Tag Archives: Landscape Photography

Better Panorama Stitching

Higgor Tor Panorama at sunrise, Peak District
Higger Tor sunrise in the Peak District National Park. Fuji XT3 with 16-80 lens. See below for full details.

It’s Friday again and I want to share another image from a recent trip.

Last week I shared a shot from Burbage Edge in the Peak District, looking back to Higger Tor. I shot the image at the end of the day, but this image was from earlier that morning on Higger Tor.

Ordinarily, I like to get to the edge of the Tor, in amongst the rocks. This time I decided to walk around a little more which is when I noticed the sun coming up behind this rock formation. I realised that if I timed it right, I could create a starburst effect with the sun.

This was much easier said than done. The lens I used was the Fuji 16-80 with a 3 stop soft ND Grad filter. I attached this to a Fuji XT3 body mounted on a tripod before stopping the aperture down to f/18.0 (you need a small aperture to create the starburst). Now I just needed to line up the camera on the tripod and that was the hard part.

I just couldn’t seem to line everything up to create the starburst with a good exposure. I kept trying and each time I thought I had it, the effect vanished. The sun then started to fade as the fast-moving clouds came in and I started to panic. I thought I wasn’t going to get the shot.

Finally, everything came together, and I managed two frames. It was only when I came to process the images that I realised in my excitement, I hadn’t set the camera to manual exposure. I left it on Aperture Priority and the second image was a stop brighter than the first. One image was a 0.6-second exposure whilst the other was 0.3-seconds (both at ISO160). Fortunately, I was able to manually adjust the image in the RAW converter before stitching.

You can see the two starting images as well as how I stitched them, in my latest YouTube videos. One demonstrates the processing in Adobe Photoshop and the other in Affinity Photo. Both videos include the RAW processing in Capture One 20 before the stitching.

Panorama Stitching in Photoshop

Panorama Stitching in Affinity Photo

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

Landscape Photography Advice from 4 Images

When I posted last week’s photo, I mentioned that I had been out all day and only just arrived home. This week I want to share an image from last week’s trip.

Higger Tor and Carl Wark from Burbage Edge in the Peak District.
Higger Tor and Carl Wark from Burbage Edge in the Peak District.

I often shoot from Higger Tor in the Peak District. It’s a great location, partly because of the interesting rocks but also because you have an unobscured view of the sun all day. Unfortunately, when I shoot from Higger Tor you can’t appreciate what it looks like because you don’t see it from a distance. That’s why I like today’s photo.

I shot this image from Burbage Edge and Higger Tor is the right-hand hill of the two in the mid-distance. The other hill to the left is Carl Wark, which is another great location to shoot Higger Tor (in the right conditions).

The other reason that I wanted to share this photo is that it’s one of four images in my latest YouTube video. In the video I share four of my images, including this one, to make important points about landscape photography. I also include a few other tips which could help anyone wanting to shoot better landscapes. Here’s the link to watch the video (https://youtu.be/QmFFPLpC3mU). It’s a little different to my usual photo editing demonstration but I hope you still like it.

As for the photo in this post, I shot it with my Fuji X-T3 and Fuji 16-80 lens. A few people have asked about my thoughts on this lens, so I’ve written a real-life lens review after 4 months of using it. The ISO for the shot was set to ISO160 which is the base ISO for this camera. At f/13.0 this produced a shutter speed of 1/9”. I mounted the camera on a tripod and used a 2 stop Kase Hard ND Grad on the sky. If you’re wondering why the light is so nice, you’ll need to watch the video.

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

The Colour of Atmosphere

Padley Gorge, the Peak District. Fuji X-T3, 16-80mm lens at 32mm. ISO160, 1.6″ at f/13.0

In last weeks blog post I shared an image together with my thoughts about the direction of landscape photography. I liked the image I shared because it was very natural and could mark a new direction in my work. The post appears to have resonated with a few people who commented positively.

This week I want to share another image that’s a departure from my usual style. As before the colour are strong but not through saturation or strong contrast. In fact, this image doesn’t have a lot of contrast at all because of the mist.

What really struck me when taking this shot is that I was able to clearly imagine the finished image. The conditions were quite dull and there was a lot of blue light from the mist in the trees. But the strongest colour seemed to be the green from all the moss; it was literally glowing. I think it was this combination of blue and green that created the atmosphere which helped fuel my imagination. It feels to have created the perfect atmosphere for these strange and twisted trees.

When I came to process the image, it made me think about how much the colour in an image can affect our perception of the mood. I realise I’m stating the obvious, particularly if you have an artistic background but I think we photographers don’t think about this enough. I for one will be considering the colour palette of my images more in the future. I’ll also be looking for ways to control this during capture and post-processing. It could well be something that I want to develop much more.

The image is a single frame captured two days ago with my Fuji X-T3 and Fuji 16-80 lens. Shot with the camera tripod-mounted at ISO160 with a shutter speed of 1.6” at f/13.0. It was around an hour after sunrise.

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

Instagram and Friday Image No.231

Redwood trees in Whakarewarewa Forest near to Rotorua, New Zealand. Fuji X-T2, 18-135 lens, ISO1600, 1/8″ @ f/7.1.

