Category Archives: Digital Photography

Landscape Photography in the Highlands of Scotland

Sunrise in Assynt, Scotland. Fuji X-T3, Samyang 12mm lens, 1/15″ at f/11.0 and ISO160. Kase 0.9 ND Soft Grad filter. Tripod mounted.

If you were expecting a Friday image last week I apologise. I was in the highlands of Scotland for a week, trying to cram in as much landscape photography as possible. I had intended to make a post from there, but it turned out the broadband wasn’t working in the accommodation we rented. There also wasn’t any phone signal to speak of, although we found one location that had a full 4G signal. Unfortunately, that was on a hill in the middle of nowhere about an hour’s drive from the accommodation.  It’s also where I shot the photo above.

That’s right, the only time I had a phone signal that supported internet browsing was whilst taking this shot.

The location is not far from the town of Lochinver and is three frames from a Fuji X-T3 stitched in Lightroom. The lens was a Samyang 12mm and I used a 0.9 Kase Soft ND Graduated filter. The important part that’s often overlooked is that we had to get up at 4am in the morning to drive and walk to this location in time for sunrise.

Photoshop Content Aware Scale

If you would like to see another of my landscape photos from the trip, watch at my latest Youtube video.

The image I show is again a three-frame stitch from a Fuji X-T3 using the excellent Samyang 12mm lens (I love this lens). In the image the sun isn’t in the centre of the frame and the needs the left side extending to give it balance. The video shows how to do this firstly using the Photoshop Content Aware Scale command. It then compares the result with the regular Transform tool. I won’t say which was best here, but it was a surprise.

Know-How Transfer Easter Sale

I usually don’t mention software sales in the blog but I’m making an exception with Know-How Transfer. I have most of their products and find they save me time and are very good. They have a 20% sale on until midnight on the 25th April, just enter the code easter19 at the checkout.

And to be clear, I don’t have any connection with the company. I just like what they do.

I hope you have a great weekend.

Friday Image Rethink

Higger Tor, Peak District. Fuji X-T2, 18-55 kit lens, f/11, ISO400. Three exposures at 2ev intervals shot handheld. Blended image processed using Photoshop Frequency Separation.

Following my final post and Friday Image last week, a few people contacted me and a few more left comments. It appears people like to receive the Friday image and I want to continue sending these from my Lenscraft website. It sounds easy, but it isn’t.

Following lots of head scratching, my wife came up with the obvious question. “Why don’t you keep posting the Friday image on your Blog andthe tutorials on your website?”

Hmmm! Pause to consider the obvious.

And so, I’ve had a rethink. I will continue to publish theFriday Image here. For anyone who want to understand more about the editing, youcan visit my Lenscraft website. The only downside is that the blog may have advertisingappear from time to time as I won’t be paying to stop fromdisplaying them.

I hope this arrangement works for those of you who still want to see my work.

As for this image, I shot it last Saturday (8thDecember 2018). It’s from Higger Tor in the UK Peak District on a dreadful morning that had amazing light. To give some idea of the conditions, it was raining very hard and incredibly windy. I stood my tripod up (Manfrotto 055 carbon fibre) and it blew over and along the ground. I was blown over several times and was even blown over from a kneeling position. I took most of the shots whilst sat or lying down. I couldn’t use filters because of the rain, so this is an exposure blended image. I processed it using Photoshop Frequency Separation (see the tutorial and video on Lenscraft).

I hope you the photo and have a great weekend.

Working on a Recovery

Froggatt Edge, The Peak District. Nikon D800, 70-300 lens, f/11.0, 1/6″ at ISO100. Tripod mounted. Exposed for the sky.

It’s been four days since my image library storage corrupted and the data recovery software is still running. To be completely honest I wasted two days switching between different data recovery solutions because I thought they were too slow. The current one has been running for 48 hours and is 59% complete. I think this is going to be a long job.

Whilst I’m in limbo waiting for the results of the scan, I did remember the above image.

This was shot on a Nikon D800 and was shot to produce a silhouette of the three people sat on the rock. It was only once I got the RAW file into Lightroom that I realised I had huge flexibility to recover the shadow detail. With a few selective adjustments, I found I could reveal lots of detail in areas that I thought were black and with very little noise.

