All posts by rnwhalley

Sunrise at Higger Tor

Rocks on Higger Tor at sunrise, The Peak District. Fuji X-T3. See text for technical details/settings.

Yesterday morning I managed to drag myself out of bed at 05:00am and drove over to the Peak District. I had been watching the weather for weeks waiting for the right conditions. It had been warm during the day but then the temperature was forecast to drop overnight, with only thin cloud cover and no wind for the next morning. The conditions were perfect for Landscape Photography and all being well there would  be mist/fog in the Peak District.

As I drove past Ladybower on my way to Higger Tor I ran into a few fog banks. I could also see the mist rising off the surface of the reservoir. As I passed the fishery, the high cloud was turning pink and reflecting on the calm surface of the water. I decided to stop and shoot a couple of frames, but I’ll save that for another time once I’ve processed them properly.

When I arrived at Higger Tor, the sunrise was in full swing and unfortunately, I think I missed the best of it having stopped at Ladybower. This shot was my second frame, the first being a reference shot to check the camera setup. As the sun was now just above the horizon and starting to catch the ground, I found this position where I could capture the light on the rocks and still retain a good sky.

Capturing a good shot was relatively easy as the sun wasn’t in the frame, but I still needed to use a ND Grad filter on the sky. Without it the ground and rocks just became too dark. I also took the opportunity to shoot the image with exposure bracketing. This would give me 5 frames from which I could select the best exposure to work with and if necessary, do some exposure blending.

In the end, the best image was a single exposure without any exposure compensation. This had a nice sky, but the rocks were a little too dark. I was able to correct this during my RAW conversion in Capture One. I’m now a huge fan of Capture One for processing the Fuji RAW files and swear by it.

Following RAW conversion, I applied additional adjustment using the Nik Collection and a little Dodging and Burning in Photoshop.

I shot the image using a Fuji X-T3 and the newly released Fuji 16-80 lens. This gives a focal range of 24-120 in full frame terms which is very useful. I like the lens and have a few observations to make in a future article. I had the camera set to ISO160 which is the base ISO. The aperture was f/11.0 which gave a shutter speed of 0.7”. I had the camera mounted on a tripod for this and used a Kase 0.6 (2 stop) hard ND grad on the sky.

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

Instagram and Friday Image No.231

Redwood trees in Whakarewarewa Forest near to Rotorua, New Zealand. Fuji X-T2, 18-135 lens, ISO1600, 1/8″ @ f/7.1.

I’ve had an Instagram account since early 2012 but never really bothered with it. In fact, the only reason I signed up was that I liked some of the filter effects. Recently though I’ve started sharing some of my photos on Instagram and I’m enjoying it more than I thought; you’ll find me on there as lenscraftphotos.

I’ve started to post something most weekdays (unless I’m snowed under with work), which is a lot better than I ever managed on Flickr. But what I really like is that it’s prompting me to look through my older photos to find and reprocess shots I like. This image of sun peeping through the trunks of redwood trees in Whakarewarewa Forest is a good example.

I shot this handheld with a Fuji X-T2 and Fuji 18-135 lens, which you can read about in my Lenscraft review. It was quite dark in the forest which forced me to shoot at ISO1600 to achieve a 1/8” shutter speed. That’s about the limit of what I could handhold. I also needed the aperture set to f/7.1 and underexposed by 1/3 stop. These settings allowed me to achieve a steady shot with the necessary depth of field.

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

Friday Image No.230

Ladybower Reservoir, Peak District. Fuji X-T3, Fuji 55-200mm lens, ISO160, 1/20″ at f/13.0. Kase 0.9 ND Grad (soft) filter on the sky. Tripod mounted.

It’s been a good year for shooting in the Peak District. If I look back a few years, I almost never ventured into the Peaks. Instead, I preferred to make a 2 hour drive up the motorway to the Lake District. These days I would much rather drive 45 minutes to locations like this. Ladybower reservoir.

My original intention in visiting this spot was to shoot the heather in the evening sun. But as the sun became lower the light on the distant water and hillside caught my attention. I couldn’t resist popping the 55-200 lens on the Fuji X-T3 and taking a shot.

Peak District Processing Miniseries

If you haven’t already watched these, I’ve now produced two sets of videos demonstrating my photo editing workflow. Both use images shot in the Peak District and I’ve now posted these to my website in short articles.

Series 1 – Bamford Edge Heather (Capture One, Photoshop and the Nik Collection)

Series 2 – Peak District Millstones (Affinity Photo and Nik Silver Efex Pro)

I hope you like the video and image.

Have a great weekend.

Friday Image No. 229

Curbar Edge after sunset, Peak District. Fuji X-T3, Samyang 12mm lens, ISO160, 2.1″ at f/8.0. 0.9 Soft ND Grad filter and tripod.

It’s Friday again and I’ve spent the entire week trying to layout the print version of my latest book. The desktop publishing software I’m using launched only recently and I’m hitting quite a few bugs. Given how frustrating this is I decided to stop to share an image instead.

I shot this last weekend at Curbar Edge in the Peak District and there are a few points I want to highlight:

  1. This is around 15 minutes after sunset, which is fast becoming my favourite time. The bright white dot in the sky is the moon. There’s something very nice about the light after sunset.
  2. The sun set immediately behind me which dramatically reduced the dynamic range of the scene. Even then I used a 0.9 (3 stop) Soft ND Grad filter on the sky.
  3. The heather in the scene looks great but it’s dead. The reason it appears pink is because of the magenta colour of the light. That’s what happens shortly after sunset when you place the sun behind you.

