Friday Image No. 169


Formby Beach at Sunset
Formby Beach at Sunset. Captured using a Fuji X-T2. Please see text for full details.

It’s felt like an eternity since I witnessed a good sunset or sunrise. But last weekend, I made a trip over to Formby with a friend and it was as if everything just fell into place.

The day had been a little frustrating, alternating between too much cloud and not enough. As we sat on a rock, about an hour from sunset the sky was crystal clear. I didn’t hold out much hope of a sunset. Then, the clouds seemed to change direction and a large formation drifted slowly across the sky. It didn’t seem to be moving fast enough to reach the sun in time. But it did, and the scene was glorious.

I captured this frame on the Fuji X-T2 with a 10-24 lens. I had the camera mounted on a tripod which was set quite low, probably about two feet from the ground. I also got to use my new Kase Wolverine Reverse Grad filter which made an amazing difference to the scene. I’m a complete convert after one outing – using this filter on sunsets is amazing. The camera was set to ISO200 and the aperture stopped down to f/13.0. I did this primarily to create a star effect around the sun. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for this frame as the sun had dipped just that little too low.

I should also say that I didn’t process this RAW file in Lightroom either. I opted instead for Capture One Pro 11, which seems to have added a remarkable amount of subtle colour detail into the clouds. Lightroom in comparison rendered most of the cloud above the sun as a monotone mass of colour. In Capture One the cloud looks like more like flames. I’m going to run a few more trials on Capture One as the image quality appears much better than a couple of versions back, especially with the Fuji RAW files.

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

10 thoughts on “Friday Image No. 169

  1. Lovely shot. Am interested in the new filters-. What strength did you use? I’m wondering if I can get away with a middle strength one rather than buying the full range given the cost.
    Cheers (and still enjoying the blog!)

    1. Sorry for the slow reply but I’ve had some computer issues to deal with.

      The filter is the 0.9 reverse grad. This gives a 3 stop reduction on the horizon going to 2 stops in the sky above this.

      I also have a 1.2 but haven’t yet needed to use it. The 0.9 seems pretty good as an all rounder. If you have a 1 stop hard nd you could always combine it with the 0.9 for a stronger effect.

      Let me know if you have any questions.

  2. Really beautiful image! I have a NISI Reverse Grad Filter that I always mean to take out and use but somehow rarely do so. This will definitely be my motivation. Thanks for the great description of your workflow as well! I was wondering how you approach setting your focus and metering during shots such as these. Thanks once again.

    1. Thanks, I’m pleased you like it. Definitely use your reverse grad, mine has made a world of difference for shots like this. I’m quite low for this shot and the foreground is very near to the camera. I took a few test shots with the point offocus around 10 feet away. I then checked to see the foreground was sharp, including the post. That’s my priority as I can stand some of the distant objects being soft (but they weren’t). As for metering, I get the grad in position and then use the exposure composition dial until the histogram looks good. I try to ensure there is detail in the shadows and even overexpose a little. It’s easy to darken the scene later in post processing to emphasise its a sunset.

  3. Hello, Robin. You made great use of the reverse grad filter, the balance between sky and reflections is perfect. Reflections are outstanding, by the way.
    Have you tried reverse grads on your Sony RX10? I have a RX10, and the transition of grad filters became very soft due to the smaller sensor, however pretty usabe in many situations. I’d like to know how the reverse grad would perform on that little camera. Thank you very much. Greetings from Brazil (still raining over here).

    1. Hi Rodrigo, I haven’t shot any sunsets or sunrises with the Reverse ND Grad but I have just tried it on my RX10 against a light coloured wall. It’s fine and looks identical to my full frame Sony when both are used at 24mm focal length. I have heard this about small sensor cameras before and believed it myself, but I now don’t think it’s correct. What I think does matter is the size of the front element in the lens and the focal length used.

      Imagine two cameras with the same size sensor. Both have a 24mm lens attached but one lens has a front element with 40mm diameter whilst the other is 80mm. Now place a filter on each of the lenses. The smaller lens may not cover the graduate transition whilst the larger lens covers it easily. If you take a picture of this the two will be different. Change the focal length and you change the field of view which will have an effect on the image. But if you change the sensor size, the lenses you use still create an image circle that “just covers” the sensor. Changing the sensor size will change the effective focal length but if the effective focal lengths are the same, the filters should appear the same.

      Looking at the front element of my 24mm Canon lens (on the Sony A7R) it’s similar in size to the front element of the RX10 which had an effective focal length of 24mm. I think this is why the two images appear the same. Hope this makes some sense.

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