The Sun is Out

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Olympus EM5 Infrared conversion, 9-18mm Olympus lens. Post processing in Photoshop and Nik Silver Efex.
Olympus EM5 Infrared conversion, 9-18mm Olympus lens. Post processing in Photoshop and Nik Silver Efex.

The sun is out at last which means it’s no good for Landscape Photography. But it is good for Infrared Landscape Photography. Yesterday I went up to the Yorkshire Dales in order to try out my new Olympus EM5 which I had converted to Infrared.

The conversion was completed by ProTech in the UK and used a 665nm filter. My other camera is a Panasonic GX1 with a 720nm filter and was converted by ACS. If you are wondering why I didn’t use ACS again, it’s not because they did a bad job it just it took them a couple of months. A friend had used ProTech and was very pleased with the service. So too am I.

The results from the EM5 are just as good as I hoped. Whilst I am still finding my way with the 665nm filter in terms of post processing, it does look quite promising. Here is a first image from the top of Malham Cove. I hope you like it.

Friday Image No. 51

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Ulswater, Cumbria. Olympus EM5 + 9-18 Olympus lens. f/9.0, 1.3" at ISO200.
Ulswater, Cumbria. Olympus EM5 + 9-18 Olympus lens. f/9.0, 1.3″ at ISO200.

I don’t mind admitting that I struggled to find a Friday image to post today. In the end I had to go back to the end of December when I visited the Lakes. The weather seems to have been terrible of late and it’s getting pretty depressing. It’s made all the worse knowing that I have a newly Infrared converted EM5 and also 12 new rolls of Infrared film for the XPan. I need some sun.

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

My Infrared Conversion Arrives

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Wastwater in the Lake Distric. 4 images on a GX1 Infrared camera.
Wastwater in the Lake Distric. 4 image stitch on a GX1 Infrared camera.

A couple of weeks back I posted a blog about how I wanted to buy a second EM5 and get it converted to Infrared. Whilst the Infrared GX1 is nice I felt that a second converted EM5 body would fit better with my kit. That way there are less spare batteries and chargers to carry. It’s also easier to remember the menu settings.

Well the conversion is now back with me. ProTech who carried this out had a great service. They spoke to me about the conversion and turned it round in 2 weeks. Although initially I was going to convert to a 720nm filter, I woke up the morning after posting the camera convinced that this was the wrong decision and I switch to a 665nm filter. I don’t know why I changed my mind but it felt right.

All I need now is for it to stop raining and for the sun to come out. Infrared just doesn’t work well without the sun.

I will report back on the performance of the new camera when the weather picks up.

Perfect Prints Every Time – New Book

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Perfect Prints Every Time
Perfect Prints Every Time

I receive a lot of mail from photographers struggling to print their photographs on inkjet printers. It’s usually things such as there’s a colour cast or the print doesn’t look like the image on screen. Sometimes it’s a little more serious with complaints such as the colours and blacks are completely off.

Many people who contact me seem to be ready to throw in the towel and send their images to someone else to be printed. Sometimes they have even done this and the results have been disappointing.

I have written and posted articles on my Lenscraft website from time to time in an effort to help but people still experience problems. It’s for this reason that I decided to put pen to paper (so to speak) and develop a new book. It’s called Perfect Prints Every Time and it helps you do pretty much what the title suggests.

You can find out more on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. It’s also available on all other Amazon websites but there are too many for me to list. For £2.00 or $2.99 it’s less than the price of a magazine and should save you much more in wasted time, ink and paper.

Friday Image No. 050

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This is North Wales. Nikon D800. Processing in Lightroom and Topaz Detail.
This is North Wales. Nikon D800. Processing in Lightroom and Topaz Detail.

Regular readers of this blog may well remember my experiment with the Nikon D800 which I eventually sold. At the time I had a number of outings where I struggled to get the best out of the camera. Isn’t it interesting how time and distance from an event help change your perception.

Don’t worry, I am not about to reverse my decision but some of the images that I shot now appeal to me. I did post an image very similar to this one when I was trying to compare the D800 to the EM5. At the time I didn’t spend a great deal of time looking through the images but now I have almost 6 months distance to the shoot, I managed to see this one. The D800 RAW file is pretty dull and lifeless but when you start processing it the image comes to life.

I really like this shot now and think it has a rather painterly feel to it.

Hmm! Did I act too quickly?

A Little Crazy

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Wells Cathedral, XPan with 45mm lens and Kodak TMAX400
Wells Cathedral, XPan with 45mm lens and Kodak TMAX400

I have done something a little crazy. Since talking to my friend about scanning and having done a few scans myself recently, I have had the bug to shoot some film again. In particular I want to shoot Infrared but I might even start shooting some slide film again. Whilst I have around 50 rolls of Fuji Velvia in the Freezer and a similar amount of B&W negative film, I only had 3 rolls of Infrared.

You probably won’t have noticed but Infrared film is in fairly short supply these days. I did finally find and purchase 12 rolls but in doing so I also spotted a 30mm XPan lens for sale second hand. This is a lens that I have longed for ever since I bought my XPan and it has reached almost mythical levels amongst XPan users. I don’t know what came over me but I bought it.

So that’s the proceeds of the D800 sale spent.

Hybrid Workflow

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This is the XPan Neg that I was using for the test scans.
This is the XPan Neg that I was using for the test scans.

On a recent photo outing with a friend we got talking about film photography. He had recent returned to film photography (but also uses a digital camera) and was now using a hybrid workflow with his film. This involved shooting film which he then scanned using an Epson V700 flatbed scanner. The resulting scans were then processed using Lightroom and Photoshop before printing.

Having looked at a number of his prints at sizes up to A2, I had to admit they were fantastic. The images whilst not as sharp as digital looked somehow more lifelike. They seemed to pop off the paper and have a depth to them. Most of all the colours were amazing.

The result of this is that I ended up digging out some old XPan B&W negatives and scanning them using my V700. I had always been a little underwhelmed by the results with the scans looking too soft. This time I changed my workflow to produce a RAW file which I then processed using Adobe Camera RAW. The image sharpened up well but not quite as well as I wanted so I decided to throw in a little grain. When I did this it’s as though the image just snapped into focus.

If you want to know more about the workflow and tools I used you can find a tutorial on my Lenscraft website (https://www.lenscraft.co.uk/members-area/member-tutorials/).