Digital Photography

New Book & Course Launch

Posted on


The Photographers Guide to Image Sharpening in Lightroom

It’s been a very busy weekend with the launch of my latest book “The Photographers Guide to Image Sharpening in Lightroom”. Although this is now my seventeenth book, each one brings a new set of challenges.

With this book, I wanted to include free access to a companion Video course I developed. I love books but I see video fast becoming an essential element of the learning process; this is why I recently established Lenscraft Training.

At present, there are only two courses available (but many more planned):

  • “Secrets of the Darkroom Masters” available free to anyone who registers.
  • “Sharpening Photos with Adobe Lightroom” available for US $20, but Lenscraft Members can currently use a 75% discount code.

You can find the book on Amazon for US $5.99/£4.99 or similar in other countries (allowing for variations in tax and exchange rates). I will continue to operate my Magazine Pricing Policy where I price my books on a par with popular photography magazines.

The books aimed at people who already know how to use the basics of the Lightroom Develop module but who want to achieve the highest quality results when Sharpening and applying Noise Reduction. It presents the three-stage sharpening methodology on which Lightroom is based, as well explaining how to use the various tools. There is plenty of advice on how to achieve the best results, together with full length worked examples you can follow. Supporting RAW files and sharpened example images are provided on my Lenscraft site. Inside the book, you will find a 100% discount code for the sharpening video course mentioned above.

If you’re interested in the book, here are the links to the UK and US amazon stores. For other Amazon sites, please search for “The Photographers Guide to Image Sharpening in Lightroom”.

View on UK Amazon

View on US Amazon

If you would like to visit the new training site here is the link

http://training.lenscraft.co.uk/

If you don’t have a Kindle device, you can download a free Kindle Reader from Amazon using the link below. The reader is available for different popular platforms including Mac, Windows and Android computers, tablets and phones.

Link to Kindle Reader

Note on Sharpening XTrans RAW Files

I have been asked if the new book examines the “special” treatment needed when sharpening Fuji XTrans RAW files. The short answer is no. My intention is to share some of my recent findings and recommendations via my You Tube Channel. I just need to clarify some points before publishing these.

Save

Bracketing Limitation Workaround

Posted on Updated on


Fuji XT2 six image HDR
Fuji XT2. Six images at 1 stop intervals blended using HDR processing in Lightroom. The image sequence was shot using the technique discussed.

From time to time I like to shoot multiple sequences of images at different exposures. I then blend these either with HDR software or using luminosity masks in Photoshop. My Olympus EM5 makes this very easy. I call up the bracketing option in the menu, set it to the number of exposures I want and the interval. I also set the shooting mode to continuous which allows me to shoot a sequence by holding down the shooter button. When the sequence is complete there is a slight pause allowing me to release the button. This makes the entire process very easy, allowing me to hand hold.

At the weekend, I came to shoot a bracketed sequence using the Fuji XT2. This also makes shooting the bracketed sequence very easy. There is a dial switch allowing you to change from single shot to bracket. You press the shutter button once and the sequence of three images is captured with no need to keep your finger on the shutter. I found this great, until the scene I wanted to shoot required a five-image sequence at 1 stop intervals. That’s when I found out that the XT2 is limited to shooting only 3 images in a bracket. Come on Fuji, please fix this in your next firmware update. It’s basic stuff.

Now, I should stress that it’s not just Fuji that seem to have overlooked the obvious. When I also came to set up my Sony A7r at the weekend, I found a similar problem. This camera can be set to shoot a bracket sequence of 5 images, providing you don’t want to set the exposure intervals to more than 0.7EV. As soon as you set the exposure interval for a bracket to 1EV or more, you can only shoot a 3 shot sequence. What on earth are they thinking.

If you have been frustrated by this limitation with your camera, there is a simple workaround (other than changing your camera):

  • Set your camera to bracket 3 shots at 2EV intervals in the Av mode (aperture priority) and set your exposure compensation to 0.
  • Shoot the bracket sequence of 3 images.
  • Set the exposure compensation to +1.
  • Shoot a second bracket sequence of 3 images.

This gives you two sequences of three images, but across the two you will have images at 1EV intervals. These will range from -2EV to +3 EV which is what you need for HDR and Luminance blending if you want to ensure maximum flexibility. Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to hand hold using this method but hopefully it will make things a little easier.

Save

Friday Image No. 121

Posted on Updated on


Crater Lake. Panoramic from 4 images on the Olympus EM4.
Crater Lake. Panoramic from 4 images on the Olympus EM5. You may recognise the image from the new banner at the top of the blog.

Today I thought I would share an image I shot back in May2016. It’s taken in one of my favorite countries – America. I love visiting the USA. It’s a vast country with a varied and stunning landscape. I also find the people very friendly and polite so it usually makes for a great trip.

On this occasion, I was doing a three-week road trip down the west coast. Originally I had planned to drive from Seattle to Santa Monica (I still want to visit) but in the end, I went as far as the south of Oregon, headed back inland and visited some more great locations before ending up back at Seattle.

This image was shot at a location called Crater Lake. I was staying at the lodge on the rim of the lake for a couple of nights. This was shot on the second morning before I left. It’s four images from the Olympus EM5 which were then stitched in Lightroom. There was quite a bit of work I Lightroom and Photoshop to ensure a balance of tones across the scene.

I hope you like it and have a great weekend.

