Tag Archives: Landscape Photography

Editing Sunset Photos in Nik

View from the Roaches, Leek, Stafordshire. Fuji X-T3, Fuji 16-55mm lens, ISO200, 1/7″ at f/10, Kase 0.9 Soft ND Grad filter, Tripod.

In this week’s YouTube video, I shared my favourite Nik Collection filters for editing sunset photos. The image used in the video is the one above, which initially didn’t have obvious clouds and colour. The video demonstrates how you can improve most sunset photos using one of three filters in the Nik Collection.

The adjustments in the video are a little strong to ensure you can see them, but the techniques and tips are solid. I also used all three filters on the image which I wouldn’t recommend. One or two of the Nik Collection filters are all you really need.

Luminar 3 Competition

If you haven’t seen yesterday’s post, do take a moment to read it. I’m giving away a Luminar 3 license which I bought by mistake. Yes, I can be that scatter-brained. The competition’s open until the 30th April 2019 when my wife will draw the winner at random.

Friday Image No. 217

Although I’ve used the Friday Image in my YouTube video, I did want to share it. I shot it last weekend whilst meeting up with a couple of friends that I used to work with. The weather on the day wasn’t quite as forecast. The initial fog quickly burned off (unfortunately) with a clear blue sky replacing it (not a cloudy one). Then, quite quickly, a strong blue haze developed with a few wispy high clouds. The high contrast conditions were terrible for landscape photography, but we persevered.

Towards the end of the day, we grew quite hopeful that we would have a nice sunset. Unfortunately, this wasn’t to be and most of the compositions we had available didn’t work well with the conditions. The only composition that looked slightly interesting was the one you see above. I reasoned that I would be able to improve the sunset and enhance the light on the lake, by editing the photo in Nik. It isn’t a wonderful shot, but it serves a good purpose.

Have a great weekend.

Have you Seen Lightroom Enhance Details?

Snow Covered mountains on Rannoch Moore. Fuji X-T2, Fuji 10-24 lens at 11mm, ISO200, 1/340″ at f/11.0. Handheld.

Have you seen the recent Adobe Lightroom Enhance Details feature? The release in February almost passed me by but then I tested it. It isn’t perfect; some people say it’s too slow and it does produce large file sizes. BUT I suspect Adobe will develop it further in the future.

Enhance Details is a new feature that’s supposed to extract additional detail from your RAW files. I’ve tested it on a few RAW files, and I can’t see much improvement. Unless that is, you’re shooting with a Fuji. When you process the Fuji RAF files using Enhance Details you don’t get the dreaded wiggly worm effect and the image quality is very good. If you want to see my evaluation you can find it on YouTube or watch the video below.

Friday Image No.216

This week’s image is another from a recent trip to Scotland. I shot this whilst on a walk on Rannoch Moore that turned out to be a bit of a failure. We were stopped in our tracks by a river in full flow which had rather too much melt water. I managed to cross but my wife couldn’t make it (short legs). Rather than carry on alone I crossed back, and we returned to the car. Who said there’s no gentlemen left?

The image at the tp of this post is a single shot in RAW format using the Fuji X-T2 and Fuji 10-24 lens at 11mm. I didn’t use any filters as the snow on the ground did a nice job of balancing the exposure with the sky. Although there is a bright patch in the sky on the left where the sun was breaking through the cloud there isn’t any clipping. I also decided to leave it like this for a more natural look.

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

Upgrade Your Camera by Changing RAW Converters

Snow covered mountain on Rannoch Moor. Fuji X-T2 with Fuji 10-24mm lens. ISO200, F/11, 1/420".
Snow covered mountain on Rannoch Moor. Fuji X-T2 with Fuji 10-24mm lens. ISO200, F/11, 1/420″.

This week I feel the urge to highlight something to the readers of this blog. If the image quality from your camera and/or lens is disappointing you, don’t rush to change it. Instead, try a different RAW converter.

I’m seeing more and more that there’s a large variation in image quality produced by different RAW converters. You’re probably thinking there’s nothing surprising there, except it’s not necessarily one converter that comes out better than the others.

The Best RAW Converter Depends on Your Camera

As I investigate this further, what I’m finding is that a RAW converter that excels with one camera can perform poorly with another. And it’s not just the camera that seems to be a factor. Some RAW converters appear to handle some lenses better than others.

This is important. The image quality of some RAW converters with certain camera/lens combinations can fool you into thinking the lens or camera is at fault. Don’t fall into this trap.

A couple of weeks back I demonstrated this using RAW files from a Sony RX10 and RX100. This week I published this video on YouTube. It shows the results from four RAW converters, processing two Fuji X-T2 RAW files.

There are two interesting points to come out of this:

  1. The difference between the best and worst of the four RAW converters tested is significant.
  2. The best RAW converter changed with the RAW file. Although I didn’t highlight it in the video, this difference is down to the lens I used.

So, before you rush out to change that camera or lens that doesn’t quite perform, try using a few different RAW converters. It could save you a lot of money.

Friday Image No.215

I captured this week’s Friday Image in Scotland last week on the famous and Rannoch Moor. I was fortunate enough for my trip to coincide with a light snowfall. Had it been a heavy snowfall I doubt I would have thought I was lucky.

