I’m giving away a copy of the innovative software Luminar 3, from Skylum. I purchased a second license key in error when Luminar 3 launched but didn’t use it. I’ve been in contact with Skylum who confirm I can give the license key away, so that’s what I’m doing.
Free Prize Draw
This is a free prize draw with my wife drawing the winner at random, after the competition closes at the end of April 2019. To enter, all you need to do is provide me with a short review for any of my books that you’ve read, using the entry form I created on Google. Here’s the link if you want to enter.
Have you seen the recent Adobe Lightroom Enhance Details
feature? The release in February almost passed me by but then I tested it. It
isn’t perfect; some people say it’s too slow and it does produce large file sizes.
BUT I suspect Adobe will develop it further in the future.
Enhance Details is a new feature that’s supposed to extract additional detail from your RAW files. I’ve tested it on a few RAW files, and I can’t see much improvement. Unless that is, you’re shooting with a Fuji. When you process the Fuji RAF files using Enhance Details you don’t get the dreaded wiggly worm effect and the image quality is very good. If you want to see my evaluation you can find it on YouTube or watch the video below.
Friday Image No.216
This week’s image is another from a recent trip to Scotland.
I shot this whilst on a walk on Rannoch Moore that turned out to be a bit of a failure.
We were stopped in our tracks by a river in full flow which had rather too much
melt water. I managed to cross but my wife couldn’t make it (short legs).
Rather than carry on alone I crossed back, and we returned to the car. Who said
there’s no gentlemen left?
The image at the tp of this post is a single shot in RAW format using the Fuji X-T2 and Fuji 10-24 lens at 11mm. I didn’t use any filters as the snow on the ground did a nice job of balancing the exposure with the sky. Although there is a bright patch in the sky on the left where the sun was breaking through the cloud there isn’t any clipping. I also decided to leave it like this for a more natural look.
I hope you like the image and have a great weekend.
This week I feel the urge to highlight something to the
readers of this blog. If the image quality from your camera and/or lens is
disappointing you, don’t rush to change it. Instead, try a different RAW
I’m seeing more and more that there’s a large variation in
image quality produced by different RAW converters. You’re probably thinking
there’s nothing surprising there, except it’s not necessarily one converter
that comes out better than the others.
The Best RAW Converter Depends on Your Camera
As I investigate this further, what I’m finding is that a
RAW converter that excels with one camera can perform poorly with another. And
it’s not just the camera that seems to be a factor. Some RAW converters appear
to handle some lenses better than others.
This is important. The image quality of some RAW converters
with certain camera/lens combinations can fool you into thinking the lens or
camera is at fault. Don’t fall into this trap.
A couple of weeks back I demonstrated this using RAW files from a Sony RX10 and RX100. This week I published this video on YouTube. It shows the results from four RAW converters, processing two Fuji X-T2 RAW files.
There are two interesting points to come out of this:
The difference between the best and worst of the
four RAW converters tested is significant.
The best RAW converter changed with the RAW file.
Although I didn’t highlight it in the video, this difference is down to the lens
So, before you rush out to change that camera or lens that
doesn’t quite perform, try using a few different RAW converters. It could save
you a lot of money.
Friday Image No.215
I captured this week’s Friday Image in Scotland last week on the famous and Rannoch Moor. I was fortunate enough for my trip to coincide with a light snowfall. Had it been a heavy snowfall I doubt I would have thought I was lucky.
I used the Fuji X-T2 with a Fuji 10-24mm lens handheld. The
pool of water you see in the foreground was really very small. It looks a lot
larger than it is because I had the lens set to 11mm. To make the foreground
loom large, I crouched down low and in close to the pool. I was also careful to
avoid distorting the mountain with the super wide lens by keeping the back of
the camera vertical. Had I tilted it the image the mountain wouldn’t have
looked quite so impressive.
I didn’t use any filters for the capture as the camera could just about cope with the dynamic range of the scene. I processed the converted RAW file using a combination of Nik Color Efex, Nik Viveza and Luminosity Masks created with Lumenzia in Photoshop.
