Category Archives: Friday Image

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.

Friday Image No.224

Wheat field near Lands End, Cornwall. Fuji X-T3 with 18-135mm lens.

I won’t say very much about this image except that it reminds me of summer. I shot it whilst on a walk near Lands End during my recent holiday to Cornwall. I spent around 30 minutes in this field (on the path of course) and it was amazing. Crouching down low I was able to focus near to me to ensure the wheat was in focus, but the distant hills were blurred. I also tried to line the path up to point towards the cows on the hill but trying not to make it obvious. I will need to look through the other shots I took as there are a few that look promising.

This is a straight shot with the Fuji X-T3 and Fuji 18-135mm lens. Handheld and no filters. It just makes me feel happy.

Have a great weekend.

Brilliant Free Luminosity Masking Tool

Godrevy Lighthouse, Cornwall.
Godrevy Lighthouse, Cornwall. Fuji X-T3, Fuji 55-200 at 55mm, ISO160, 1/12″ at f/13.0. Tripod mounted with Kase 0.9 (3 stop) Soft ND GRad filter.

This week I have another image from my recent break in Cornwall. I shot this on the same evening as the one I shared last week. The only difference was that I used a long telephoto lens to capture this image. I must admit that I was being very lazy and didn’t even move my tripod.

The reason I wanted to share this image is that I used it to illustrate my latest YouTube Video. If you haven’t seen the video, here’s the link. The video demonstrates a great free tool for Luminosity Masking in Photoshop.

This is the best free tool that I’ve found. I would even say that it’s better than some of the premium tools on the market. In fact, it’s so good that I used it extensively in my recent Luminosity Masking course.

If you’re interested in Luminosity Masking, you really should try this tool (I included the details and links in the description below the YouTube video).

August Newsletter

If you’re on my mailing list, the Lenscraft August newsletter goes out overnight.

You can also read all the newsletters on this page of my website. The August issue will appear in the list tomorrow.

Have a great weekend.

Photography with the Right Mindset

The last time I published anything to this blog was the 5th July. Apologies for that but I decided to take a holiday and headed off to Cornwall. The scenery there is spectacular but looking through my images (yes I was still working) everything looks like a stock photo. Nice if you received them on a postcard but you wouldn’t say it was great photography.

I think the problem was that although this was a holiday, I was still taking photos. And whilst I was taking photos, I was thinking about how I could use the images. If I’m completely honest with myself, when I took most of my photos I was thinking about stock usage which raises two interesting points:

  1. When you shoot stock photography you change your approach. You approach the scene with a specific mindset that affects your framing, composition and to some degree what you shoot.
  2. After photographing with this mindset for a while it becomes difficult to switch to another. This makes it very tricky to produce creative, innovative and arty shots of the type I really want capture.

Friday Image No.223

Godrevy Lighthouse at sunset, Cornwall. Fuji X-T3 with 10-24 lens. Full details below.

The reason I mention the point about getting your mindset right is because of this Friday photo. Having carried a camera with me most of the days, I decided to head out one evening for the sunset. The weather looked promising, so I headed over to Godrevy Lighthouse. I planned my arrival with an hour to scout out the location and find a shot. This should have been plenty of time to find something good.

Actually, it was plenty of time, it’s just that I couldn’t see any great shots. That’s why I ended up with this OK shot rather than something more creative. Yes, it’s nice, but it’s what I class as a typical postcard or calendar shot. My mind was still in the mode of shooting stock photography. I hadn’t given it time to switch over to being innovative which is one of my big problems.

If you’re interested in the technical details of the shot here they are:

  • Fuji X-T3 with Fuji 10-24 lens at 14.5mm.
  • 14” exposure, at f/13.0 at ISO160.
  • Kase Wolverine 0.9 (3 stop) Reverse ND Grad and Kase 6 stop ND filter.
  • Tripod mounted with a cable release.
  • RAW converter Capture One Fuji (see why I’m switching to Capture One).

If you like the shot do let me know in the comments. Personally, I’m undecided.

Have a great weekend.

