Tag Archives: scotland

Scottish Highlands Again

Friday Image No. 221

The Highlands of Scotland at dawn. Five images stitched. Fuji X-T3, Fuji 55-200 lens at 55mm. ISO160, 1.3″ at f/11.0. 3 stop soft ND Grad.

I headed out last night to meet up in the Peak District a good friend. The intention was to visit one of the dramatic stone formations on Derwent Edge and shoot this for tonight post. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out quite as planned.

The first problem I found was the weather. It was a clear blue sky with not a cloud in sight. This doesn’t make for good images especially when you’re facing the sun.

But my bigger problem by far was that I hadn’t shot any landscapes since my trip to Scotland at the start of April. I found myself struggling to see compositions and then when I found one, I just couldn’t capture it. Looking at my images this morning, most if not all are dreadful. That’s why I’ve fallen back on yet another of my shots from Scotland, but I love this one.

I hope you like it and have a great weekend.

The Nik Collection 2 Review

Apologies if you were waiting for last week’s Friday Image that didn’t arrive. That’s because I was doing a bit of a tour around the UK and couldn’t fit everything in. Part of my problem was unexpectedly managing to lay my hands on an early release of the new Nik Collection. This allowed me to prepare a video review in advance, but I hadn’t factored that into my plans for the week. Anyway, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to have a preview.

If you haven’t seen the new release already, it’s may be worth viewing my video before deciding whether to buy the release or not.

New Website Host

The other big demand on my time has been switching website host.

Recently the company hosting my Lenscraft website was taken over by a major hosting company. Since then the performance has been very variable and I’ve received increasing numbers of errors. I therefore moved the site to a different host and whilst it’s early days the performance has improved, and the errors have vanished. Fingers crossed this continues.

Friday Image No. 219

This is another image from my Scotland trip; unfortunately, I haven’t done much photography since. I still have quite a few nice shots I haven’t shared though so I’ll keep working through them.

4 image stich using Fuji X-T3, 50-200 Lens, ISO160, 1/12″ at f/11.0 Tripod mounted, 3 stop soft ND Grad on the sly.

This image was shot from a single-track road, on top of a hill, near to Achnahaird. We spotted the view whilst doing an initial drive around the area and decided to take a chance one morning after shooting the sunrise.

I stitched the panoramic from 4 frames in Lightroom. I took these with the camera mounted on a tripod and used a 3 stop soft grad on the sky.

I hope you like the image and 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.

My New Favourite Lens for the Fuji X System

Scottish Highlands, Fuji X-T3, Samyang 12mm lens, Kase 0.9 Soft ND Grad filter. ISO160, f/8.0, 1/00″ handheld.

I have a new favourite lens for my Fuji X series cameras, but I can’t explain why. It’s the Samyang 12mm. That’s right, a Samyang lens.

It’s sharp, I mean really sharp and it feels very well made. It’s manual focus only but at 12mm, there is so much depth of field you stop it down to f/8.0, focus on infinity and click away. When you shoot into the sun, as in the image above, the Samyang creates a wonderful 6-point starburst effect. Best of all, I couldn’t see any flare.

So how much did this cost me? Just £280 from Amazon would you believe (https://amzn.to/2HQoMi6).

This lens has made me want to buy more wide-angle primes. I know it’s silly because I already have the excellent Fuji 10-24, but the prime is a joy to use in the landscape.

The Friday Image

In all honesty, I’ve lost count of the number for the Friday Images so I’m just going to keep publishing an image along with updates. It’s yet another from my Scotland Trip. I couldn’t tell you the name of this bay, but I could take you there. It was a rather opportunistic shot; we were just driving past, and I asked to stop whilst I shot this. With the Samyang 12mm of course.

If you want to see other shots from the trips with a few location details, I published this video to You Tube recently. You may recognise some of the shots but there are a few new ones that I haven’t shared.

Enjoy the video and have a great weekend.

More Landscape Photography from the Scottish Highlands

Lake Assynt, Scotland. Three shot panoramic with a Fuji X-T3. See below for full description.

Today I wanted to share another image from my recent Scotland trip. I suspect there will be a few more yet to come. Originally, I had intended this to be a black and white shot, but it doesn’t work as well when converted. The problem is that the trees become lost against the background.

To be entirely honest, it doesn’t quite work in colour either, but the scene is so tranquil that I still love it. Had I been able to, I would have liked a little more height so that I would be looking down on the island. This would have placed the trees against the water, balancing them with the reflection. Unfortunately, I was already on the highest point; such is the challenge of landscape photography.