The key takeaway for me from this image is that it pays to understand how light changes depending on the time of day and angle. It would have been all too easy to have stopped shooting after sunset, or even have faced the wrong direction.

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

New Photo Editing Mini-Series

Finished example image from my latest YouTube Photo Editing Mini-Series. Peak District Millstones. Click the image to enlarge.

Due to the popularity of my first photo editing mini-series on YouTube, I’m doing a second. This time I’m processing the image you see above.

I’ve already published the first two videos:

  1. Image Assessment https://youtu.be/NCvT71cgxO8
  2. RAW Conversion (using Affinity Photo) https://youtu.be/MkSl1Rz3ENM

The other two videos in the series will follow next week.

If you missed the first mini-series, I’ve grouped and published them as a tutorial on my Lenscraft website (https://lenscraft.co.uk/photo-editing-tutorials/post-processing-landscape-photography-workflow/).

I hope you enjoy these.

Friday Image No.228

I did think about using the image above as the Friday image but decided not to. I cover the above image in the video and wanted to include a different image here.

Peak District hillside. Fuji X-T3 and 55-200 lens. Click the image to enlarge.

This is from a recent trip to the Peak District. I captured it around 40 minutes before sunset when the sun was low and the light warm. What I like, besides the lovely warm light is the contrast between the “colder” background hill and the “warmer” foreground. It’s also nice the way the solitary barn in the field acts as a focal point.

In terms of technicalities, I was using the Fuji X-T3 with the Fuji 55-200 lens set to 86mm. The camera was set to ISO160 which gave a shutter speed 1/17” at f/13. I could probably have used a wider aperture than f/13 but I wasn’t really thinking about it at the time. I was more interested in capturing the light before I lost it. I could see the sun heading for a bank of hazy cloud on the horizon which damage the crisp direct light you see here.

I mounted the camera on a tripod because the shutter speed was slow, and I didn’t use any filters. I was shooting at around 90 degrees from the sun and the shaded hillside wasn’t dark enough to require I use a filter.

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

Landscape Photo Editing Workflow Mini-Series

Landscape Photo Editing Workflow Mini-Series

Last week I mentioned that I had published the first two videos in a new mini-series. This week I recorded and published the remaining two. If you haven’t seen these, they explain and demonstrate my simplified four-stage workflows for editing landscape photos:

  1. Assessing the Image.
  2. RAW Conversion.
  3. Photo Enhancements.
  4. Applying Special Effects.

Here’s the link to the playlist on YouTube which includes all four videos.

If you have suggestions for tools to include in future mini-series, please add a comment to the videos.

Friday Image No.226

Near to Surprise View in the Peak District National Park. Fuji X-T3, Fuji 16-55 at 17mm. ISO160, 5″ at f/11.0. 0.6 (2 stop) ND graduated filter. Tripod mounted.

Last weekend was excellent weather for photography. Unfortunately, I wasn’t out taking photos but rather attending a drystone walling course. Thanks to our efforts one of the local farmers now has a new 70’ stone wall and I have a new hobby (along with learning to play Bluegrass Banjo).

So instead of a very different image, this is another shot of the heather. I shot this a couple of days after the photo from last week.

As with the previous photo I shared, I shot this around 10-15 minutes after the sun had set. Notice how the heather seems to glow with the diffused, soft light. Despite this, I still had to use a 2 stop ND grad on the sky to try to balance the exposure. There’s also some nice movement in the heather and grass which has helped to soften it.

When I came to process the image, I also had a few problems. To create the best exposure that I could, but retain the feel of the image, I had to create three separate exposure from the RAW file. I then blended these (in selected areas) using Luminosity Blending techniques. After that, the processing was like that demonstrated in the video mini-series.

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

Photographing the Heather in the Peak District

It’s Friday again and I’ve managed two days photography this week. The reason, besides the weather not being too bad, is that the heather is out.

Both shoots were in the afternoon and both in the Peak District. The first was Bamford Edge where I captured this shot. The other was near to Surprise View, but you will need to wait to see those images.

Before I explain a little about how I captured this image I should mention the accompanying video.

Landscape Photo Editing Workflow – The Miniseries

With my latest book in proofreading, I decided to take advantage and publish a video showing my editing workflow. To do this I used another image from the same evening shoot as this one. But rather than publish a long video which may be hard to watch, I’ve broken it into a small series.

There will be four videos in total:

  1. Assessing the image.
  2. RAW Processing
  3. Nik Processing
  4. Special Effects

I’ve already released the first two and I’m planning to do the other two next week.

If you want to watch the videos, here’s a link to the playlist on YouTube. And if you haven’t already, don’t forget to subscribe to my channel.

Friday Image No.225

I shot the image for this post around 5-10 minutes after sunset and up until this point, I had been struggling. Because we were facing towards the sun and the contrast was high, most of my shots had a harsh look that I didn’t like. It was only once the sun had set below the horizon that I was able to capture the dynamic range and open the shadows. Even then I needed to use a graduated ND filter (0.9 Soft) on the sky.

Another advantage of waiting until after sunset (besides lowering the contrast range) is that the heather glows and comes to life. This isn’t always the case, but if you are facing towards the stronger light, it works well. Turn away from the light and the heather looks grey and lifeless.

In terms of the shot, this is a single image captured using RAW on the Fuji X-T3. I used a 0.9 Soft Kase Grad filter as mentioned. I also had the camera mounted on a tripod and used a cable release. The image I used for the video is like this one and I used the same approach if you want to know more.

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