Tag Archives: Landscape Photography

Landscape Photo Editing Workflow Mini-Series

Landscape Photo Editing Workflow Mini-Series

Last week I mentioned that I had published the first two videos in a new mini-series. This week I recorded and published the remaining two. If you haven’t seen these, they explain and demonstrate my simplified four-stage workflows for editing landscape photos:

  1. Assessing the Image.
  2. RAW Conversion.
  3. Photo Enhancements.
  4. Applying Special Effects.

Here’s the link to the playlist on YouTube which includes all four videos.

If you have suggestions for tools to include in future mini-series, please add a comment to the videos.

Friday Image No.226

Near to Surprise View in the Peak District National Park. Fuji X-T3, Fuji 16-55 at 17mm. ISO160, 5″ at f/11.0. 0.6 (2 stop) ND graduated filter. Tripod mounted.

Last weekend was excellent weather for photography. Unfortunately, I wasn’t out taking photos but rather attending a drystone walling course. Thanks to our efforts one of the local farmers now has a new 70’ stone wall and I have a new hobby (along with learning to play Bluegrass Banjo).

So instead of a very different image, this is another shot of the heather. I shot this a couple of days after the photo from last week.

As with the previous photo I shared, I shot this around 10-15 minutes after the sun had set. Notice how the heather seems to glow with the diffused, soft light. Despite this, I still had to use a 2 stop ND grad on the sky to try to balance the exposure. There’s also some nice movement in the heather and grass which has helped to soften it.

When I came to process the image, I also had a few problems. To create the best exposure that I could, but retain the feel of the image, I had to create three separate exposure from the RAW file. I then blended these (in selected areas) using Luminosity Blending techniques. After that, the processing was like that demonstrated in the video mini-series.

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

Photographing the Heather in the Peak District

It’s Friday again and I’ve managed two days photography this week. The reason, besides the weather not being too bad, is that the heather is out.

Both shoots were in the afternoon and both in the Peak District. The first was Bamford Edge where I captured this shot. The other was near to Surprise View, but you will need to wait to see those images.

Before I explain a little about how I captured this image I should mention the accompanying video.

Landscape Photo Editing Workflow – The Miniseries

With my latest book in proofreading, I decided to take advantage and publish a video showing my editing workflow. To do this I used another image from the same evening shoot as this one. But rather than publish a long video which may be hard to watch, I’ve broken it into a small series.

There will be four videos in total:

  1. Assessing the image.
  2. RAW Processing
  3. Nik Processing
  4. Special Effects

I’ve already released the first two and I’m planning to do the other two next week.

If you want to watch the videos, here’s a link to the playlist on YouTube. And if you haven’t already, don’t forget to subscribe to my channel.

Friday Image No.225

I shot the image for this post around 5-10 minutes after sunset and up until this point, I had been struggling. Because we were facing towards the sun and the contrast was high, most of my shots had a harsh look that I didn’t like. It was only once the sun had set below the horizon that I was able to capture the dynamic range and open the shadows. Even then I needed to use a graduated ND filter (0.9 Soft) on the sky.

Another advantage of waiting until after sunset (besides lowering the contrast range) is that the heather glows and comes to life. This isn’t always the case, but if you are facing towards the stronger light, it works well. Turn away from the light and the heather looks grey and lifeless.

In terms of the shot, this is a single image captured using RAW on the Fuji X-T3. I used a 0.9 Soft Kase Grad filter as mentioned. I also had the camera mounted on a tripod and used a cable release. The image I used for the video is like this one and I used the same approach if you want to know more.

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

Brilliant Free Luminosity Masking Tool

Godrevy Lighthouse, Cornwall.
Godrevy Lighthouse, Cornwall. Fuji X-T3, Fuji 55-200 at 55mm, ISO160, 1/12″ at f/13.0. Tripod mounted with Kase 0.9 (3 stop) Soft ND GRad filter.

This week I have another image from my recent break in Cornwall. I shot this on the same evening as the one I shared last week. The only difference was that I used a long telephoto lens to capture this image. I must admit that I was being very lazy and didn’t even move my tripod.

