At the weekend, I did something I haven’t done before. I headed up into the hills behind Dovestones reservoir for photography. Now I need to qualify that statement as I have taken plenty of photographs in the area. The difference this time is that I was heading out for the purpose of photography and nothing else. Usually when I take photos here, I’m out walking and happen to have a camera with me.
The problem when you’re out walking is that you have a different primary purpose. You may pause for a few seconds or even minutes to grab a shot, but it can’t compare to dedicated photography. The most noticeable difference for me this weekend was that I would leave the path regularly to find the right viewpoint as well as the best angles and composition. This probably seems obvious but I hadn’t previously realised how wedded to the path I was when walking.
The image above, which is one from the weekend is a good example. To reach this you need to leave the path and scramble over some rocks. You would never achieve this view or vantage point by keeping to the path, even though it’s only around 100m from the path. What it’s made me realise is that whilst I have always maintained that this is a difficult area to photograph, the problem was my approach. I’m now wondering how many other good locations I have missed because I had the wrong primary purpose.
I should also say a big thanks to Dave who was the reason I ventured up to this location in the first place. He had wanted to photograph the Trinnacle rock for a long time (that image is still to come). Although I was never keen to photograph in the area (because I thought it was difficult and I live here) I said I would take him as it can be tricky to find. If it hadn’t been for this I would possibly never have opened my mind to the possibility.
I suspect many of you, like me are guilty of ignoring the landscape on our doorstep.
Very recently I bought a book covering different photo locations in the Peak District (http://amzn.to/2eSTEEk). As I started to flip through the book, I thought I recognised a couple of locations. Sure enough, there was a section on locations near to where I live and the book was talking enthusiastically about the area.
Looking at the images, I started to see the area with new eyes. I actually have some great photo locations on my doorstep but I seem to be ignoring them. To put this right, I thought I would share this image shot from Alderman Hill, looking across the valley. I took this on a walk from my house (only a couple of miles). Apparently, you can shoot some great sunrises and sunsets here.
I’m going to make an early New Year’s resolution. Over the next 12 months I’m going to shoot more images nearer to home and cut down on the travel.
It’s almost a year since I purchased a used Fuji X-T1 and Fujinon 18-135 lens. I loved the X-T1 and fairly quickly upgraded to the X-T2. The Fujinon 18-135 was though a complete disappointment.
I remember returning home following the first outing where I had shot the scene above. I downloaded the images to my computer to review, but something didn’t look quite right. I zoomed in to 100% and to my horror the image looked odd. It was kind of soft without any camera shake. In the words of my wife, it looked like a watercolour painting.
After a lot of investigation with different RAW converters, I concluded the 18-135 wasn’t a good lens. I had read a lot of similar stories on the internet and had read a lot of reports which said it was the weakest in the Fuji line up. In the end, I returned the lens and invested in the 16-55 and 55-200.
Recently, I decided to have another try with the 18-135, purchasing a new example. Initial test shots appeared promising but it’s not until you use a lens in the field that you understand its weak points.
I have now had a couple of outings with the lens and have concluded that I love it. Sure, I would like to go to 24mm equivalent at the wide end, but you can’t have everything. I’m really enjoying the results and the earlier image sharpness problems seemed to have vanished with this particular lens. It isn’t the best performing Fuji lens in my line up by a long way but it has other redeeming features that mean I’m keeping it this time.
The heather is out. I captured this last Sunday in the Peak District using the Fuji X-T2. It’s processed in Lightroom using the Provia colour profile (set under Camera Calibration in the Develop tab). As usual, it didn’t take more than a couple of tweaks to finish the image. That’s what I love about the Fuji profiles. That reminds me, I need to update the Fuji firmware.
Have a great weekend and hope the weather forecast is better than it is here.
When I purchased my first Fuji camera (an XT1 which has since been sold), I bought a used 18-135 Fuji lens to accompany it. At the time, I was apprehensive because a lot of the lens reviews said the lens was poor and not of the usual Fuji quality. Despite this I pushed ahead and bought the lens, largely based on the excellent user reviews and the fact 18-135 is such a useful focal range. I reasoned that the results from lens test charts are often quite different to real world experience, so it was worth the risk.
Following the purchase, I ran into a number of other problems. Some were relating the lens whilst others were probably due to Adobe RAW processing problems (now largely resolved). Ultimately, I ended up returning the lens because the performance was quite poor, just as many of the lens charts had predicted.
Following this incident, I purchased the XT-2 which is a lovely camera to use. It came with an 18-55 lens which is good. I also purchased the 10-24mm, 16-55mm and 50-140mm lenses which are excellent. The problem with the 50-140 is that whilst the image quality is exceptional, it’s a big and heavy lens. I did for a while own a used 55-200mm lens which is smaller but I traded for the 50-140mm lens following image quality issues.
What I found myself wanting was a single lens that I could use most of the time unless I was looking for optimal quality. I was back to wondering about the 18-135 and if it was worth buying a new one, especially when someone I knew bought one and loved it.
I’m sure you have guessed by now that I purchased a new 18-135. So far, the results seem very promising. I have only used it for one outing but it’s a lovely lens to use. The results are also better than the original used lens I had purchased. The colour and contrast from the lens are nice whilst the image sharpness across the frame is good. The only slight deficiency is that I don’t think it has quite the capability to resolve distant detail that I would like, but then I’m comparing it to a much more expensive lens.
Hopefully I will be able to share more images from this lens in the future.
At the end of a long week, I’m back to looking through my archive of images and spotted this one. This is Thirlmere in the Lake District. It’s captured using my Fuji XT-2 and Fuji 16-50 lens. The more I use this camera the more I like the capabilities. It’s very well design and the image quality is excellent. The dynamic range seems good as well with plenty of details in the shadow which can be recovered.
I hope you like the image and have a great weekend.
It’s been another hectic and busy week. Wednesday evening was spent over at Llandudno Photographic Society giving a presentation on Landscape Photography and editing with Nik tools. Thank you very much to everyone who attended for giving me a great welcome.
Following this, it was over to Penmon the following morning to shoot some beach detail. Unfortunately, this was a complete failure as the video (hopefully coming soon) will demonstrate.
One thing that has worked out well this past week though is the new, improved website infrastructure. In the past I have received a few complaints about the slow speed of Lenscraft in some countries. I have tried all sorts of things to correct this but never seem to be completely successful. I can see that the UK and some European countries perform well but people in Australia have really been suffering.
Now I think I have cracked it by moving the site onto CloudFlare. The bounce rate (% of people who land on the site and then leave without doing anything) has fallen dramatically. I’m also seeing countries such as Australia, Canada and Brazil spend much more time. It’s early days but I am hopeful. Best of all, the site security is also reinforced.
With the week being so busy, I decided I wanted to share a very minimal image. I spotted this one when out for a walk with my wife. I shot it back in February and then ignored it. Now seeing it again, I quite like it. I also like the way that the Fuji RAW files need only a few tweaks in Lightroom to make them shine.