Tag Archives: digital photography

Friday Image No. 229

Curbar Edge after sunset, Peak District. Fuji X-T3, Samyang 12mm lens, ISO160, 2.1″ at f/8.0. 0.9 Soft ND Grad filter and tripod.

It’s Friday again and I’ve spent the entire week trying to layout the print version of my latest book. The desktop publishing software I’m using launched only recently and I’m hitting quite a few bugs. Given how frustrating this is I decided to stop to share an image instead.

I shot this last weekend at Curbar Edge in the Peak District and there are a few points I want to highlight:

  1. This is around 15 minutes after sunset, which is fast becoming my favourite time. The bright white dot in the sky is the moon. There’s something very nice about the light after sunset.
  2. The sun set immediately behind me which dramatically reduced the dynamic range of the scene. Even then I used a 0.9 (3 stop) Soft ND Grad filter on the sky.
  3. The heather in the scene looks great but it’s dead. The reason it appears pink is because of the magenta colour of the light. That’s what happens shortly after sunset when you place the sun behind you.

The key takeaway for me from this image is that it pays to understand how light changes depending on the time of day and angle. It would have been all too easy to have stopped shooting after sunset, or even have faced the wrong direction.

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

New Photo Editing Mini-Series

Finished example image from my latest YouTube Photo Editing Mini-Series. Peak District Millstones. Click the image to enlarge.

Due to the popularity of my first photo editing mini-series on YouTube, I’m doing a second. This time I’m processing the image you see above.

I’ve already published the first two videos:

  1. Image Assessment https://youtu.be/NCvT71cgxO8
  2. RAW Conversion (using Affinity Photo) https://youtu.be/MkSl1Rz3ENM

The other two videos in the series will follow next week.

If you missed the first mini-series, I’ve grouped and published them as a tutorial on my Lenscraft website (https://lenscraft.co.uk/photo-editing-tutorials/post-processing-landscape-photography-workflow/).

I hope you enjoy these.

Friday Image No.228

I did think about using the image above as the Friday image but decided not to. I cover the above image in the video and wanted to include a different image here.

Peak District hillside. Fuji X-T3 and 55-200 lens. Click the image to enlarge.

This is from a recent trip to the Peak District. I captured it around 40 minutes before sunset when the sun was low and the light warm. What I like, besides the lovely warm light is the contrast between the “colder” background hill and the “warmer” foreground. It’s also nice the way the solitary barn in the field acts as a focal point.

In terms of technicalities, I was using the Fuji X-T3 with the Fuji 55-200 lens set to 86mm. The camera was set to ISO160 which gave a shutter speed 1/17” at f/13. I could probably have used a wider aperture than f/13 but I wasn’t really thinking about it at the time. I was more interested in capturing the light before I lost it. I could see the sun heading for a bank of hazy cloud on the horizon which damage the crisp direct light you see here.

I mounted the camera on a tripod because the shutter speed was slow, and I didn’t use any filters. I was shooting at around 90 degrees from the sun and the shaded hillside wasn’t dark enough to require I use a filter.

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

New Book Launch: Essential Adobe Photoshop CC

The Hope Valley cement works. The Peak District.
The Hope Valley, Peak District. Fuji X-T3, Fuji 55-200, ISO160, 1/180″ at f/11.0. Tripod mounted.

Today I’m happy. My latest book “Essential Adobe Photoshop CC” is available on Amazon. It’s the longest book I’ve created by some way and I’ve been writing it for the past 6 months. That’s quite a project.

It’s written for people who are either new to or struggle with Photoshop. It’s priced at £6.49, $7.49 or similar in other currencies. You can use the link http://viewbook.at/amazon-photoshop-cc to view the book on the Amazon website for your country and download a sample.

Now I’m working on the print version and furiously trying to learn my new publishing software. I’ve decided the popularity of my print books requires an improved layout and design. That means new and unfortunately much more complex software. It will be worth it though.

Friday Image No.227

I love a good atmospheric black and white image, but I often think of bad weather producing the best results. But in this example, the weather was glorious and sunny rather than cloudy and raining. I think this conversion to black and white using Nik Silver Efex Pro has worked well.

