. We had one little excited boy on our hands and my daughter bought the car.

Car

With the car purchased and gift wrapped by the shop, my daughter headed home and I went back to the hotel with my wife. Later we went to their flat in the hope of seeing Zach with his new car. Unfortunately this wasn’t to be. You see a friend had seen my daughter struggling home with shopping and stopped to give a lift. When they arrived home they unloaded the shopping and started to carry it into their flat. Struggling with a bulky pram, a child and shopping, they couldn’t carry everything at once so left some things outside. It was at this point that my grandson’s first birthday present went missing.

After a lot of hunting around they placed a notice on the entrance door to the flats in the hope that the person who took the present would see and return it. The letter was from Zach and simply read that he had lost his first birthday present and if someone had taken this for safe keeping could the let his daddy know as he wanted to play with it.

This morning the letter has gone. In its place was an anonymous reply wishing him a happy birthday and enclosing 50 Euros. It went on to say that if he didn’t find his car they hoped this would help him to replace it

The generosity of people never fails to amaze me.

Friday Image No. 63

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West Burton Falls, Yorkshire Dales. Olympus EM5 converted for Infrared
West Burton Falls, Yorkshire Dales. Olympus EM5 converted for Infrared

This is West Burton Falls in the Yorkshire Dales, England. It’s the first time I had visited the location and the conditions were far from perfect. Rather than a lovely velvet trickle of water over the falls it was a gushing torrent with a grey overcast sky. I did shoot a number of colour images but wondered what it would look like shot in Infrared. I really like the effect.

Have a great weekend everyone.

New Brush in Lightroom 6

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Liverpool Skyline. The new Brush tool was helpful in selectively darkening the sky whilst using a Gradient Filter.
Liverpool Skyline. The new Brush tool was helpful in selectively darkening the sky whilst using a Gradient Filter.

I recently published a Friday Image and mentioned that I had found a new brush tool in the Lightroom filters. My intention was to post a blog explaining a little bit more but the lack of time has prevented me from doing so. That is until now.

The new brush is available with any of the Filter tools (Graduated or Radial) and can be seen on the following screenshot.

Location of the new Brush Tool
Location of the new Brush Tool

It becomes available the moment you draw a graduated or radial filter on your image or select one that already exists. Click on the Brush heading and the brush settings appear at the bottom of the filter panel.

New Brushes
New Brushes

You might well recognise these settings as they are identical to the Adjustment Brush tool. You have two regular painting brushes and an Erase brush. The regular brushes allow you to expand the filter effects to other areas of the image whilst the Erase brush allows you to remove the filter effect from an area.

As a Landscape Photographer, the best use I have found for these so far is where I am using the Graduated filter to darken a sky but there are elements above the horizon which are also adjusted. Previously I would need to drop out of the Gradient filter and use the Adjustment Brush to lighten these areas. Now I can use the Erase brush to stop the effect from being applied in the first place.

One other tip for using the brush tool with the Gradient or Radial filter is to ensure you check the “Show Selected Mask Overlay” option at the bottom of the screen.

Selecting to view the mask
Selecting to view the mask

This displays a red mask which allows you to see the changes you make to the mask as you use the brushes.

If anyone comes up with other useful ways to use this feature I would be interested to hear.

Canon G7X Field Report

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Waterfall at Keld in the Yorkshire Dales. Olympus EM5 and Lee 6 stop ND Filter
Waterfall at Keld in the Yorkshire Dales. Olympus EM5 and Lee 6 stop ND Filter

Yesterday I met up with a friend for some well-deserved landscape photography. We had intended to visit Anglesey but the weather forecast was dreadful and so decided to visit Yorkshire instead. It was also a useful test of my new G7X to see how it faired in the field, especially as the Lensmate filter adapter had arrived from the US.

The Lensmate adapter was very easy to fit and whilst it’s made of plastic and feels a little flimsy, it just works well. I was able to screw in my Lee Seven 5 filter rings and use the same filter system as I use with my Micro 43 kit. The profile of the Lensmate is very thin which allows the camera to still fit in a pocket.

As the weather wasn’t really great for photography (damp and overcast) I spent most of my time shooting long exposures. For this I was using the Lee Little Stopper 6 stop Neutral Density filter. The image at the top of this post was shot using the filter attached to the EM5. Using it with the G7X I noticed a few things some of which I’m not too happy about.

The first thing was that no long exposure noise reduction. I went all thought the menus and settings but I couldn’t any settings and neither was it being performed automatically. Having said this, the results don’t appear to be suffering from long exposure noise.

The second thing I noticed was that when in aperture priority mode the longest shutter speed is just 1”. No problem really as I could switch to Manual Mode which allowed much longer shutter speeds, but it is a basic omission.

The third thing I noticed is that the display on the back of the camera could see through the 6 stop ND filter very clearly and which made composition much easier than with the EM5. The EM5 seems to struggle a little with these very dark filter.

The fourth thing that I noticed and which is something that I’m not happy about is that light is leaking into the camera from the lens barrel. Take a look at the following filter.

Light leaks on the Canon G7X, evident in long exposures
Light leaks on the Canon G7X, evident in long exposures

This is light leaking in where the two parts of the lens barrel join which allows the lens to extend and retract. The red in the image is the reflection from my red jacket which is reflecting off the back of the filter attached from the camera. I found that I was able to block it if I wrapped the lens barrel in a cloth. The other alternative was if I zoomed in as the problem was only really evident at wider focal lengths. I will be contacting Canon to see what they have to say about the problem.

Despite this problem, the camera seemed to perform well and the image quality was good. I will be posting something further about this soon.

Friday Image No. 62

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Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia

This week’s Friday image is one from my trip last year to Bolivia. It appears that I am running out of interesting images to share as well as being short of time. I don’t know what’s happening to me at the moment. I didn’t even manage to post the blog about the new Lightroom Brush I mentioned last week. I promise to try harder.

Have a great weekend everyone.