The Final Friday Image


The Peak District at sunset. Nikon D800, 24-120 lens at 75mm, ISO100, 1/5″ at f/16.0. Tripod and soft ND grad filter.

Yesterday I received an email that’s made me question this blog (again).

For a long time, I have run a separate blog and website. Originally because the website hosting company I used was useless; having a separateblog allowed me to tell people when the website was down. Today my hostingcompany is excellent, the website stable (fingers crossed) and having a separateblog seems to confuse people. But what’s pushed me into this decision is thenews that features I use are no longer available. To access these features, Ineed to upgrade to another plan that’s almost 3 times the price.

And so, I’ve made my decision. This will be the final blog post of this site. I will though keep the site online as there’s a lot of material gone into it over the years.

Going forward I will continue blogging but on my Lenscraft website. I hope you will join me there and subscribe to my monthly newsletter if you haven’t already.

As for the final image, I shot this on Monday, in the Peak District. I think it’s a fitting final image to close the blog.

I hope you like this, have a great weekend and continue to enjoy your photography.

Friday Image No.202


Today I was going to share an image of the Franz Joseph Glacier. But having published two mountain images in the past two weeks I decided I wanted a change. Looking through my recent collection of images from New Zealand I picked this image from Punakaiki with its famous pancake rocks.

Fuji X-T2, 10-24 lens, ISO200, f/11.0 at 1/13″

I just finished reprocessing it and I’m very happy with the results. When I say reprocessing, it’s because this is my second attempt at the image. The reason I decided to do this is that I just finished watching a video on YouTube from Glyn Dewis in which he discusses Frequency Separation. Glyn’s a brilliant portrait photographer and if you want to view the video, you’ll find it on his channel here.

https://www.youtube.com/user/GlynDewis/videos

My version of frequency separation is a little more complex and uses a Photoshop Extension Panel called “Wow! Frequency Equalizer Pro”.Interestingly I just reviewed their Masking Panel on my YouTube Channel the other day. If you want to simplify Luminosity Masking, you should watch my video.

I captured the image using a Fuji X-T2 and Fuji 10-24mm at16mm. The camera was tripod mounted and I used a 3 stop Kase Soft ND Grad filter angled over the sky and sea.

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

Friday Image No.201


iew from the Hooker Valley trail, New Zealand
View from the Hooker Valley trail, New Zealand. See text for camera settings and processing.

Last week I shared the first image from my New Zealand trip.It was a mountain scene from a trek I did along the Hooker Valley. For today’s Fridayimage I want to share another scene from the same trail. In all honesty, Icould probably share 100 images from that trail. Now that I’m semi recoveredfrom the journey, I’m seeing lots of shots I took that I really like.

This one in particular took me by surprise as I don’t recall taking it. I don’t know about you, but I tend to have a very good memory for each of the shot I take, even over a couple of years. I can’t usually recall them with crystal clarity or recognise them when I see them. That’s not the case with this one so I suspect it was a grab shot.

It’s taken using the Fuji X-T2 and a 55-200mm lens. The lens is set to 55mm and the camera was handheld. With the aperture at f/11.0 and using ISO200, I achieved a shutter speed of 1/680” which is more than fast enough to handhold. I didn’t use any filters either and this isn’t a multiple exposure, just a single RAW file.

In terms of post-capture processing, I did most of the work in Photoshop using curves and luminosity masks. I did take the image into On1Photo RAW 2019 (if you haven’t seen my review, here’s a link) but then applied the adjustments through a luminosity mask to target the mid tones. To finish I applied dodging and burning to lighten the cloud and darken the rocks in the bottom third of the frame.

I hope you like the photo and have a great weekend.

Friday Image No.200


Mount Sefton from the Hooker Valley trail, New Zealand
Mount Sefton from the Hooker Valley trail, New Zealand. Fuji X-T2 with Fuji 18-135 lens at 46mm. ISO200, 1/640″ at f/11. Handheld.

My last post was back at the end of September. At the time I said I was taking a few weeks out but didn’t explain why. Now that I’m back I can share that I have been down in New Zealand which is where I captured the above image. I’m not going to say too much as I’m suffering from jet lag and finding it hard to be coherent.

For those of you who don’t like black and white, here is the colour version prior to conversion.

New Zealand, Hooker Valley. Processing with Nik Color Efex Pro (Pro Contrast & Glamour Glow filters).

Personally, I like the colour version best. I would be interested to hear what others think.

I hope you like both images and have a great weekend.