For anyone familiar with the Peak District, you’ll probably recognise the scene. This is the cement works in the Hope Valley. I shot the image earlier in the evening on the same day as last week’s heather photo. At that time the sun was still quite high in a clear blue sky. Fortunately, a lot of atmospheric haze has saved the shot.

I captured the image with a Fuji X-T3 and Fuji 55-200 lens at full reach. At f/11 and ISO160 I had a shutter speed of 1/180”. Although this is fast, I still mounted the camera on a tripod and used a cable release. I wanted to be sure I would avoid the risk of camera shake.

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

Landscape Photo Editing Workflow Mini-Series

Landscape Photo Editing Workflow Mini-Series

Last week I mentioned that I had published the first two videos in a new mini-series. This week I recorded and published the remaining two. If you haven’t seen these, they explain and demonstrate my simplified four-stage workflows for editing landscape photos:

  1. Assessing the Image.
  2. RAW Conversion.
  3. Photo Enhancements.
  4. Applying Special Effects.

Here’s the link to the playlist on YouTube which includes all four videos.

If you have suggestions for tools to include in future mini-series, please add a comment to the videos.

Friday Image No.226

Near to Surprise View in the Peak District National Park. Fuji X-T3, Fuji 16-55 at 17mm. ISO160, 5″ at f/11.0. 0.6 (2 stop) ND graduated filter. Tripod mounted.

Last weekend was excellent weather for photography. Unfortunately, I wasn’t out taking photos but rather attending a drystone walling course. Thanks to our efforts one of the local farmers now has a new 70’ stone wall and I have a new hobby (along with learning to play Bluegrass Banjo).

So instead of a very different image, this is another shot of the heather. I shot this a couple of days after the photo from last week.

As with the previous photo I shared, I shot this around 10-15 minutes after the sun had set. Notice how the heather seems to glow with the diffused, soft light. Despite this, I still had to use a 2 stop ND grad on the sky to try to balance the exposure. There’s also some nice movement in the heather and grass which has helped to soften it.

When I came to process the image, I also had a few problems. To create the best exposure that I could, but retain the feel of the image, I had to create three separate exposure from the RAW file. I then blended these (in selected areas) using Luminosity Blending techniques. After that, the processing was like that demonstrated in the video mini-series.

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

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.

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.

More Landscape Photography from the Scottish Highlands

Lake Assynt, Scotland. Three shot panoramic with a Fuji X-T3. See below for full description.

Today I wanted to share another image from my recent Scotland trip. I suspect there will be a few more yet to come. Originally, I had intended this to be a black and white shot, but it doesn’t work as well when converted. The problem is that the trees become lost against the background.

To be entirely honest, it doesn’t quite work in colour either, but the scene is so tranquil that I still love it. Had I been able to, I would have liked a little more height so that I would be looking down on the island. This would have placed the trees against the water, balancing them with the reflection. Unfortunately, I was already on the highest point; such is the challenge of landscape photography.

I shot the image using a Fuji X-T3 camera. In case you’re wondering, yes, I do think it’s an improvement on the X-T2 but it’s difficult to put into words why. It just is. I was using a Fuji 18-55 lens which is the kit lens that came with my X-T2 and is simply excellent. I also used a Kase 0.9 ND Graduated filter which I inverted to darken the light reflecting off the water in the foreground (I appear to be using the Soft ND Grad filters a lot more these days). Without this the exposure became too unbalanced. I had the camera mounted on a tripod to capture three frames of 1/17” at f/11.0 using ISO160 (the base ISO on the X-T3).

I then stitched the three frames to a panoramic using Adobe Lightroom. I used the Pro Contrast filter in Nik Color Efex Pro to fine tune the colour balance after which the Detail Extractor filter to open the shadows in the land. I then enhanced the Contrast and Structure of the foreground in Nik Viveza. This may sound like a lot of processing, but the changes were all very minor and subtle.

DxO Sale and the Nik Collection Free

I had an email earlier this week from DxO announcing their 30% sale on all their products until the 14th May 19. I wanted to share it in case anyone waiting for a DxO sale had missed the announcement. Unfortunately, the sale doesn’t appear to extend to the Nik Collection which I used for editing the image above.

But did you know you can still get the Nik Collection for free?

Whilst this is the old Google edition of the software it still works well for lots of people. It also appears that it’s not common knowledge how to do this, so I’ve published an article explaining how.

That’s all for now.

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