I’ve had an Instagram account since early 2012 but never really bothered with it. In fact, the only reason I signed up was that I liked some of the filter effects. Recently though I’ve started sharing some of my photos on Instagram and I’m enjoying it more than I thought; you’ll find me on there as lenscraftphotos.

I’ve started to post something most weekdays (unless I’m snowed under with work), which is a lot better than I ever managed on Flickr. But what I really like is that it’s prompting me to look through my older photos to find and reprocess shots I like. This image of sun peeping through the trunks of redwood trees in Whakarewarewa Forest is a good example.

I shot this handheld with a Fuji X-T2 and Fuji 18-135 lens, which you can read about in my Lenscraft review. It was quite dark in the forest which forced me to shoot at ISO1600 to achieve a 1/8” shutter speed. That’s about the limit of what I could handhold. I also needed the aperture set to f/7.1 and underexposed by 1/3 stop. These settings allowed me to achieve a steady shot with the necessary depth of field.

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

Friday Image No.230

Ladybower Reservoir, Peak District. Fuji X-T3, Fuji 55-200mm lens, ISO160, 1/20″ at f/13.0. Kase 0.9 ND Grad (soft) filter on the sky. Tripod mounted.

It’s been a good year for shooting in the Peak District. If I look back a few years, I almost never ventured into the Peaks. Instead, I preferred to make a 2 hour drive up the motorway to the Lake District. These days I would much rather drive 45 minutes to locations like this. Ladybower reservoir.

My original intention in visiting this spot was to shoot the heather in the evening sun. But as the sun became lower the light on the distant water and hillside caught my attention. I couldn’t resist popping the 55-200 lens on the Fuji X-T3 and taking a shot.

Peak District Processing Miniseries

If you haven’t already watched these, I’ve now produced two sets of videos demonstrating my photo editing workflow. Both use images shot in the Peak District and I’ve now posted these to my website in short articles.

Series 1 – Bamford Edge Heather (Capture One, Photoshop and the Nik Collection)

Series 2 – Peak District Millstones (Affinity Photo and Nik Silver Efex Pro)

I hope you like the video and image.

Have a great weekend.

Friday Image No. 229

Curbar Edge after sunset, Peak District. Fuji X-T3, Samyang 12mm lens, ISO160, 2.1″ at f/8.0. 0.9 Soft ND Grad filter and tripod.

It’s Friday again and I’ve spent the entire week trying to layout the print version of my latest book. The desktop publishing software I’m using launched only recently and I’m hitting quite a few bugs. Given how frustrating this is I decided to stop to share an image instead.

I shot this last weekend at Curbar Edge in the Peak District and there are a few points I want to highlight:

  1. This is around 15 minutes after sunset, which is fast becoming my favourite time. The bright white dot in the sky is the moon. There’s something very nice about the light after sunset.
  2. The sun set immediately behind me which dramatically reduced the dynamic range of the scene. Even then I used a 0.9 (3 stop) Soft ND Grad filter on the sky.
  3. The heather in the scene looks great but it’s dead. The reason it appears pink is because of the magenta colour of the light. That’s what happens shortly after sunset when you place the sun behind you.

The key takeaway for me from this image is that it pays to understand how light changes depending on the time of day and angle. It would have been all too easy to have stopped shooting after sunset, or even have faced the wrong direction.

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

New Photo Editing Mini-Series

Finished example image from my latest YouTube Photo Editing Mini-Series. Peak District Millstones. Click the image to enlarge.

Due to the popularity of my first photo editing mini-series on YouTube, I’m doing a second. This time I’m processing the image you see above.

I’ve already published the first two videos:

  1. Image Assessment https://youtu.be/NCvT71cgxO8
  2. RAW Conversion (using Affinity Photo) https://youtu.be/MkSl1Rz3ENM

The other two videos in the series will follow next week.

If you missed the first mini-series, I’ve grouped and published them as a tutorial on my Lenscraft website (https://lenscraft.co.uk/photo-editing-tutorials/post-processing-landscape-photography-workflow/).

I hope you enjoy these.

Friday Image No.228

I did think about using the image above as the Friday image but decided not to. I cover the above image in the video and wanted to include a different image here.

Peak District hillside. Fuji X-T3 and 55-200 lens. Click the image to enlarge.

This is from a recent trip to the Peak District. I captured it around 40 minutes before sunset when the sun was low and the light warm. What I like, besides the lovely warm light is the contrast between the “colder” background hill and the “warmer” foreground. It’s also nice the way the solitary barn in the field acts as a focal point.

In terms of technicalities, I was using the Fuji X-T3 with the Fuji 55-200 lens set to 86mm. The camera was set to ISO160 which gave a shutter speed 1/17” at f/13. I could probably have used a wider aperture than f/13 but I wasn’t really thinking about it at the time. I was more interested in capturing the light before I lost it. I could see the sun heading for a bank of hazy cloud on the horizon which damage the crisp direct light you see here.

I mounted the camera on a tripod because the shutter speed was slow, and I didn’t use any filters. I was shooting at around 90 degrees from the sun and the shaded hillside wasn’t dark enough to require I use a filter.

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