I hope you like the video & image and have a great
Most of the photos I shoot are of landscapes; it’s the subject I feel most in touch with. But then from time to time I come across something and feel I must photograph it. That was the case with this image. The location was the “Train Graveyard” in Bolivia. It’s filled with old rusting steam trains from the past and is simply amazing – even if you don’t like trains.
What I also find quite amazing is how photo editing software has developed over recent years. When I shot this image four years back, I don’t think the panoramic stitching feature was available in Lightroom. That’s probably why the five images that make up this shot have sat on my hard drive for so long.
I captured the five images that make up this shot with an Olympus EM5 and Olympus 12-40mm lens. The camera was in the vertical position and the image taken handheld. Lightroom was able to stitch them very quickly and has made a good job. Except that is for removing the perspective distortion. To remove that I used DxO Viewpoint 3.0. I’m really starting to love this software and will be experimenting further with it in the future.
I hope you like the image and have a great weekend.
It was 2014 when I shot this volcano image and it’s languished on my hard drive ever since. The volcano’s in Bolivia and this shot was from our base camp about halfway to the summit. Yes, I had the “pleasure” of climbing this. The lower rim (the coloured part) is 4,900m and the top part is 5,300m; I wish I could remember the name though.
Those days seemed much simpler to me in terms of camera equipment. I was using the Olympus EM5 with three lenses; 9-18mm, 12-40mm and 45-150mm. The entire kit would fit in a small shoulder bag which I could wear under my backpack. The Fuji now feels a lot larger somehow but doesn’t look when the two are side by side. I’ve even found myself considering another micro 43 camera; I suppose I should make more use of the EM5’s which I still have.
Anyway, I hope you like the image and have a great weekend.
Today I’m returning to an image that I’ve probably shown before. It may not be the same identical file but it’s possible you’ve already seen this. I’m doing this because I’ve been back through my image library and reprocessed quite a few of the RAW files.
The reason for this is because I noticed some of my image quality problems of the past are fixed by changing RAW converter (no, I’m not talking about Fuji). In fact, some of the lens and camera performance problems were so bad I ended up selling the camera/lens. Now I’ve discovered the problem was mostly my RAW converter. If you want to see five examples here’s my video.
But back to the image above.
I shot this with an Olympus EM5 (micro 43) using the Olympus 9-18mm lens at 10mm. The camera was tripod mounted and I used an ND grad on the sky (2 stops I think). In the past when I processed this file it was a struggle. There were noisy shadows which lacked detail and a blown-out sky. The image also had a lot of distortion, especially in the corners of the frame.
The difference is that I used DxO PhotoLab to process the RAW file.
Now I’m not recommending switching to DxO, but it is interesting how good the RAW processing now seems to be. What I am recommending though is to always shoot in RAW format and hang onto your files. At least that way you can take advantage of future developments in software.
An unfortunate side effect of all this though is that it’s made me think of buying another Micro 43 camera.
hope you like the image and have a great weekend.
I captured this image a few weeks back now. At the time I wasn’t sure quite how best to process it and to be honest I’m still not sure.
I captured this from Bamford Edge in the Peak District looking across Hope Valley to the cement works. It was a little before sunset and the conditions were quite challenging. Not because they were unpleasant but because the light was so bright. The valley was filling with fog and the low sun was streaking through the clouds. I couldn’t see the image properly on the back of the camera and even using the viewfinder I was struggling.
At the time it looked like the conditions were so bright that they exceeded the cameras dynamic range, even using a three-stop Kase Soft ND Grad filter. I did bracket the shot (with the filter) using five exposures. My thinking was that I would create an exposure blend, but the image above is a single exposure. With some tweaking in Lightroom, I was able to control the exposure enough to create a good base image. Much of the processing was then with Luminosity Masks (using Lumenzia) before converting to black and white using Nik Silver Efex Pro.
I’m probably going to revisit the image when I have more time.