Hi {name},

Welcome to Lenscraft in Focus for March 2024.

February has been a very short month for me despite it being a leap year. That’s because I spent a week in Italy, fulfilling one of my ambitions – photographing the Dolomites in winter.

Black and white photo of a mountain range in the Dolomites. Lenscraft in Focus Newsletter March 2024

But this wasn’t a photography trip; I was there snowshoeing, and that just happens to be one of the best ways to explore the mountains in winter. But I couldn’t resist taking a camera with me.

My favourite travel camera is now, without question, the little Olympus EM5 Mark 3. For those unfamiliar with this camera, it’s a 20-megapixel Micro Four Thirds format and weighs only 366g. I then paired this with a Panasonic 14-140mm Mark II lens, which weighs only 265g. My entire kit weighed not much more than my Fuji 55-200 lens but gave me a 28mm to 280mm range.

I used this lens and camera with two batteries for the entire week's trip and took over 1,100 photos. What’s surprising is that I took all these shots with three clone batteries and no recharging. The official figure for the number of shots from a single Olympus battery is only 310. That’s still not bad because the batteries are tiny.

As for the image quality, I’ve always found my Micro Four Thirds cameras to be excellent when processed correctly. I will admit that the Panasonic 14-140 lens isn’t the sharpest or best at resolving detail, but it is incredibly versatile.

When it came to processing the images from this trip, I found DxO PhotoLab to be excellent at extracting image detail (which I demonstrated in this recent YouTube video). The images then sharpen amazingly well with the Nik Sharpener Pro software in the Nik Collection. What surprised me is that the images sharpened with Nik have a three-dimensional feel. I hope you can see this in the black-and-white shot above and this next example.

Mountain in the Dolomites. Lenscraft in Focus Newsletter March 2024.

I did compare the sharpening results with Topaz Sharpen AI. Whilst that also did an excellent job of sharpening the detail in the photos, the results didn’t have the same feeling of depth. I may need to look at this further and decide how best to fit the different sharpening tools into a workflow.

The trip was also a first for me in another way; I rode on the roof of a cable car gondola for the trip down a mountain. If you could appreciate how much I dislike cable cars, you would be amazed that I did this (I am). Whilst I still don’t like cable cars, I’m delighted I could capture the black and white photo above without window reflections.

This was a great hiking trip with excellent opportunities to capture beautiful scenes. I hope you like the images and enjoy this month’s newsletter.

Robin

Colour Management

I’ll soon deliver two webinars about colour management for Datacolor and DxO. These will cover general colour management, but I’ll also talk about how to prepare photography for printing (either at home or using a print lab).

Whilst researching these presentations, I’ve realised how much misinformation is in the public domain. Often, it seems we photographers are missing small but important bits of information. If we could complete our understanding of the fundamentals, it would help many of us overcome frustrating problems. It’s painting this complete picture of the fundamentals I aim to do in these Webinars.

You can register to attend for free on the Datacolor website at

https://lp.datacolor.com/DxO-Webinar-Registration.b2c.html

New Lenscraft Content

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

Why AI In Photography Is Like Autofocus AND How To Benefit
21/02/2024
Read more...
 
What Is ISO In Photography, AND How Do I Use It?
21/02/2024
Read more...
 
Make Your Own Greeting Card Template Using Affinity Photo
07/02/2024
I was recently asked how to design a greeting card template using Affinity Photo. As many photographers want to do this, I thought it would make an ideal tutorial to…
Read more...
 

From Around the Internet

Here are some of the interesting things I’ve found online this month.

Photography News 113

Edition 113 of Photography News is now available. You can read it for free online using the following link.

https://online.bright-publishing.com/view/84650990/

This is a great newspaper for keeping up with the photography industry, and this edition features the annual awards. I was interested to read that the Benro Rhino tripod I recently switched to was voted best for video. I have no idea what qualifies it as a video tripod, but I have found it to be excellent for photography. You can read my initial thoughts about it in the December 23 newsletter, which you’ll find in the Newsletter Archive.

Professional Photo Magazine Free

Professional Photo Magazine

Back around 2008, I would regularly buy Professional Photo Magazine. It was an excellent read with well-informed articles. But then it began to disappear from magazine shelves, and I forgot all about it. This last week, I found myself reading an article on the same magazine's website. Not only that, I was delighted to find the magazine was now free. All I needed to do was subscribe.

Here’s the website if you’re interested.

https://professionalphoto.online/

Photographers You May Not Know – Charlie Judson

Charlie Judson describes himself as an amateur photographer from California. I spotted his photography recently in the reader’s portfolio section of a magazine and I love his work.

Charlie Judson website

Although he describes himself as an amateur photographer, all that means is he doesn’t earn his income from this. What I can see is years of dedication and experience invested in photography that shine through in his work. His photographs are the result of excellent observation and a mastery of his craft. I simply love the natural appearance of the images and the strong yet realistic colours. These images are a joy to view, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

https://charlesjudson.com/

Books & Course News

Latest book and course news.

The Dark Image System for Lightroom

I’ve nearly completed the second draft of the Dark Image System book and have begun work on the video course.

If you are wondering what I’m talking about, the Dark Image System is a system I have developed for editing photography in Lightroom, although it can also be applied in Adobe Camera RAW. The system will be released as an eBook and video course and will only be available on the Lenscraft website.

As I explain in this article, the system is inspired by the work of the Baroque and Hudson River schools of painting. What may surprise you is that the effect is created by using a small selection of Lightroom Presets that are explained in the book. What’s different about this system is that it forces you to think like an artist rather than a photographer. The Presets work by first removing light from the image but then gradually reintroducing it selectively.

I’m anticipating the launch date to be late March, although it may slip into early April as Easter is early this year. I’ll be sending out an email when it’s available.

I hope you liked this month’s newsletter, and until next month, enjoy your photography.

Robin Whalley

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Copyright: Robin Whalley 2020