digital photography

Friday Image No.130

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Clearing Storm in Madeira. Olympus EM5, Olympus 12-40mm, ISO200, f/7.1, 1/320″.

I’m hoping you haven’t noticed, but this past couple of weeks has seen me take a holiday. I say I hope you haven’t noticed as I tried hard to keep the blog up to date with posts and replies to comments.

My break has taken me to the island of Madeira where I was trekking in the hills. It’s my first time to the island and whilst the holiday was good the weather wasn’t. I believe our flight was the last to land for a couple of days and some members of the walking party were severely delayed.

Despite the poor weather, the trip was very enjoyable. The weather conditions also created the opportunity for a bit of photography with my trust Olympus EM5. The image above is just one of the stunning locations on the island.

If all you Fuji shooters are now screaming why didn’t he take the X-T2, the answer is size. I can easily fit the EM5 together with three lenses into a small shoulder bag. This makes trekking with a full backpack and taking pictures very easy. There is no way the X-T2 with three similar lenses would fit in such a small pack.

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

Free Book Offer – This Weekend

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Mastering Your Camera
Mastering Your Camera. Free Book Offer

This weekend my book “Mastering your Camera” is available for free. It’s only available on the Saturday and Sunday (25th and 26th March) so be sure to pick up a copy. And don’t forget to let your friends know.

Here is the link to book but you can also find it by searching for the title.

Mastering Your Camera

If you find the book isn’t immediately free in your Amazon store, try again a little later. I understand the timing of the offer is based on one of the US time zones. I know last time I did a free offer, people in Australia and New Zealand hand to wait until the following day to take advantage.

Important

Although this is a Kindle eBook, you don’t need to own a Kindle to read it. Many people miss out as they don’t realise there is a free Kindle software from Amazon. This allows you to read Kindle books on various devices including PC’s, Mac’s tablets and phones. My personal favourite is my phone. It works very well and is with me most of the time.

If you haven’t seen the Kindle software before, here is the link.

Link to Kindle Software & Apps

Enjoy.

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Friday Image No.129

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Somewhere in the Borders of Scotland. Three image stitch taken with the Fuji X-T2 + 18-55mm lens. 1/105″ at f/11 and ISO200. 0.6 ND Graduated filter.

A couple of weeks back I showed a Friday Image that was a little different. It featured some grass on a beach, bathed in lovely evening light. This time I would like to share another very simple image. It’s a little different from the last but I find it very calming.

It’s three images taken with the Fuji X-T2 and which have been stitched in Lightroom. The bulk of the editing required was to switch the Camera Profile from Adobe Standard to Fuji Provia.

I hope you like it and have a great weekend.

Alternatives to the Creative Cloud 1

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Marloes, Pembrokeshire
Marloes, Pembrokeshire. I shot this image in 2009. Had I not added keywords that I could search on in Lightroom, I would have struggled to find it again.

I recently read that Adobe is withdrawing the traditional full purchase option from Lightroom and Photoshop and that only the CC versions would be available. This means you would need to pay a monthly subscription rather than make a one-off payment for a version of the software. Checking the Adobe site just now I can see that only Lightroom and Elements are available as a “traditional” purchase option.

Whilst I subscribe to Creative Cloud and am very happy to do so, I know a lot of people don’t like the subscription model. Given this, it’s my intention to share some alternatives over the coming weeks that you might want to consider if you don’t want to go down the Adobe CC route.

To set some expectations though, I won’t be covering every alternative and I won’t be looking at lots of alternatives in a single blog post. Instead I will be posting from time to time as new ideas come to light. I also won’t be doing a comprehensive review of software, I will leave you to do that with the trial versions that most software companies offer.

In this first blog post I would like to consider just what Creative Cloud provides from the photographer’s perspective. You to determine how important each aspect is to you, as everyone will be different.

Asset Management

This is the ability to tag and sort images as well as perform searches using a variety of criteria. Typically, you would need to be able to search quickly on variables across potentially hundreds of thousands of images to identify the one(s) you want.

This is provided by Lightroom and to some degree Bridge.

RAW Conversion

If you shoot in RAW format, as many photographers do, you will need to convert or develop the RAW file into an image format. This will typically involve applying adjustments to the images as part of the conversion process.

This is provided by Lightroom or in Photoshop through Camera RAW.