I used the Fuji X-T2 with a Fuji 10-24mm lens handheld. The pool of water you see in the foreground was really very small. It looks a lot larger than it is because I had the lens set to 11mm. To make the foreground loom large, I crouched down low and in close to the pool. I was also careful to avoid distorting the mountain with the super wide lens by keeping the back of the camera vertical. Had I tilted it the image the mountain wouldn’t have looked quite so impressive.

I didn’t use any filters for the capture as the camera could just about cope with the dynamic range of the scene. I processed the converted RAW file using a combination of Nik Color Efex, Nik Viveza and Luminosity Masks created with Lumenzia in Photoshop.

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

Friday Image No.201

iew from the Hooker Valley trail, New Zealand
View from the Hooker Valley trail, New Zealand. See text for camera settings and processing.

Last week I shared the first image from my New Zealand trip.It was a mountain scene from a trek I did along the Hooker Valley. For today’s Fridayimage I want to share another scene from the same trail. In all honesty, Icould probably share 100 images from that trail. Now that I’m semi recoveredfrom the journey, I’m seeing lots of shots I took that I really like.

This one in particular took me by surprise as I don’t recall taking it. I don’t know about you, but I tend to have a very good memory for each of the shot I take, even over a couple of years. I can’t usually recall them with crystal clarity or recognise them when I see them. That’s not the case with this one so I suspect it was a grab shot.

It’s taken using the Fuji X-T2 and a 55-200mm lens. The lens is set to 55mm and the camera was handheld. With the aperture at f/11.0 and using ISO200, I achieved a shutter speed of 1/680” which is more than fast enough to handhold. I didn’t use any filters either and this isn’t a multiple exposure, just a single RAW file.

In terms of post-capture processing, I did most of the work in Photoshop using curves and luminosity masks. I did take the image into On1Photo RAW 2019 (if you haven’t seen my review, here’s a link) but then applied the adjustments through a luminosity mask to target the mid tones. To finish I applied dodging and burning to lighten the cloud and darken the rocks in the bottom third of the frame.

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

Friday Image No.196

Peak District. Nikon D800, 16-35 Nikon lens, ISO50, f/18.0, 1.3″. Tripod, Polarising filter and 3 stop ND filter.

I do hope you aren’t getting tired of these Peak District and heather images. The season for shooting heather is past us now but I still wanted to share another photo. I captured this in the Peak District, just above the Surprise View car park. I couldn’t resist the clump of heather, trees and bracken all blowing in the wind.

It was quite tricky to find all the elements in a composition that worked where I could place a rock in the foreground. The reason I needed the rock is to emphasise the movement in the other elements and show that the camera is steady. The still rock makes a nice contrast to the foreground heather blowing in the wind.

When I shot this, I had in my mind that I would convert it to black and white. I’m not sure why but I had a black and white image in my head. Now that I’ve seen it I’ve completely changed my mind; it’s a colour image. I did briefly toy with the black and white conversion, but it looked dreadful.

To boost the image colour and exaggerate the movement I used a polarising filter and 3 stop Kase Wolverine filter. I’ve been using Kase filters for almost a year now and I must admit they have exceeded all my expectations. I do still have my Lee 100mm and Lee Seven 5 filters, but I only use the Seven 5 filters. The Seven 5 system is so convenient for the smaller format cameras.

I’m off now to continue working on the Lenscraft Newsletter for tomorrow.

I hope you have a great weekend.

Friday Image No.195

The Peak District, Nikon D800, Nikon 16-35 at 30mm, 1/3″ at f/18.0. Kase Wolverine 0.9 Soft ND Grad, Tripod.

I’ll start with an apology that I haven’t posted to the blog this week. I’ve been out taking photos (that’s what I’m supposed to do after all) and working on the Lenscraft website.

If you follow my YouTube Channel you will already have seen todays Friday Image. I won’t make any apologies for this though as I really like the shot. I’ve wanted to photograph this scene with heather for some years, but I never seem to time it quite right. This year is probably the best I’ve managed, but the heather isn’t brilliant, probably because of all the dry weather we had earlier in the year.

If you haven’t seen my video showing the processing of this shot and you’re a Nik Collection user, it’s worth watching (but I would say that). I do everything in Color Efex Pro, just to demonstrate the potential of the filters.

Now that I think about it, I probably need to reprocess the photo using more tools.

Have a great weekend.

Friday Image No.194

Bamford Edge, The Peak District.
Bamford Edge, The Peak District. Complete with flowering heather and rainbow. Nikon D800, 24-120mm lens, ISO100, 1/50″ at f/11.0. Handheld.

I was out at Bamford Edge last night with a friend. It’s somewhere that I have wanted to photograph for a long time. Despite living only 50 minutes away and walking regularly in the area, I have never been. But with the heather being out, I couldn’t miss the opportunity.

In all honesty, I wasn’t expecting much. I’ve only ever seen one shot from the area which is usually at sunset looking over to Ladybower Reservoir. But what a surprise and what a great location this is. I could have spent many more hours up there except that it went dark. I’m definitely going to be returning.

On reviewing my images, I decided I’m not going to share the usual view. Instead I have this one looking in the opposite direction.

I hope you have a great weekend. I’m off to photograph more heather.