Technology is absolutely amazing.

A Day in Malham

View across the fields and rolling landscape of Malham. Fuji X-T2, 18-55 lens, ISO200, f/11.0, 1/350″

Today was another beautiful day and I promised my wife a day out walking in Malham. I reasoned we could kill two birds with one stone as it would allow me to shoot the wild garlic near to Janets Foss waterfall. If you don’t know the area, there’s a woodland leading up to the falls and the slopes are coloured bright green by the garlic. Around this time of year, the garlic flowers and the woods are filled with beautiful white flowers.

Unfortunately, I was about a week too late and the garlic was past its best. It was though quite smelly.

When I suggested this walk, what I hadn’t realised was that it’s half term. Malham and the surrounding areas was heaving with cars and people; definitely not what I had in mind. When we ventured up to Gordale Scar, it looked like a long line of people queuing for a view. Rather than try to get past everyone to climb the waterfall at the end, we backtracked to the road and took the path across the fields towards Malham Cove. After about 400m there’s a path to the right which leads up onto the top of the scar.

It appears the climb on to the top of the scar puts most people off, which is a real shame because the views are stunning. The image above was taken from the top of the short (but steep) climb. What I like about this scene is the light mist (not haze, it was actually misty) which softened the fields and gives a nice feeling of depth to the image. I tried to retain this in processing as well as retain a natural feel to the image.

And for those of you who aren’t familiar with Malham, it’s famous for its cove which dominates the landscape and can be seen below.

Malham Cove, Yorkshire. Fuji X-T2, 18-55 lens. ISO200, f/9.0, 1/420″.

Mastering Photoshop Luminosity Masks Course

Misty morning in the Peak District
Misty morning in the Peak District. Luminosity masks help you target adjustments onto specific tones. Fuji X-T2, 55-200mm lens, ISO400, f/7.1, 1/20″, handheld.

Something that always seems to cause confusion amongst photographers, is Luminosity Masks. I think a lot of the confusion is down to people hyping the technique. There seems to be a lot of photographers that for whatever reason, want to make the subject confusing.

Why does this appear to be the norm with many people involved in photography? If someone thinks they have an edge, they won’t share it. But some even try to make it harder to learn to keep that edge.

I hope to remove some of the confusion with my latest video-based course “Mastering Photoshop Luminosity Masks”. I have priced it at what I think is a reasonable £20 + any local taxes, but  I’m also offering a 50% launch discount until the end of April 18.

50% Launch Discount

Even if you don’t want to enrol in the course, I made the Introduction section free to watch. It has some useful information about masks and Photoshop that you might find helpful.

To watch the Introduction, use the discount link above. When the information page opens scroll down to the Curriculum section. Here you can use the Preview buttons to watch the videos in the introduction.

On1 Photo RAW 2018 Masking

Following my video demonstrating how to use On1 Photo RAW 2018 to edit a landscape image, I received a few queries about how I used the masks. How do they work and what are all the sliders for? To help answer these questions, I put together another video.

This time, rather than concentrating on the effects, this one concentrates on using the masking tools in On1. I hope this helps video helps you.

The Future of this Blog

View from the summit of Mam Tor at dawn, The Peak District. Fuji X-T2, 35-140 lens at 140mm. ISO200, 1/10″ at f/7.1. Tripod mounted. Kase Wolverine 0.6 ND Grad.

The mist is clearing and I’m beginning to see the future of this blog. It will continue but in a slightly different form. I will be using to share thoughts, finding, news and ramblings about all things photographic, together with photos. I will also continue with the Friday Image posts, hopefully weekly. What you won’t see in future are the tutorial postings. If you want those, you will need to head over to the “Articles & Tutorials” page on my Lenscraft site.

I’m also not going to restrict myself to talking about lightweight photography. It means too many things to different people. Yes I shoot using mirror-less cameras in the main. But at the end of the day, it’s photography that I love and not the equipment.

I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who posted messages of support on my earlier post. Also, the many people who emailed me. I’m currently trying to work through replying to any questions that have been raised.

Thank you again for your support and wonderful ideas.