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Welcome to the May 2017 newsletter from Lenscraft. There’s lots to tell you about, so much in fact that I have only included the very start of the tutorial in the newsletter. But don’t worry, you can follow the link to read the rest on Lenscraft. I hope this approach works for you and that you enjoy the May edition.

Nik Viveza Course Update

As mentioned in the previous newsletter, I planned to launch the new Viveza course and updated book in April. Unfortunately, this wasn’t to be as my time was taken up by website problems. “External factors” intervened and were affecting the site speed. Ultimately this individual/people brought the site down for an entire day. But there were some positives that came out of this episode which you can read about shortly.

With all the website issues out of the way, I now expect to launch the revised book and video course in May. The book has almost doubled in length with many new, high quality illustrations being added. There is additional information not included in the previous edition as well as an additional worked example. When launched, everyone who bought the original Viveza book will be able to download the latest version for free.

Viveza Book Cover

Current Viveza Book Cover

The video course is entirely new. It’s designed to be stand-alone but also complements the book. It follows the same structure as the book and includes the books worked examples. If you have the book you can get a 75% discount on the video course. The same discount is available to Lenscraft members as an introductory offer; you don’t need to have purchased the book.

When the book and course are available I’ll email instructions for downloading the new version and how to get the discount.

 

Lenscraft Speed Improvements

I’m very excited to share news of speed improvements I have made to the Lenscraft website. I know the slow speed of the site has been a real issue for some of you, but not everyone. The problem is caused by the location of my web servers, which are in the UK. Testing the site performance, I could see the home page will load in under a second for a user in Sweden. But if you live in Australia the site will appear painfully slow.

cloudflare

I have tried all kinds of solutions to this but nothing seemed to work. In the end, I assumed there was nothing I could do and that I was stuck serving only Europe and America. I’m pleased to say I was wrong.

Recently whilst trying to protect Lenscraft, I become aware of a service called CloudFlare. In a nutshell, it distributes a website to its servers around the world and protects you from something called a Denial of Service attack. Now when you access Lenscraft, it’s delivered by CloudFlare from a server near to you. The result is a responsive website for everyone, irrespective of location.

Although CloudFlare is great, it’s not perfect. From time to time CloudFlare is bypassed and the page you are browsing will come directly from the UK. When this happens, you might notice that a page is slow to load, but this doesn’t happen often.

Since moving to CloudFlare I have seen users in many more countries access the site. People in countries like Iran, Brazil, Canada, India, Estonia and Australia are using the site much more. As its always been my goal to help every photographer no matter where they live, this improvement is wonderful news.

 

Essential Camera Filters for Landscape Photography

As a Landscape Photographer, I regularly use filters in my work and believe these tools are an essential accessory. But let’s be clear, when I talk about camera filters, I’m referring to the filters you attach to the front of your lens. These filters are not special effects software that many cameras now include. In this article, I want to explain why I hold this opinion and share filters I think are hard, if not impossible to replace.

Camera Lens Filter Design

Camera lens filters come in two forms:

  1. Screw in filters – attaching directly to the thread on the end of the camera lens. You can see an example of this below.
  2. Slot in filters – usually square or rectangular which slot into a filter holder. The filter holder is attached to the camera lens with an adapter.
screw in camera lens filter

Example of a screw in style lens filter

The two filter designs have different advantages and drawbacks. The screw in round filters for example attach cleanly to the end of the lens with a light tight seal. This means there’s no chance of light leaking around the edges. This makes them ideal for creating long exposures where any light leaks can ruin the image.

Compare this to a Neutral Density Graduated filter where the position of the filter is more important. Here the square slot in filter design is best. This allows you to easily reposition the filter in the holder to correctly line it up. If you were using a screw in filter, you would need to move the camera, which could ruin the composition.

example of square camera filter system

Example of slot in filters with lens filter holder

There are several filters I consider essential, as it’s not easy or even possible to replicate the effect with software. Understanding these allows you to focus your spending, possibly helping you afford a higher quality filter system (these are usually worth the additional expense).

Continue reading the article on Lenscraft…

 

Camera Club Presentations

April saw my return to making club presentations, with an evening at Llandudno Photographic Society. I received a lot of positive feedback after the event. I certainly enjoyed giving the presentation and meeting everyone at the club.

My next presentations are:

20th September 17 – York Photographic Society

25th September 17 – Macclesfield Camera Club

 

You Tube

Thanks to everyone who visited Steve O’Nions You Tube channel. Quite a few of you seem to have enjoyed his videos. Steve is a great photographer and his videos are produced to a very high standard. We are now talking about how we could collaborate more in the future.

If you have ideas or requests let me know.

Until next month…

Robin

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