Friday Image

Friday Image No. 48

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Sony RX10, ISO80, f/5.6, 1/320"
Sony RX10, ISO80, f/5.6, 1/320″
Converted in Alien Skin Exposure 7
Converted in Alien Nik Silver Efex
Converted with Nik Silver Efex
Converted with Alien Skin Exposure 7

This week’s Friday image comes from my recent trip to the UK Lake District. I post this not because it’s a great image but because I started playing around with the RX10 image to see how much detail I could pull out of the image and also how much I could enlarge it by. The results have surprised me but I will save them for another time.

In the course of this processing “play time” I applied Topaz Detail to emphasise the detail in the grass and rocks. It made an amazing difference to the image detail but it also allowed me to make some adjustments to the colour that really lifted the image. I then went on to convert the image to black and white, first using Alien Skin Exposure 7 and the my old favourite, Nik Silver Efex Pro. Sometimes it just great to play with some of the wonderful software tools we now have.

I hope you like the images and have a great weekend everyone.

Friday Image No. 47

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Olympus EM5 and a misty day in the Lakes
Olympus EM5 and a misty day in the Lakes

It seems like ages since I have been able to post a Friday Image as there has always been something that got in the way. Hopefully things are improving after all the website issues. I also promise to catch up with the backlog of email queries people have been sending me but please be patient and I will be in touch. I do like to respond to everyone but it does take quite a bit of time.

I hope you like the image and have a great weekend everyone.

Running the Lenscraft Website

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Win Hill, The Peak District
Win Hill in the Peak District, Sony RX10, f/5.0, 1/100″

Firstly an apology for not posting a Friday image yesterday but there is a very good reason. Over this past week I have been hit by all sorts of broadband problems. I don’t know if it’s related to the snow and cold weather but I lost my connection on Thursday and have only just recovered it. During this time I have been reduced to trying to run things with my mobile phone but this has also been frustrated by the adverse weather.

Then today I received a spam email which appeared to come from my email account “robin@lenscraft.co.uk”. With a little investigation I could see this was a spoof email but it looked like it was me sending it.

This as you can imagine made me nervous. In fact it made me very nervous as earlier in the week I was receiving an increasing number of new subscribers coming from Hungary and Russia which were clear automated attacks from robots. To counter this I introduced a CAPTCHA code to the registration screen so that any registration would need to come from a person who is able to read and enter the CAPTCHA code. This reduced the number of fake registrations but a few are still coming in.

So, I have tightened up all the security on the Lenscraft website. I’m not going to list the steps here in case someone with malicious intent can use them but I will say that the entire site now uses SSL with 256bit encryption. If you now browse over to the Lenscraft site you will see in the address window of your browser that you are being served by https:// rather than the standard http:// server. There may be a few gremlins over the next 24 hours whilst the DNS changes propagate around the internet but then everything should be stable and secure.

If you haven’t understood all the technical mumbo jumbo I have spouted above a rough translation is that the Lenscraft site is now as secure as I can make it. Oh yes, I also made a few performance enhancements so everything should be even faster than before.

As for the image, this is another RX10 image which I captured on my walk last weekend. Everything somehow seemed much easier back then.

Friday Image No. 46

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Tree in the Lake District. Olympus EM5 ISO200, f/7.1, 1/125", 28mm
Tree in the Lake District. Olympus EM5 ISO200, f/7.1, 1/125″, 28mm

It’s a very quick post for this week’s Friday image. That’s because I have only just got home and I need to pack for a trip to the Lake District tomorrow. Hopefully I can take advantage of the forecast snow.

I wasn’t too sure which image to post so I thought I would resort to another from my last trip to the lakes. I was browsing through and noticed this one I had shot. There was just something that I liked about this tree. I hope you do too.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Friday Image No. 45

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Loughrigg Tarn, The Lake District.
Loughrigg Tarn, The Lake District.

This week I want to share with you another image from my recent trip to the Lakes. At the time this was my favourite although this feeling is now fading. I often find this happens. What appeared to be a great/favourite image immediately after a trip is replaced by a different favourite as the memory of the trip fades.