The reason I wanted to share this image is that I used it to illustrate my latest YouTube Video. If you haven’t seen the video, here’s the link. The video demonstrates a great free tool for Luminosity Masking in Photoshop.

This is the best free tool that I’ve found. I would even say that it’s better than some of the premium tools on the market. In fact, it’s so good that I used it extensively in my recent Luminosity Masking course.

If you’re interested in Luminosity Masking, you really should try this tool (I included the details and links in the description below the YouTube video).

August Newsletter

If you’re on my mailing list, the Lenscraft August newsletter goes out overnight.

You can also read all the newsletters on this page of my website. The August issue will appear in the list tomorrow.

Have a great weekend.

Photography with the Right Mindset

The last time I published anything to this blog was the 5th July. Apologies for that but I decided to take a holiday and headed off to Cornwall. The scenery there is spectacular but looking through my images (yes I was still working) everything looks like a stock photo. Nice if you received them on a postcard but you wouldn’t say it was great photography.

I think the problem was that although this was a holiday, I was still taking photos. And whilst I was taking photos, I was thinking about how I could use the images. If I’m completely honest with myself, when I took most of my photos I was thinking about stock usage which raises two interesting points:

  1. When you shoot stock photography you change your approach. You approach the scene with a specific mindset that affects your framing, composition and to some degree what you shoot.
  2. After photographing with this mindset for a while it becomes difficult to switch to another. This makes it very tricky to produce creative, innovative and arty shots of the type I really want capture.

Friday Image No.223

Godrevy Lighthouse at sunset, Cornwall. Fuji X-T3 with 10-24 lens. Full details below.

The reason I mention the point about getting your mindset right is because of this Friday photo. Having carried a camera with me most of the days, I decided to head out one evening for the sunset. The weather looked promising, so I headed over to Godrevy Lighthouse. I planned my arrival with an hour to scout out the location and find a shot. This should have been plenty of time to find something good.

Actually, it was plenty of time, it’s just that I couldn’t see any great shots. That’s why I ended up with this OK shot rather than something more creative. Yes, it’s nice, but it’s what I class as a typical postcard or calendar shot. My mind was still in the mode of shooting stock photography. I hadn’t given it time to switch over to being innovative which is one of my big problems.

If you’re interested in the technical details of the shot here they are:

  • Fuji X-T3 with Fuji 10-24 lens at 14.5mm.
  • 14” exposure, at f/13.0 at ISO160.
  • Kase Wolverine 0.9 (3 stop) Reverse ND Grad and Kase 6 stop ND filter.
  • Tripod mounted with a cable release.
  • RAW converter Capture One Fuji (see why I’m switching to Capture One).

If you like the shot do let me know in the comments. Personally, I’m undecided.

Have a great weekend.

Death Valley Revisited

Friday Image No.220

Zabriskie Point, Death Valley. Panasonic GX1, Panasonic 14-45 lens, ISO160, 1/60″ at f/8.0

Over the past week, I’ve restarted work on a new edition of my Essential Photoshop book. When I wrote the original book, I wanted it to be version independent and work with old and new versions of Photoshop alike. I even illustrated it using Photoshop CS5. Following a few requests, I’ve decided to revise the book to create Essential Photoshop CC, based on the 2019 version. Importantly, I’m creating a print version of the book as well.

One of the difficulties in creating a print edition and even a new eBook version for that matter is image resolution. What used to be the maximum eBook image resolution on Amazon doesn’t satisfy customers just a few years later. It’s also too low a resolution to print. This means I need to recreate many of the original screenshots which involves a lot of reprocessing. And that’s where I found this week’s Friday Image.

This is the image I use to demonstrate tonal correction using Photoshop Curves, although it’s a colour image in the book. As I processed the scene I thought “I bet that looks great in black and white and so I ran it through Nik Silver Efex Pro. I don’t think I’ve created a masterpiece, but I do like it and there’s potential when I have more time.

