My last post was back at the end of September. At the time I said I was taking a few weeks out but didn’t explain why. Now that I’m back I can share that I have been down in New Zealand which is where I captured the above image. I’m not going to say too much as I’m suffering from jet lag and finding it hard to be coherent.
For those of you who don’t like black and white, here is the colour version prior to conversion.
Personally, I like the colour version best. I would be interested to hear what others think.
I hope you like both images and have a great weekend.
Exposure from Alien Skin is one of my long-time favourite processing tools and yesterday they launched Exposure X4. I’ve already got my upgrade and I can see a few enhancements and new tools. You can find out more about the enhancements on the Alien Skin website where you will also find a free trial version to download.
Despite the new tools and features, I’m not really blown
away by any of them and I didn’t know if they justified the price of the
upgrade. The Smart Collections is a nice addition and I can see Exposure is becoming
more of a Lightroom replacement, but it’s not exciting me. Then I found the
exception which is hard to quantify; Alien Skin has just described it as RAW
Having processed the shot you see above with the software I
thought that’s not bad. The RAW file came from a Nikon D800, so I thought I
would try some RAW files from the Fuji. And that’s when I the results stopped
me dead. The RAW conversions are incredibly clean. There isn’t a wiggly worm
pattern anywhere to be seen and the detail is incredible. Even RAW files shot
with the 18-135 lens look amazingly sharp and detailed.
If you’re a Fuji RAW file shooter, do look at the trial
version of Exposure. I would be interested to know if others also like the
Tomorrows YouTube Video
To celebrate Exposure X4’s launch I decided to answer the
question I’m often asked about Exposure “what’s a good workflow”. The video
will demonstrate this using Exposure X4 and goes live around 15:30 UK time.
Yesterday the weather forecast was promising to be good. It was cold, around 2 degrees Celsius with sunny intervals. It looked ideal weather for a short walk with my camera and probably worth driving out a little. After flicking through a few walking books, we decided to drive over to Crowden.
I suspect many of you reading this won’t know Crowden. It’s in the Peak District, located on the Woodhead Pass. If you’re travelling from Manchester to Sheffield along the pass, you come to a series of rather impressive Reservoirs a few miles past the turning for Glossop. Crowden is near to these.
The reservoirs do remind me a little of Ladybower on the Snake Pass (also going from Glossop to Sheffield) but the landscape is different. Ladybower although man mad appears pretty where the reservoirs at Crowden feel somehow darker and more foreboding.
This particular walk takes you along the banks of the reservoirs passing over one dam and then back across another. After this there is a gradual but sustained walk up the surrounding valley hills on one side. This eventually tops out to the moors, with some spectacular views across the valley and the Woodhead Pass.
Unfortunately for me the weather didn’t match the forecast. Instead it remained rather damp with a hazy mist covering the hills. There was the odd shaft of light breaking through the clouds in the distance, but nothing more. Had you told me these would be the conditions before I set off, I wouldn’t have bothered with the drive. But having already driven to Crowden we carried on. And I’m very pleased we did.
Although the conditions seemed poor photographically, I quickly came to appreciate the soft light that was being created by the most. Rather than viewing the scene with my Fuji X-T2 in colour, I switched it to monochrome, using the “Across Yellow” profile for additional contrast. I was completely taken aback by how good some of the images appeared on the back of the Fuji.
One tip that seems to work for me is to use the screen on the back of the camera to help visualise possible finished images. If I look through the viewfinder I don’t get this same inspiration. Instead I see something that looks more like the unprocessed RAW file. That’s why I often use the back of the camera unless the lighting conditions are tricky, in which case I switch to the viewfinder.
Overall, I managed a few shots that I find quite pleasing and I will include some of these in future blog posts. Surprisingly, quite a lot of these work just as well if not better in colour; the image at the top of this blog post is one example. The reservoir view above is another.
If your interested, the book I used was the Pathfinder Peak District Walks. My copy is out of print and has been replaced by the Pathfinder Peak District Outstanding Circular Walks book. The walk is number 21 in this book. Surprisingly the view on cover of the book is taken from near the start walk (it’s a different cover from the original book).