landscape

Friday Image No.87

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Sony RX10, ISO80, f/5.6, 1/640". 0.6 ND Grad on the sky
Sony RX10, ISO80, f/5.6, 1/640″. 0.6 ND Grad on the sky

I keep having this odd feeling that I am running out of images (I haven’t been able to shoot much recently). I have this feeling that I don’t really like too much of my recent work and that it won’t endure. But when I go back about a year that I start to find images that I like. Here is one example of yet another moorland scene. This is taken on the descent from Black Hill heading towards the Woodhead Pass. Black Hill can be reached from my home by walking across Saddleworth Moor but you need to be ready for a 35-40km hike (round trip) so it’s not something I do regularly.

This particular shot was taken around this time last year with the Sony RX10. The lighting really appealed to me at the time but then I could never capture the mood in post processing. It’s only now that I seem to be able to accept the very dark tones and gritty feel of the image. I doubt this will appeal to a lot of people but it does sum up the drama of the area well.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Friday Image No. 85

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The view from Blackstone Edge. Sony RX10 3 shot stitch.
The view from Blackstone Edge. Sony RX10 3 shot stitch.

As regular visitors will know, I recently decided to pursue a personal project to document the moorland near to my home and share some of the views from the area. Today’s image is another from the series taken with the Sony RX10 which I am liking more and more these days. It’s right at the limit of the 200mm lens and I was struggling to hold the camera as steady as I would have liked. Despite this the image prints very nicely at A3 and is actually 15” x 37” as it’s a 3 shot stitch.

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

Friday Image No. 84

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Sony RX10, ISO80, f/6.3, 1/400".
Sony RX10, ISO80, f/6.3, 1/400″.

Last weekend we had snow and a reasonable amount at that. So I did what I usually like to do in the snow and went for a long walk in the hills. With my new found project of moorland views I headed up onto the moors to join the Pennine Way.

Now to reach the Pennine Way from my house you have to cross the moors where there is a reasonable trail unless its covered by a foot of snow or possibly more. Well I can vouch for the fact that we were the first people to walk that trail since it had snowed the previous day because there were no footprints anywhere. And despite knowing the route very well having walked it many times, it does get pretty tricky when it starts snowing and visibility is down to around 20m. And if that wasn’t bad enough I was wearing new glasses that turned that dark I could barely see my feet.

In the end a 22Km walk took 6 hours but I did get some rather nice shots to add to my project, including this one. I hope you like it and have a great weekend.

Hidden Gems

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Boat study at Heswall Marina. Panasonic GX1 converted to Infrared. ISO160, 45mm lens, 1/50" at f/10.
Boat study at Heswall Marina. Panasonic GX1 converted to Infrared. ISO160, 45mm lens, 1/50″ at f/10.

Yesterday I finally decided to sell my Panasonic GX1 that’s been converted to shoot infrared. The cameras been sat in a bag since I had the EM5 converted and whilst I thought it would be a good backup, I need the money for a new project (more on that in the future).

Whilst advertising it on eBay I decided to look through my back catalogue for some example images to show what an Infrared conversion can do when processed. I can’t believe how many shots I really like and that I have overlooked. Again, this is an example of distancing yourself from the event of taking the image.

I don’t know why but I particularly like this cluttered shot of the boats at Heswall Marina on the Wirral.

Hope you like it as well.

Friday Image No. 83

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Sony RX10, ISO80, f/6.3, 1/320"
Sony RX10, ISO80, f/6.3, 1/320″

For this week’s Friday image, I thought that I would share another scene from my recently adopted moorland project. I think I’m going to title the project “Views from the moors”.

I realise this image might not appeal to many people but I like it for a very specific reason. When you are walking on the moors they are largely flat and featureless, but with a sky that can go on for miles. And what I really like about this vast sky feeling is that because of the and their flatness of the moors, you feel very close to the clouds. I hope the image conveys some sense of this feeling to you.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Printing Weirdness

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Forest Scene. Olympus EM5, ISO200, f/6.3, 1/15" handheld.
Forest Scene. Olympus EM5, ISO200, f/6.3, 1/15″ handheld.

I want to share a very frustrating printing experience with you in case anyone has any ideas about how to resolve it.

I have been printing using an Epson 3880 printer for around 3 years now using Lightroom as the host software. During this time, I have regularly switched between Gloss and Matte inks for the different paper types. Recently I made the switch from a Matte surface paper to Baryta (which requires Gloss ink). At this time, I made a Matte paper print then immediately switched to Gloss to compare the results.

In making this switch I was careful to reconfigure the printer as I have done many times. I even have the setups for both papers saved to allow for this switching. Both papers are profiles using profiles I created and I know to be accurate.

When I made these two prints, the Matte print was perfect but the Baryta print is completely wrong, to the point it looks like one of the black inks has run out (it hasn’t). You can see the result below. Nothing changed between making the two prints other than the printer switched itself between Matte and Gloss black ink.

Scan showing poor colour balance
Scan showing poor colour balance

My first reaction was to recheck all the settings and these were fine. I then ran an ink check which showed no problems but I carried out a head cleaning just to be certain. This made no difference. After a lot of frustrating failures, I decided to switch back to Matte paper. Guess what; this was also exhibiting the problem.

Now for the weird bit. The problem only occurs when printing from Lightroom. All other software including Photoshop prints fine. Here is an example of the same image printed on the same piece of Matte paper, one image from Lightroom and one from Photoshop.

Side by side print comparison. Lightroom is on the right.
Side by side print comparison. Lightroom is on the right.

I have checked the Adobe forums and help and it appears a few people have experienced the issue. What I can’t find is a resolution. There was a suggestion that uninstalling and re-installing Lightroom fixed it, but not for me.

So far I have tried uninstalling and reinstalling Lightroom, the print driver and the printer profiles. I have even gone as far are recreating the printer profiles but the problem persists. If anyone has any suggestions I would be interested to hear.

There is however a silver lining to this cloud. I decided to go back to using Qimage as my printer software and the results are much nicer and of a higher quality when compared to Lightroom. I suspect I will stick with Qimage even if I solve the Lightroom problem.

Thanks for reading.

A Personal Project

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Moorland near to Blackstone Edge.
Moorland near to Blackstone Edge.

Sometimes it can be hard as a photographer to keep your motivation up and I think this is especially true with Landscape Photography where the weather is often uncooperative. This is where the personal project comes in.

Having a personal project helps you find the motivation to get out and shoot. But even then it can be difficult if your project isn’t something accessible and near to where you live. I personally have been searching for something near to home for some time but without success. Then it dawned on, I have the moorland of Saddleworth all around.

Now if you have ever tried shooting moorland, you will know that it can be some of the bleakest, depressing and most challenging of subjects. I have tried many times to shoot the area but failed miserably (unless it’s been snowing). But that’s before I was trying to shoot a project.

Once I resigned myself to multiple visits, I suddenly found a degree of patience that I hadn’t experienced before. No longer was I looking for that single amazing shot. Instead I was looking for scenes that would allow me to explore and represent the moors.

I now have a project “Views from T’ Moors”.