Friday Image No.199


Langdale Valley, The Lake District, Cumbria
Langdale Valley, The Lake District, Cumbria. Nikon D800, 24-120mm lens at 35mm. ISO100, 1/10″ at f/18.0. Kase Wolverine 0.6 ND Grad, Polarising Filter. Tripod Mounted.

Did all you Fuji users see it?

Phase One released a version of Capture One exclusively for the Fuji. You won’t though be able to use it with all your RAW files unless you upgrade to the full version. Never the less, this is an excellent piece of software and best of all, it’s free.

If you missed the announcement, here’s a link to the webpage.

https://www.phaseone.com/en/Capture-One/Capture-One-Fujifilm.aspx

I’ve been trying out the software on my Mac and I’m very impressed by the results. Yesterday I posted a video to Youtube comparing RAW Converters when processing Fuji RAW files

I’ll definitely be including Capture One in a future comparison.

Now I also need to make you aware that I’m not going to be posting updates to this blog for the next couple of months due to other commitments. I’m still contactable by email and will respond to comments where possible, I just won’t be posting new images for a few weeks. Hopefully you will still be around once I’m able to restart activities.

Until then, here is the final Friday Image. I hope you enjoy it and have a great weekend.

Friday Image No. 198


Fuji X-T1 with 10-24mm lens. ISO200, 1/10" at f/8.0. 0.6 ND Grad filter. Tripod mounted.
Fuji X-T1 with 10-24mm lens. ISO200, 1/10″ at f/8.0. 0.6 ND Grad filter. Tripod mounted.

I’m going to start by apologising for showing this image. I have shown it in the past, well a similar one anyway. The reason I’m sharing it again is that I’ve been experimenting further with Alien Skin Exposure X4.

I shot this image back in 2016 using a Fuji X-T1. At the time I recognised the potential of the Fuji system but couldn’t achieve a good conversion of the RAW files using Lightroom or Photoshop. I almost gave up on the Fuji entirely but decided to try the X-T2 because I liked using the camera so much. The X-T1 went back as a trade in and I stuck with the X-T2 which is now my main camera.

Although I deleted most of the images shot with the X-T1, I did keep a few of the RAW files. I thought that I would keep these to test RAW converters in the future. That’s why I’m sharing this image now as I processed it using Exposure X4 and I’ve very happy with the results. When I processed this originally using Lightroom, the trees had a terrible wiggly pattern and it lost the fine details. Using Exposure X4 the image is full of detail and very sharp. It’s also made a great job of recovering the shadows in the image.

I think when I have some time I’m going to do a review of a few popular RAW converters processing Fuji RAW files. I think it will make for an interesting experiment.

If you haven’t seen my latest video showing my recommended Exposure workflow, you can watch it on Youtube.

Have a great weekend.

Exposure X4 Launches & YouTube


Yew Tree Tarn, The Lake District. Nikon D800, 24-120mm Nikon lens at 70mm, ISO100, 1/6″ at f/9.0

Exposure from Alien Skin is one of my long-time favourite processing tools and yesterday they launched Exposure X4. I’ve already got my upgrade and I can see a few enhancements and new tools. You can find out more about the enhancements on the Alien Skin website where you will also find a free trial version to download.

Despite the new tools and features, I’m not really blown away by any of them and I didn’t know if they justified the price of the upgrade. The Smart Collections is a nice addition and I can see Exposure is becoming more of a Lightroom replacement, but it’s not exciting me. Then I found the exception which is hard to quantify; Alien Skin has just described it as RAW processing enhancements.

Having processed the shot you see above with the software I thought that’s not bad. The RAW file came from a Nikon D800, so I thought I would try some RAW files from the Fuji. And that’s when I the results stopped me dead. The RAW conversions are incredibly clean. There isn’t a wiggly worm pattern anywhere to be seen and the detail is incredible. Even RAW files shot with the 18-135 lens look amazingly sharp and detailed.

Fuji X-T2 with 18-135 lens at 135mm. ISO400, 1/45″ at f/11.0. Capture sharpening only applied as part of processing in Alien Skin Exposure X4.

If you’re a Fuji RAW file shooter, do look at the trial version of Exposure. I would be interested to know if others also like the results.

Tomorrows YouTube Video

To celebrate Exposure X4’s launch I decided to answer the question I’m often asked about Exposure “what’s a good workflow”. The video will demonstrate this using Exposure X4 and goes live around 15:30 UK time.

Here’s the link to my YouTube Channel if you haven’t already subscribed.

Making Mirrorless Work

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