I will start with an apology for having not posted anything over the past week. I was away in the Lake District at the start of the week and then had to get my Lenscraft Newsletter out.
Given I have been in the Lakes, I though it only fitting to share one of the images I shot.
Ordinarily when I visit the Lakes I take either the Olympus EM5 or the Sony A7r. This time I decided to be different and packed the Sony RX10 so that I wasn’t needing to switch lenses all the time. As I can carry this in a small shoulder bag, it also gave me room to fit my Hasselblad XPan + 45mm and 90mm lenses in my bag pack (together with a few rolls of film). In the end I only shot one roll of film with the XPan but managed many more shots with the RX10.
The RX10 really is starting to become my go to camera when I am out walking. I like the quality and look of the images but most of all I like the convenience of a fixed lens camera with a good focal range (24mm-200mm).
I also noticed Sony have released the RX10 MkIII which sports a 24mm-600mm lens. I have some misgivings about this move and worry that they will have made too many compromises. I think I will keep to my MkI for the time being.
Yesterday I finally decided to sell my Panasonic GX1 that’s been converted to shoot infrared. The cameras been sat in a bag since I had the EM5 converted and whilst I thought it would be a good backup, I need the money for a new project (more on that in the future).
Whilst advertising it on eBay I decided to look through my back catalogue for some example images to show what an Infrared conversion can do when processed. I can’t believe how many shots I really like and that I have overlooked. Again, this is an example of distancing yourself from the event of taking the image.
I don’t know why but I particularly like this cluttered shot of the boats at Heswall Marina on the Wirral.
For this week’s Friday image, I thought that I would share another scene from my recently adopted moorland project. I think I’m going to title the project “Views from the moors”.
I realise this image might not appeal to many people but I like it for a very specific reason. When you are walking on the moors they are largely flat and featureless, but with a sky that can go on for miles. And what I really like about this vast sky feeling is that because of the and their flatness of the moors, you feel very close to the clouds. I hope the image conveys some sense of this feeling to you.
Do you remember Velvia slide film? I used to shoot this stuff all the time. It was horribly contrasty and a pig to scan. It was however the best colour slide film for Landscapes (possibly) and pre digital, all the pro’s in the UK would rave about it.
So why am I telling you all this given digital’s “better”? I just happened to be playing around with this old image shot an a Sony R1, trying different settings in Alien Skin Exposure 6. I was actually looking at the Infrared film simulations but then thought I would check some of the colour slide settings. As soon as I hit the Velvia preset I was transported back in time.
I have to be honest though. The version you see here was toned down a little as I don’t think all you digital users are ready for full on exposure (pun intended) to Velvia. If you haven’t looked at Alien Skin Exposure it’s worth trying the free download.
I had intended to get out yesterday for a long walk (about 20 miles) as I find it helps to clear my mind. In the end the 24 hours of torrential rain and quite severe thunder storms put an end to my hopes.
Today was much better though and despite not having the time for a 20 mile hike I did manage a drive over to the Peak district and a clocked up 12 miles over the hills.
The first thing that struck me when I arrived was how low the water level was in the reservoirs. Above is one of the images I shot with the Sony RX10 and it makes me wonder if we are heading for another drought with all the nice weather we have been having.
As a side note for those of you wondering about my use of the RX10, I have tended not to use it much as I don’t find the images anywhere near as crisp and sharp as my Micro 43 cameras. Despite that the camera has a lovely feel and is a joy to use.
For this particular image I didn’t use the usual Nik sharpening tools but opted for Focal Blade. This is an excellent although quite complex sharpening filter which I have been using on and off for a number of years. I don’t know why but it appears to achieve better results than Nik Sharpener Pro with the Sony images.
The other thing I did was apply Contrast Master which is a contrast adjustment tool from the same people who produce Focal Blade (PhotoWiz). I was reasoning that the images from the Sony seem to lack contrast and pop which is easily corrected in Contrast master. Having just printed this image at A3+, the detail is excellent. It also has a very nice quality to it, very much like film.
I just thought I should try adding some grain and making another print. I’m off to experiment…
This week has just run away with me again. I think the problem (besides too much work and my mum still being ill) is that I love to experiment. I have just spent the last hour developing some Lightroom film-like presets. So I decided to save some time and share a recent image processed with one of the presets – no other adjustments, just a Lightroom preset.