Hi {name},

Welcome to Lenscraft in Focus for February 2024.

Much to my relief, the January weather has been better than in the previous few years. Last January, I ended up doing more Urban photography due to the rain. Whilst we’ve had some rain this year, we’ve also had some cold, dry weather. This gave me an opportunity to head over to the Peak District to photograph somewhere I’ve wanted to for some time. In fact, my last successful images were taken there in December 2018.

While I’ve revisited this location many times in subsequent years, the conditions have always let me down. That is until this year. Here’s the first of my shots.

Lenscraft in Focus February 2024 Newsletter

This is Owler Tor in the Peak District. I captured it at sunrise using the Fuji XT5 with a Fuji 10-24 lens at 10mm. I had the camera mounted on a tripod for a 1/6 second exposure at f/8.0 and ISO125. I also used a 3-stop Kase Reverse ND Grad filter on the sky to balance the exposure.

The sunrise (and the sunset) was spectacular, and I felt well rewarded after years of waiting for the light. I also found my new approach to shooting with the XT5 at wider apertures paid dividends. My earlier complaints about soft images appear to be fixed. Although I still often struggle to believe I can capture enough depth of field at f/7.1, it appears I can.

You can find several more of my images from this morning on my website Gallery page. Alternatively, check out my Instagram page.  

I hope you enjoy it together with other articles this month.


Benro Tripod Update

I shared that I’d invested in a new tripod a few newsletters back. This time, rather than opting for a Manfrotto tripod, I bought a Benro Rhino. There are several sizes in the range, and all come with a ball head. While I prefer a 3-way head, I’m adapting to the Benro ball head quite well, though I may still decide to swap it.

Having used the tripod a few times now, I’m happy to say that I’m absolutely delighted with it. It has a huge maximum load capacity of 18kg and is rock solid. It’s light to carry, being made of carbon fibre and collapses to a small size. Despite this, the maximum height is well beyond my range of use. It’s also very easy to spread the legs to get low for shots like this one.

Peak District tree taken with the XT5 and Benro Rhino tripod

One warning that a Lenscraft reader shared with me is that they have lost a few feet from their Benro tripod. On closer inspection, I’ve found the locking mechanism for the legs is at the top of each leg section. With my other, similar twist-lock tripod, I can grab and twist the bottom section to unlock all the leg sections. But when I do this with the Benro (it’s a habit), it unscrews the feet rather than unlocks the legs. I’m now finding I must remind myself to be careful and unlock each leg, starting at the top. I may yet fit the spikes that come with the tripod to stop me from accidentally unscrewing the feet.

I’m very impressed with the Benro Rhino tripod overall, but it’s still early days.

New Lenscraft Content

Over the past month, I’ve focused on publishing new tutorials and updating old ones. Here’s the list of the new articles you can find on Lenscraft.

How I Fixed A Filter Problem Using The Lightroom Select Objects Tool
Do you like to use Neutral Density Graduated filters for landscape photography? Have you been frustrated when the filter darkens objects above the horizon, but you don’t want it to?…
How To Use Lightroom Profiles For Better Photos
In this tutorial, I answer two important questions: what are Lightroom Profiles, and how do I use them to create better photos? You’ll also learn where to find them and,…
The Best iPhone Camera App for Photographers
If you’ve been following Lenscraft for a few months, you may know I’ve become a huge fan of iPhone photography. I’m quite amazed at how much detail even a basic…
Capturing iPhone Long Exposure Photos
Did you know that there is an easy way to capture a long exposure on an iPhone? You don’t need any special software, only the software you will find on…

From Around the Internet

Here are some of the interesting photography resources I’ve found online. This month

Historic England Picturing High Streets

If you like street photography, check out the Picturing High Streets online exhibition/database at Historic England.


This is a great snapshot in time of England’s High Streets, and there is some excellent photography to enjoy.

Massive Dev Chart

This is one for all the film photographers who like to develop their own films. It’s the Massive Dev Chart from Digitaltruth.

Massive Dev Chart for film photography development

The other day, it dawned on me that I hadn’t shot any film for a while and hadn’t developed any myself for even longer. Looking back, I think it was the Summer of 2019, and I sent those to Peak Imaging to develop. Unfortunately, Peak Imaging has closed, so I’ll need to find another lab or process the films myself.

Back when I was doing more film development, I used the Massive Dev Chart to look up the film and developer I was using. It then listed the timing, temperature, and developer dilutions, along with useful notes.

The website is free to use, but if you like it, I recommend getting the timer app for your phone or tablet.

International Landscape Photographer of the Year

Whilst some of these images are a little too processed for my taste, they are all enjoyable to view. There is a wonderful selection of the best on the website.


Close-Up Photographer of the Year

Another great collection of photography in the Close Up Photographer of the Year finalists. I found the Underwater and Micro categories particularly impressive.


Photographers You May Not Should Know – Martin Parr

Martin Parr is a photographic visionary

I’ll make no apology for changing this month’s Photographers You May Not Know to one You Should Know.

Martin Parr is nothing short of a visionary. He has a knack for observing everyday life and documenting it. Then, in 20 years time, when you look back at his work, you realise how he captured a moment in time that’s since been lost. He is now probably most recognised for his vibrant colour work, but I have some favourites from his early black-and-white work around the Calderdale Valley.


It’s well worth visiting his website. It’s a treasure trove of life. Also, if you can find one of his exhibitions, I would encourage you to visit. They are far better than looking at a website.

Books & Course News

Latest book and course news.

Dark Image System for Lightroom Update

Dark Image System for Lightroom

I’ve now held the workshop where I taught the system to five photographers. I’m pleased to report that they enjoyed it and found it extremely interesting. They also produced some excellent results, which is extremely promising.

I’ve since compiled the first draft of the book and will shortly start working on drafting the course. I also shared with members of the Dark Image System mailing list how my inspiration comes from the Baroque School of Painting. I hope you can recognise the similarity.

Dark Image System for Lightroom Inspiration

I expect the book and course to be available in late March or early April, but this very much depends on other commitments. I will keep you posted.

Until next month, enjoy your photography.


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Lenscraft Photography
Unit 8693, PO Box 4336, Manchester M61 0BW
Copyright: Robin Whalley 2020