I shot the image using a Fuji X-T3 camera. In case you’re wondering, yes, I do think it’s an improvement on the X-T2 but it’s difficult to put into words why. It just is. I was using a Fuji 18-55 lens which is the kit lens that came with my X-T2 and is simply excellent. I also used a Kase 0.9 ND Graduated filter which I inverted to darken the light reflecting off the water in the foreground (I appear to be using the Soft ND Grad filters a lot more these days). Without this the exposure became too unbalanced. I had the camera mounted on a tripod to capture three frames of 1/17” at f/11.0 using ISO160 (the base ISO on the X-T3).

I then stitched the three frames to a panoramic using Adobe Lightroom. I used the Pro Contrast filter in Nik Color Efex Pro to fine tune the colour balance after which the Detail Extractor filter to open the shadows in the land. I then enhanced the Contrast and Structure of the foreground in Nik Viveza. This may sound like a lot of processing, but the changes were all very minor and subtle.

DxO Sale and the Nik Collection Free

I had an email earlier this week from DxO announcing their 30% sale on all their products until the 14th May 19. I wanted to share it in case anyone waiting for a DxO sale had missed the announcement. Unfortunately, the sale doesn’t appear to extend to the Nik Collection which I used for editing the image above.

But did you know you can still get the Nik Collection for free?

Whilst this is the old Google edition of the software it still works well for lots of people. It also appears that it’s not common knowledge how to do this, so I’ve published an article explaining how.

That’s all for now.

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

Friday Image No. 218

Looking towards Ullapool in the Scottish Highlands. Three frames Fuji X-T3, Fuji 55-200 lens at 100mm. ISO160, 2.5″ at f/10.0. Tripod mounted with Kase 3 stop soft ND Grad filter.

I don’t have a great deal to share this week other than a recent image. The week’s flown by and I haven’t even posted a video on Youtube. Instead, I’ve been concentrating on developing my new in-depth Luminosity Masking course. I do though want to share this photograph that I shot from my recent Scottish Highlands trip.

The reason this image is important is because it’s an excellent lesson in how to shoot landscape photography. You see landscape photography is less about equipment and composition than most people think. The important things (assuming you can take a decent image) are being able to plan, understand the local conditions/changing light and make decisions based on this.

The evening I captured this photograph, we were about an hour drive from this location. We had been in position on a beach, waiting for a sunset. The weather forecast was positive and for a while the cloud cover looked like we were on for a stunning display. But then as sunset came closer the cloud started to thicken and the sun became lost. At this point we realised there was only a slim chance of a sunset remaining.

The decision to make was, do we wait it out on the beach in the hope of a sunset or head back and hope to catch the blue hour light nearer to Ullapool.

Given everything we knew about the location, the excellent blue hour light in recent days and the time it would take to drive back, we opted to leave. Fortunately, everything went to plan, and I was able to shoot this three-image stitched panoramic looking towards Ullapool. It’s exactly as I had envisaged it and I love the soft pastel colours and smoke rolling across the mountains.

So, was there a sunset at the beach? I have no idea, but I’m happy with the shot I captured.

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

Landscape Photography in the Highlands of Scotland

Sunrise in Assynt, Scotland. Fuji X-T3, Samyang 12mm lens, 1/15″ at f/11.0 and ISO160. Kase 0.9 ND Soft Grad filter. Tripod mounted.

If you were expecting a Friday image last week I apologise. I was in the highlands of Scotland for a week, trying to cram in as much landscape photography as possible. I had intended to make a post from there, but it turned out the broadband wasn’t working in the accommodation we rented. There also wasn’t any phone signal to speak of, although we found one location that had a full 4G signal. Unfortunately, that was on a hill in the middle of nowhere about an hour’s drive from the accommodation.  It’s also where I shot the photo above.

That’s right, the only time I had a phone signal that supported internet browsing was whilst taking this shot.

The location is not far from the town of Lochinver and is three frames from a Fuji X-T3 stitched in Lightroom. The lens was a Samyang 12mm and I used a 0.9 Kase Soft ND Graduated filter. The important part that’s often overlooked is that we had to get up at 4am in the morning to drive and walk to this location in time for sunrise.

Photoshop Content Aware Scale

If you would like to see another of my landscape photos from the trip, watch at my latest Youtube video.

The image I show is again a three-frame stitch from a Fuji X-T3 using the excellent Samyang 12mm lens (I love this lens). In the image the sun isn’t in the centre of the frame and the needs the left side extending to give it balance. The video shows how to do this firstly using the Photoshop Content Aware Scale command. It then compares the result with the regular Transform tool. I won’t say which was best here, but it was a surprise.

Know-How Transfer Easter Sale

I usually don’t mention software sales in the blog but I’m making an exception with Know-How Transfer. I have most of their products and find they save me time and are very good. They have a 20% sale on until midnight on the 25th April, just enter the code easter19 at the checkout.

And to be clear, I don’t have any connection with the company. I just like what they do.

I hope you have a great weekend.