Tag Archives: sunset

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.

Don’t Immediately Judge Your Photographs

Ladybower from Dewent Edge, The Peak District. Fuji X-T3, 16-55 lens, ISO160, 1/5″ at f/11.0

Friday Image No.222

Last week I wrote that I had been out, but I failed to shoot any usable images. I’ve changed my mind and decided to share this one. It’s not as I imagined at the time but there is something about the hillside that I like. What I don’t like is the strong orange of the sky, but then again that was the scene. It just goes to show that sometimes you need to get some distance from a shoot before you can appreciate your images. I will probably need to go through these again in a few weeks once the memory of the evening has faded.

I captured this scene from Derwent Edge in the Peak District. The body of water you can see is Ladybower reservoir. I haven’t used any filters but did mount the camera, a Fuji X-T3, on a tripod. The lens is a Fuji 16-55mm which is super sharp but lacks image stabilisation, making the tripod essential at times.

I processed the image from a RAW file using Capture One for Fuji (Pro edition). I’ve decided to invest in the Capture One software after being so impressed by the results from the Express version. You can read about my reasons for switching on my website blog.

My latest newsletter is also out if you haven’t seen it. In there I share some tips about avoiding lens flare ruining your images when shooting into the sun. One of the techniques involves shooting two versions of an image and in one of these, you use your finger to block the sun. This removes the lens flare and allows you to merge the two images later. If you would like to see how I’ve just released a YouTube video explaining the technique.

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

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.

Friday Image No.211

Foggy sunset looking across Hope Valley in the Peak District
Foggy sunset looking across Hope Valley in the Peak District. Fuji X-T2, Fuji 55-200 at 75mm, ISO200, 1/210″ at f/9.0. Tripod and 0.9 (three stop) Soft Kase ND Grad filter.

I captured this image a few weeks back now. At the time I wasn’t sure quite how best to process it and to be honest I’m still not sure.

I captured this from Bamford Edge in the Peak District looking across Hope Valley to the cement works. It was a little before sunset and the conditions were quite challenging. Not because they were unpleasant but because the light was so bright. The valley was filling with fog and the low sun was streaking through the clouds. I couldn’t see the image properly on the back of the camera and even using the viewfinder I was struggling.

At the time it looked like the conditions were so bright that they exceeded the cameras dynamic range, even using a three-stop Kase Soft ND Grad filter. I did bracket the shot (with the filter) using five exposures. My thinking was that I would create an exposure blend, but the image above is a single exposure. With some tweaking in Lightroom, I was able to control the exposure enough to create a good base image. Much of the processing was then with Luminosity Masks (using Lumenzia) before converting to black and white using Nik Silver Efex Pro.

I’m probably going to revisit the image when I have more time.

Have a great weekend.

Friday Image No.210

Dramatic sunset on Whitby Pier, North Yorkshire. Fuji X-T2, 18-135 f3.5-5.6 WR at 18mm, ISO200, 0.7″ at f/10.0. Tripod mounted.

Today I was going to share a shot from a recent shoot I did in the Peak District, but I’ve decided to save that for another day. Instead I have this image which I shot on Tuesday in Whitby, North Yorkshire.

I had been over walking the Hole of Horcum with my wife. As it’s only a short drive to Whitby we decided to carry and get fish and chips before heading home. Secretly I thought I might get lucky and catch a sunset on the pier. Unfortunately, I lost track of the time and we only left the café about 10 mins after sunset. Luckily there was plenty of colour still in the sky still as you can see from the image. It just goes to show that you should wait a while after the sun has set before packing up.

I captured the image using the Fuji X-T2 and Fuji 18-135 lens. It’s performed remarkably well and is pin sharp. In fact, I’m rather surprised at how good the performance is for this type of subject.

The camera was tripod mounted and I used a cable release, but I haven’t used any filters. As is often the case, once the sun sets, the contrast or dynamic range in the scene drops to something the camera can handle.

Another stroke of luck was the lights came on at the point I took the shot and whilst there was still colour in the sky. Often the lights seem to come on once all the colour has gone.

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

Friday Image No.207

Tarn Hows Winter Sun in the Lake District.
Tarn Hows Winter Sun in the English Lake District. Fuji X-T2 with Fuji 18-135mm lens, various shutter speeds (see text), hand held.

It’s been a hectic week here, with four back to back days of photography. I can’t recall the last time this happened, but I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity.

The first day was a trip over to the Peak District to meet up with a friend. That almost didn’t happen because the Snake Pass (which is my usual route) was closed by snow and ice. Fortunately, I had the idea of driving down to Winnats Pass which I reasoned was more likely to be clear. When I did arrive, there was snow and fog everywhere, making for some amazing scenes.

Following this, it was over the Lake District for three more days enjoying the Landscape, as well as more fog and snow. The image you see here is from the Sunday at Tarn Hows. It’s five exposures which I’ve blended into a single image as the composition just didn’t allow me to use an ND Grad.

I captured the images with my Fuji X-T2 and 18-135mm Fuji lens hand held. Fortunately, the bracketing option on the Fuji means you only need to press the shutter button once to take all the images in the sequence. This allows you to concentrate on holding the camera steady for all the shots.

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