I can’t tell you too much about taking the shot other than it was Zabriskie Point in Death Valley one afternoon in March. The weather was dull and a little hazy which created a low contrast scene. I know from the camera data that I used a Panasonic GX1 with a Panasonic 14-45mm lens at 45mm. Given the weather conditions and composition, I doubt I used any filters and I would have shot it handheld.

What I do remember very clearly though were the large groups of photographers travelling around the park, shooting locations like this. They all had huge cameras, tripods and lenses and on more than a few occasions would push straight past, even standing directly in front of me to set up. I even had a few ask me about my “quaint little camera” and suggest upgrading it to something better (bigger).

I really miss that little camera and lens.

Have a great weekend.

Friday Image on Saturday – oops

The Scottish Highlands. Four image stitch using a Fuji X-T3 and 50-200 lens. ISO160, 1/25″ at f/11.0. Tripod mounted and Kase 0.9 ND Soft Grad filter.

I’m starting with an apology for not posting this week’s Friday Image on a Friday.

The past week has been rather frantic with quite a few time critical things:

  1. The Lenscraft June newsletter needed finishing and publishing. If you haven’t subscribed, you can read it here (https://lenscraft.co.uk/photography-tutorials/read-lenscraft-in-focus-photography-newsletter/).
  2. This week’s YouTube video tutorial explaining how to use the Nik Collection from Capture One needed publishing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XipDxh7tlbM&t=19s).
  3. I had to launch my new Luminosity Masking course. The course is only a month late but, in my defence, it’s almost 5 hours of video. You can find out more and watch three preview lessons here (https://lenscraft.teachable.com/p/the-photographers-guide-to-using-luminosity-masks/).
  4. Unusually I needed to prepare next week’s YouTube video a week in advance. This is a big review, but I can’t reveal any more at this time. The video goes out on Wednesday at 14:15 UK time so if you don’t already subscribe to my YouTube channel you may want to consider it.

But let’s get back to the image.

This is yet another image from my Scotland trip. I shot it just after dawn and as you can see the sun is just creeping up over the horizon. It’s a stitch panoramic created from 4 shots with the X-T3 in a horizontal format.

I had the camera mounted on a tripod that I had spent quite a bit of time getting level. This allowed me to pan the camera across the range without it dipping to one side. This was important because the lens, a Fuji 55-200 was at the 200mm end because I was so far from the mountain range. I had my doubts that this would create a usable image, but I’m really pleased with the finished result.

In terms of filters, I was using a Kase 0.9 (3 stop) soft graduate over the sky. Ordinarily, I don’t like to use a filter when there is a lot of clear sky in the frame as it can make it appear unnatural. But in this shot, I needed anything to help me prevent the image from having too much contrast. I also had to tackle the problem of potential underexposure which I did by having the camera in manual mode.

The finished image is sizable. If I printed it at 240dpi it would be 47” x 17” without any resizing.

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

Shooting the Dawn Landscape at Mellon Udrigle

Pre-dawn at Mellon Udrigle, Scotland. Fuji X-T3, 16-55 Fuji Lens, ISO160, 20″ at f/11.0. Kase Wolverine 0.9 Soft Grad filter. Tripod mounted.

I said in my previous post that I had a few more images from my recent Scotland trip. This shot is one of them. I took it at a location called Mellon Udrigle which was around an hour drive from Ullapool in daylight. That might not sound like much but when you want to be in position by 6:00am, it makes for a long day. The drives also lengthened by the need to keep a look out for deer which emerge from the side of the road at an alarming frequency.

Putting all these difficulties aside, this was an excellent location to visit. I took the shot around 20 minutes before sunrise when the sky was nicely coloured by the sun below the horizon and everything was a strong blue/pink. I used a 0.9 (3 stop) Kase Wolverine soft grad filter on the sky and a 16-55 Fuji lens on my Fuji X-T3. The shutter speed was 20” at ISO160 and f/11.0.

I think this demonstrates the need to start shooting before the sun comes up. Once the sun came up the colours turned quickly to orange and yellow and the contrast in the scene increased sharply.

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