This image is a stitch of 4 shots from the Olympus OMD EM5 with the Olympus 12-40 lens set to 12mm. Stitching was done in Photoshop using the cylindrical stitching mode. I find this often produces the least distortion when you haven’t used a panoramic set up. But it then leaves you with the problem of levelling everything up and filling in the corners of the image.

This image was no different so I used my usual technique of applying a Warp Transform followed by cropping the image to size. After that it was down to processing with Photoshop and the Nik Collection tools.

I liked the image after the shoot and I still do. My feeling now is that I might have more subtle and pleasing images if I spend some time reviewing the shoot. I will probably get around to that in June if I’m lucky.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the image and have a great weekend.

Friday Image No. 45

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Loughrigg Tarn, The Lake District. Olympus EM5, 12-40mm lens. F/8.0 1/80 second
Loughrigg Tarn, The Lake District. Olympus EM5, 12-40mm lens. F/8.0 1/80 second

In my previous post I mentioned how I had been up to the Lake District with a friend for an early morning shoot. This image was from the end of the day when amazingly the weather was still working in our favour.

I love fog and mist. I think it can transform locations when the conditions and lighting are good. It’s still hard to believe that the conditions we had on this day were so ideal.

Hope you like the picture and have a great weekend everyone.

Friday Image No. 44

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View from Acontango, Bolivia
View from Acontango, Bolivia

Yet another image from my trip to Bolivia. This time the view across the mountains as we climbed Acontango. The original image is very blue despite being early in the morning, due to the altitude. This wasn’t a problem as I knew I could make this work for me in the conversion to black and white. The conversion was done using Nik Silver Efex pro having first been sure to remove excess noise in Nik Dfine. The image was also corrected using Piccure+ before processing in Silver Efex in order to produce higher quality edges on the mountains.

Hope you like the picture and have a great weekend everyone.

Friday Image No. 43

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Olympus EM5 12-40mm lens at 16mm, ISO200 1/1250" at f/7.1
Olympus EM5 12-40mm lens at 16mm, ISO200 1/1250″ (that’s not a typo) at f/7.1

Sometimes the power of nature just stops you in your tracks. This is another image from my recent trip to Bolivia. We were crossing a huge dried up salt lake surrounded by mountains when we noticed a storm cell forming. As we drove on the sky became more and more ominous but the storm was localised over one of the mountains. This was such an amazing site that we had to pull over and admire it. Even our guides were captivated by the scale and power of scene.

Hope you like the picture and have a great weekend everyone.

Friday image No.042

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New Brighton Lighthouse

I always promise myself that when I go out on a day’s shoot that I will wait for a while before I publish any images. I find that it’s this distance from the days shooting that allows you to appreciate which images are the best. That way you avoid being caught up in the emotion of the day and are not influenced by your expectations.

Then again I’m really impatient and some images just scream share me. Here’s one from last weekend. This was shot at New Brighton. It now quite a different place to that that Martin Parr captured.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Friday image No.041

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Rough Seas. Olympus EM5. See text for details of settings.

I did wonder whether to post this shot or not. If you look hard at the image you find it feels cluttered. It isn’t a great composition (because there wasn’t much to compose). It’s also a grab shot.

You see I shot this whilst spending ages fighting with the Nikon D800 on a tripod. I couldn’t get into position on very slippery seaweed covered rocks. In the end, in total frustration I fired off this shot with the Olympus EM5 which was over my shoulder.

You shouldn’t be able to handhold shots like this at sunset, but you can with the EM5. The base ISO is 200 (as used here). The lens is the superb Olympus 12-40 f/2.8 set at 12mm. The aperture was f/4.0 giving a shutter speed of 1/60″. And yes, it is sharp and has sufficient depth of field. Try that with a full frame camera.

I should also add that I used a 0.6 (2 stop) neutral density graduated filter on the sky. It was one of the Lee Seven 5 series which I am very impressed with.

Now as cluttered as the scene is, it also conveys the feeling of a stormy sea well. It also has some great light on the water. It’s this feeling of stormy light that comes across to me every time I look at the image. So whilst it may not be an accomplished photographic composition I think the image works well because it has emotion – at least for me.

Have a great weekend everyone.