Don’t Immediately Judge Your Photographs

Ladybower from Dewent Edge, The Peak District. Fuji X-T3, 16-55 lens, ISO160, 1/5″ at f/11.0

Friday Image No.222

Last week I wrote that I had been out, but I failed to shoot any usable images. I’ve changed my mind and decided to share this one. It’s not as I imagined at the time but there is something about the hillside that I like. What I don’t like is the strong orange of the sky, but then again that was the scene. It just goes to show that sometimes you need to get some distance from a shoot before you can appreciate your images. I will probably need to go through these again in a few weeks once the memory of the evening has faded.

I captured this scene from Derwent Edge in the Peak District. The body of water you can see is Ladybower reservoir. I haven’t used any filters but did mount the camera, a Fuji X-T3, on a tripod. The lens is a Fuji 16-55mm which is super sharp but lacks image stabilisation, making the tripod essential at times.

I processed the image from a RAW file using Capture One for Fuji (Pro edition). I’ve decided to invest in the Capture One software after being so impressed by the results from the Express version. You can read about my reasons for switching on my website blog.

My latest newsletter is also out if you haven’t seen it. In there I share some tips about avoiding lens flare ruining your images when shooting into the sun. One of the techniques involves shooting two versions of an image and in one of these, you use your finger to block the sun. This removes the lens flare and allows you to merge the two images later. If you would like to see how I’ve just released a YouTube video explaining the technique.

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

Scottish Highlands Again

Friday Image No. 221

The Highlands of Scotland at dawn. Five images stitched. Fuji X-T3, Fuji 55-200 lens at 55mm. ISO160, 1.3″ at f/11.0. 3 stop soft ND Grad.

I headed out last night to meet up in the Peak District a good friend. The intention was to visit one of the dramatic stone formations on Derwent Edge and shoot this for tonight post. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out quite as planned.

The first problem I found was the weather. It was a clear blue sky with not a cloud in sight. This doesn’t make for good images especially when you’re facing the sun.

But my bigger problem by far was that I hadn’t shot any landscapes since my trip to Scotland at the start of April. I found myself struggling to see compositions and then when I found one, I just couldn’t capture it. Looking at my images this morning, most if not all are dreadful. That’s why I’ve fallen back on yet another of my shots from Scotland, but I love this one.

I hope you like it and have a great weekend.

Death Valley Revisited

Friday Image No.220

Zabriskie Point, Death Valley. Panasonic GX1, Panasonic 14-45 lens, ISO160, 1/60″ at f/8.0

Over the past week, I’ve restarted work on a new edition of my Essential Photoshop book. When I wrote the original book, I wanted it to be version independent and work with old and new versions of Photoshop alike. I even illustrated it using Photoshop CS5. Following a few requests, I’ve decided to revise the book to create Essential Photoshop CC, based on the 2019 version. Importantly, I’m creating a print version of the book as well.

One of the difficulties in creating a print edition and even a new eBook version for that matter is image resolution. What used to be the maximum eBook image resolution on Amazon doesn’t satisfy customers just a few years later. It’s also too low a resolution to print. This means I need to recreate many of the original screenshots which involves a lot of reprocessing. And that’s where I found this week’s Friday Image.

This is the image I use to demonstrate tonal correction using Photoshop Curves, although it’s a colour image in the book. As I processed the scene I thought “I bet that looks great in black and white and so I ran it through Nik Silver Efex Pro. I don’t think I’ve created a masterpiece, but I do like it and there’s potential when I have more time.

I can’t tell you too much about taking the shot other than it was Zabriskie Point in Death Valley one afternoon in March. The weather was dull and a little hazy which created a low contrast scene. I know from the camera data that I used a Panasonic GX1 with a Panasonic 14-45mm lens at 45mm. Given the weather conditions and composition, I doubt I used any filters and I would have shot it handheld.

What I do remember very clearly though were the large groups of photographers travelling around the park, shooting locations like this. They all had huge cameras, tripods and lenses and on more than a few occasions would push straight past, even standing directly in front of me to set up. I even had a few ask me about my “quaint little camera” and suggest upgrading it to something better (bigger).

I really miss that little camera and lens.

Have a great weekend.