Save

Free Book Relaunched

Posted on Updated on


Mastering Your Camera
Mastering Your Camera. Free Book Offer

I have been updating one of my books following feedback from a few readers. The book was called “Beginning Photography the Right Way” which appears to be misleading. Experienced photographers have contacted me to say they found it valuable and a good refresher on many points. I have therefore decided to make a few corrections/updates and re-release the book under the title “Mastering your Camera”. Here is the link to the book on Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2jCOfC1.

If you previously purchased this book from Amazon, you can download the revised version for free. Just login to Amazon and navigate to the “Your Account” page. Click the link to “Manage your Content and Devices” then search for the book in the list. You should find an “Update Available” button next to the listing. Click this and it will download the updated book. The book is also enrolled in Kindle Unlimited allowing you to read it for free if you subscribe to this.

Free Book

There’s also good news if you didn’t purchase the original book as I’m giving away free copies to all my subscribers and followers to say thank you. On the 20th 21st and 22nd January the book will be available for free on Amazon. The book can only be downloaded from Amazon and it’s only available on these dates so please don’t ask me to provide copies (this is a contractual arrangement with Amazon).

A Favour

If you’re in a camera club or know someone who might enjoy/benefit from the book, please pass on details of the free download dates. My hope is that more people will learn about and benefit from my work. Perhaps they will be sufficiently impressed to leave a good review.

Don’t Have a Kindle?

If you don’t have a Kindle, don’t worry. You can still access the book using the free Kindle Readers. Kindle Readers are free software from Amazon that can be downloaded to your computer, tablet device or phone allowing you to read Kindle books. They support all the major platforms (Mac, Windows, Android). I have one on my iPhone for when I get stuck waiting somewhere and it’s excellent.

Here is a link to amazon page where you can download a free Kindle Reader App.

http://amzn.to/2iF7sik

I will be sending out a reminder email to Lenscraft members soon.

Fuji Lens Update

Posted on Updated on


A long lens is an essential part of a Landscape Photographer's kit. Olympus EM5 + Panasonic 45-150mm.
A long lens is an essential part of a Landscape Photographer’s kit. Olympus EM5 + Panasonic 45-150mm.

Back in December I wrote about how my Fuji 55-200mm lens had been returned. I bought the lens second hand from Wex Photographic a couple of months earlier but then never really tested it. Yes, I took a couple of reference shots but nothing more. It was only when I had the lens on a shoot with me that something didn’t seem quite right. By then I had passed the 30 days return period which was my own fault.

In case you’re wondering what was wrong, I had problems achieving a sharp image either hand held or at any shutter speed. Look at this example of trees (click it to see the full resolution version). The left side of the image is out of focus but the right side is much sharper. This isn’t a depth of field issue as that would be front to back sharpness.

Full resolution XT2 image showing my 55-200 lens problem. The image is out of focus on the left but not the right.
Full resolution XT2 image showing my 55-200 lens problem. The image is out of focus on the left but not the right. Click the image to see the full resolution version..

Despite being outside the return window I contacted Wex who advised the lens comes with a 6-month warranty. The lens was returned to Wex who then returned it to Fuji for repair. Just before Christmas I received a message from Wex advising Fuji could find nothing wrong with the lens and it had been returned as working fine.

I called Wex and spoke to one of the team managers who was excellent – he understood photography. He spoke to me for around 20 minutes looking over in detail the hi-resolution sample images I had provided. His view was that there was a fault, possibly in the IS.

The lens has now been returned to Fuji and I’m waiting on the outcome. In the interim, the longest focal length I can shoot with the Fuji is 55mm. I keep returning to the EM5 for long shots.

Save

Save

Save

Friday Image No.119

Posted on Updated on


Higger Tor, The Peak District, UK. Fuji XT2, 10-24mm Lens, 0.6 ND Graduate. Three images at 2 stop intervals blended to HDR in Lightroom.
Higger Tor, The Peak District, UK. Fuji XT2, 10-24mm Lens, 0.6 ND Graduate. Three images at 2 stop intervals blended to HDR in Lightroom.

Christmas is almost here and I’m going to take a break. I will be back in the New Year with lots more information and videos. I would like to leave you with the image above which I captured the other morning in the Peak District.

Here’s to a great 2017’s photography for everyone.

Save

Lenscraft Free Christmas Gift 2016

Posted on Updated on


Old Man of Storr on Skye, Scotland
Old Man of Storr on Skye, Scotland

Every year I like to provide a free Christmas Gift for Photographers. This is my way of saying thank you to all those who have supported and continue to support my work. This year is no exception.

This year the gift is a video course titled “Tools of the Darkroom Masters”. The course is 35 minutes in length and the tools are split into several short sections so that you don’t need to watch the entire course in one sitting. I have provided the course as a video you can view whilst on my Lenscraft website. Alternatively, there is a link to download the video so you can watch it at any time.

So far, the course has gained a lot of positive feedback from members who have watched it. I have even received a request to allow the video to be shown at a camera club (which of course I agreed to). All I ask is that people don’t post the video on the internet as this is a gift for Lenscraft Members. If you would like someone else to benefit, share the link not the video.

If you would like to view or download the video, this is the link.

https://lenscraft.co.uk/members-area/photography-guide/

To access this page, you will need to be logged in as a member of my Lenscraft site but membership is free. If you want to register as a member, here is the link to the members’ area.

https://lenscraft.co.uk/members-area/

I hope you enjoy.

Robin

Save