Image Adjustment

The ability to enhance or adjust an image. Adjustments may be as simple as changes to colour or tone. In some circumstances, we may need to make more complex changes such as remove an object or change its size, shape or the perspective of the image.

Lightroom provides a level of adjustment capability but in some respects, this can be quite limited. Photoshop is much more flexible and powerful.

Print Output

Creating prints from your images and the ability to go through a Soft Proofing process is in both Lightroom and Photoshop.

Other aspects of CC that might be important to you are things such as are they supported for Mac and Windows. Do you need support for 16 bit editing or even 32 bit editing? Is there full colour management support so you can select a colour space within which to work? Do you need to work in CMYK, RGB or even LAB? How important is overall workflow to you? Some people hate switching between applications and need a level of integration.

If you’re thinking of a move from CC or even just buying more software, I would strongly recommend working on a few images and making notes of the aspects and features you use. You might not realise these are important to you until they are gone.

Next time I will look at one or two possible alternatives to CC.

Friday Image No. 128

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The Roaches in the The Peak District. Three images with the Fuji X-T2 merged in Lightroom to a panorama. Post processing in Nik Silver Efex Pro.
The Roaches in the The Peak District. Three images with the Fuji X-T2 merged in Lightroom to a panorama. Post processing in Nik Silver Efex Pro.

If you have been watching my You Tube channel, you may have seen this image already. It’s 3 images shot with the Fuji X-T2 which were stitched together in Lightroom. I then processed them using Nik Silver Efex Pro and a Film Noire preset. The results looked a little too strong for my taste so I backed off a little and opened some of the rock detail in the foreground a little.

The results were OK but I felt the image processing was a little forced, as though I were searching for something without having a clear starting vision. Then something odd happened. I returned to the image the following day and I really liked it. Now the more I look at it, the more I’m drawn into it.

I hope you like it and have a great weekend.

Return of the RX10

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La Rochelle, France. This is a 5 image sequence shot on the Sony RX10 and stitched in Lightroom. ISO80, f/5.6, 1/640″. Click the image to view a larger version of the file.

I previously commented on how my beloved RX10 was struck down by mould. This was on the front element of the lens and was inside a (supposedly) sealed unit. Rather than taking this to Sony for a repair I went to The Real Camera Company in Manchester. One of their engineers has now replaced the affected unit and the camera is back with me in a little over a week from my authorising the repair.

Whilst the camera has been away for repair it felt like I had lost something quite major. I had been used to taking the RX10 out on hikes across the moors where I live. The alternative was to take the Fuji X-T2 or Olympus EM5, both of which produce higher quality images than the RX10. Despite this, the inconvenience of never having the right lens on the camera at the point you want to use it, or needing to change lenses and filters frequently in the field was what can only be described as a pain in the butt.

The RX10 produces excellent detail and sharpness in the central area of the frame, but it softens near the edges and distorts a little in the corners (at the wide-angle end of the lens range). I suspect much of this is due to a lot of lens correction being applied in software. Despite this, the camera is a joy to use and produces images which have a lovely feel to them. The convenience of having a 24-200 focal length in a constant f2.8 lens, all bolted onto a 1” sensor is a great combination, especially when out walking.

So far, I have only taken a few test shots in the garden to check the camera functions correctly (it does.) I’m really looking forward to some good weather to put the RX10 through its paces. I would also like to say well done to The Real Camera company for their help and a job well done.

Friday Image No.126

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Bamburgh sunrise. Fuji XT2, Fujinon 10-24mm at 12mm, 1/7" at f/13.
Bamburgh sunrise. Fuji XT2, Fujinon 10-24mm at 12mm, 1/7″ at f/13.

I seem to say it every Friday, but this week has again been packed. One day I will finally catch up with myself (I hope). Probably the best thing to have happen was being able to track down the issue with my Fuji telephoto lens and realising it was caused by my ND Grad filters. Now I know the cause I will be able to work around it using multiple exposures and luminosity mask blending (or perhaps HDR).

For this week’s image, I’m sharing another of the images from Northumberland that I shot a couple of weeks back. I had to take around 20 shots before I got the waves just right but the perseverance was worth it. This image is exactly as I wanted it. The reflection of the low sun on the water and the wet rocks is perfect.

Have a great weekend.