Tag Archives: digital photography

Finding Hidden Gems

North Wales. Two images stitched together in Lighroom and processed using Alien Skin Exposure X3. Nikon D800, 18-35mm Lens, ISO100, 1.3″ at f/16.0

Back in 2014 I had an ill-fated fling with a Nikon D800 camera, which I wrote about in this blog. It seemed that no matter what I did, I couldn’t shoot decent images with that camera and I disliked using it. Perhaps it takes a few years to get over something like that, but now I’m finding a few hidden gems in the old RAW files.

This image is two shots with the D800 that have been stitched together in Lightroom and then processed using Alien Skin Exposure X3. The processing applied in Exposure X3 used the Kodak Ektar film simulation. I then opened the shadows and cooled the image very slightly using the Exposure X3 controls.

What you may not notice in this image is the remains of the old packhorse bridge on the right of the image. This has been incorporated into the road bridge which covers it. If you didn’t climb down to the river you would never know it was there.

What I don’t like about the image is that the foreground rock on the right is soft because I didn’t have enough depth of field. Why? Because the lenses I was trying to use with this camera were poor quality and suffered from diffraction when stopped down Because of this I tended not to stop them down.

This image by the way was the final shot I took with the D800 before selling it.

Alien Skin Exposure X3 30% Sale

Whilst I was writing this post, an email popped into my in-box. Alien Skin are having a 25th Anniversary Sale with 30% off their products, including Exposure X3. Here’s a link to their blog announcement. But be fast if you want to take advantage, I think the 5th June (today) is the final day of the sale.

Friday Image No.185

Dry riverbed above Malham Cove, Yorkshire. Fuji X-T2, 18-55 lens, ISO200, 1/220″ at f/11.0

For this week’s Friday image, I want to share possibly my favourite view in all Malham. Yes, Malham Cove is spectacular as is Grodale Scar. Janets Foss is tranquil and the surrounding countryside is beautiful. But for me, this dry prehistoric riverbed with its drystone wall is amazing. The first time I ever saw it I thought wow, and I still think wow each time I see it.

From where I shot this, there is a cliff immediately behind me. Sitting on top of that cliff with your feet dangling over, eating a sandwich is pure heaven.

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

Friday Image No.184

Genoa, Italy.
Genoa, Italy. Fuji X-T2, 18-135 lens. ISO400, 1/25″ at f/10.0.

Today is the world famous (at least in some circles) Saddleworth Band Contest. Some of you may recall the film “Brassed Off” where one of the scenes features the band visiting the contest but getting so drunk they could hardly play. Someone clearly did their research when writing the plot as there is a propensity for bands to pay particular attention to their hydration.

Unfortunately, today after what has seemed like a prolonged period (at least a week) of fabulous weather, the heavens have opened and it’s raining. Nothing unusual for Band Contest day.

As I sit writing this I can hear the first of bands playing so I guess it’s time to finish up and join my wife who’s helping at the check-in tent. I’m therefore going to leave you with another image from my Italy trip. This time it’s from Genoa where I happened to be passing an entrance and saw the image above. I think this is part of the university but I’m not sure.

I hope the weather is better where you are and that you have a great weekend.

Friday Image No.180

Ladybower Reservoir, The Peak District
Ladybower Reservoir, The Peak District. Fuji X-T2, 18-55 lens, ISO640, 1/40″ at f/10.0. No filters and handheld.

It’s Friday and I managed to get out only once with my camera this week. Unfortunately, that was a complete loss and I didn’t take a single image. I’m hoping tomorrows outing will be a bit better.

Having said that, the image on this post was taken when I there the conditions were very poor. My intention at the time was to shoot rocky landscapes. I had almost forgotten that I shot this image where I met up with a friend.

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

Friday Image No. 178

Wooden structure on Formby Beach
Wooden structure on Formby Beach. Fuji X-T2, 55-200 lens at 128mm, ISO200, 1/1600″ at f/5.6

In the sand dunes of Formby Beach stands a tall wooden structure. I’m not sure how tall it is but I would guess around 10m, perhaps more. At the top of the wooden structure is a large wooden triangle. What it’s for I have no idea, but it makes a great subject for a shot.

I have captured this object many times and always been disappointed. Even this image has sat on my hard drive for a couple of months and I never new what to do with it. Today I wanted a break from writing my next book so thought I would experiment a little with this image. This is the result.

I hope you like it and have a great weekend.

Friday Image No. 177

Derwentwater sunset, Keswick, The Lake District. Fuji X-T2, 10-24 lens, ISO200 1/20″ at f/11.0. Kase 3 stop reverse ND grad. Tripod mounted.

It’s great how a nuclear sunset can cheer me up. I’ve had a lot of problems thrown at me this week and been let down a couple of times. Then I decided to process this image and I was smiling again.

It’s one I shot a few weeks back and have been struggling to bring out the amazing colours I remember. But now I have an idea of how to do it properly. This was a quick trial for the blog and it has a couple of flaws. For example, the glow effect I used is too strong on the rocks, most obviously the one in the centre. It’s made the image look a little like HDR even though it’s not. I had intended to use it on the distant hills and sky, but my masking was a little shoddy.

I captured the image on the Fuji X-T2 and used a Kase Wolverine 3 stop Reverse Grad on the sky. That really is an amazing filter. Post processing was in On1 Photo RAW 2018, but I do need to make some further adjustments as well as be a little more careful.

The other news from this week is Adobe Lightroom Classic CC version 7.3 has been released. There are a few enhancements which frustratingly move some important sliders to new locations. There’s also a couple of changes that seem to be flagging future developments. If you want to know what’s happened I published a video to YouTube earlier.

If you want to Subscribe to my free YouTube Channel use this link (https://goo.gl/GCZq33).

I hope you enjoy the video and have a great weekend.

DxO Photolab and DNG

John Rylands Library, Manchester.
John Rylands Library, Manchester. Fuji X-T2, 10-24mm at 12mm, ISO800, 1/3″ at f/7.1. Handheld leaning on the stair handrail for support.

I have been experimenting with DxO Photolab again. I really like the software but before I can commit to buying it, I need it to support the Fuji XTrans RAW file format. If I can’t process the Fuji X-T2 files, it’s only going to work for a fraction of the images I shoot.

Then I had an idea. What if I convert the RAW file to DNG first using Iridient XTransformer. I felt sure I had used a much earlier version of DxO to process RAW files.

Unfortunately, my excitement was short lived. DxO Photolabs couldn’t read the file.

So instead of writing about a great work around, I’m going to share an image shot with the Fuji X-T2 and converted in Lightroom. This has then had a little post processing with On1 Photo Effects to emphasise the shadows. The stars around the lights were enhanced very slightly using Topaz Star Effects.