Lenscraft in Focus July 2020 Newsletter
Welcome to the Lenscraft in Focus July 2020 newsletter.
This past month has been a little odd photographically speaking. I had thought that I would be out with my camera again, but I haven’t. I also thought my newly converted Infrared camera would occupy a lot of my attention, but it hasn’t. Instead, I found myself rediscovering Topaz Labs.
If look back 10-12 years, I was a big fan of Topaz Labs. The software was powerful, and they had a valuable lifetime upgrade policy. You would buy the software once and then continue to receive free upgrades for the life of the product.
But then Topaz began releasing software that seemed to serve no purpose (for me at least) before turning to Artificial Intelligence (AI). I did try out some of the early AI products but was less than impressed. But recently, I tested a new update of Gigapixel and was really surprised at how well it had developed. I then tried out DeNoise AI (free to me as an existing user of the old DeNoise software) and was amazed by the performance. As a result, I spent this past month upgrading and experiment with the latest versions of Topaz software. You can read my thoughts about Gigapixel from last month as well as my review of Topaz Studio which I published a couple of weeks ago.
But what my rediscovery of Topaz software has reminded me is why I love plug-ins so much. They allow me to achieve results quickly that would take lots more work using just Photoshop. This is what makes them so valuable. It’s also made me realise that I’ve drifted away from covering some of these in recent years and have perhaps become overly technical. The reason why I started to write books is that I wanted to help people create great photography easily. When I find tools that can help you achieve this, I should be sharing that knowledge. That’s what Lenscraft is all about.
But despite Topaz capturing my interest, I haven’t deserted Infrared as a topic.
A few Lenscraft readers have been in touch to ask about my approach to processing Infrared photography. To help, I’ve published a new article on the subject and my approach may surprise you. I’m a big fan of doing things as simply as possible when it comes to photo editing and my Infrared editing is no exception. You’ll find more about this in the “New Content” section below.
I hope you enjoy this month’s newsletter. I think I’ve managed to find another interesting collection of resources to share. And if you come across any interesting articles elsewhere, do let me know.
Camera Club Presentations
Unfortunately, with the spread of the virus in the UK and government restrictions, I’ve suspended all camera club presentations. Once life gets back to normal, I’ll publish a list of presentations here.
From Around the Web
This month, I’ve discovered a few things that you might find useful or interesting.
Elements of Photography on issuu
Whilst I was browsing through issuu, the online magazine stand, I came across the book “Elements of Photography”. I have seen this book on the bookshop shelves, and it’s been around for a while. I can’t say that I like all the photography (some are terrible in my opinion), but it is a good book with some useful advice. The reason I mention it here is that like many of the magazines on issuu this book is free to read.
Here’s the link (https://issuu.com/marusyadesign/docs/the_elements_of_photography-underst).
Landscape Photography Magazine
If you love landscape photography and enjoy reading and looking through images, it’s worth getting the free editions of Landscape Photography Magazine. You do need to create a free account but there’s no requirement to buy anything. I’ve subscribed to the paid version of this magazine for years (since issue 3 and the latest is 112) and always enjoy reading it.
Here’s the link to the free annual issue (https://landscapephotographymagazine.com/free-downloads/annual-issue)
The Most Over and Under Rated Film Cameras – Have Your Say
Last month I asked you to nominate the most under and overrated film cameras. If you would like to have your say, here’s the link to the survey.
So far, there has only been a couple of nominations. If I can get enough responses, I think it would make an interesting article, especially given the growing popularity of film.
In last month’s newsletter I mentioned ProTech Photographic converted my old Fuji X-T2 to shoot infrared by. I also previously mentioned that I would love a Leica Monochrome camera but couldn’t justify the cost. Putting these two things together, a reader shared this website with me for “Monochrome Digital Services” (https://www.monochromeimaging.com/). I’m not sure I can justify another purchase and conversion yet (but I am tempted), I thought it looked interesting.
Photographers You May Not Know – Kristel Schneider
Kristel Schneider was originally born in the Netherlands but then moved to France in 2007, becoming a full-time photographer shortly after. What I love about her work is the abstract framing. Where many landscape photographers will immediately focus on the big vista, she takes a more intimate view of the same scene. It’s also nice to see images of nature that aren’t over processed, attempting to create drama where there wasn’t any.
Visit Kristel’s website to view her work (https://www.kristelschneiderphotography.com/index).
Books & Course News
Latest book and course news.
Free Book for all Subscribers
A few Lenscraft subscribers have contacted me to ask if they can get my book “6 tips for Brilliant Landscapes” for free. I usually sell this book but do give a copy to anyone who subscribes to this newsletter.
If you would like a free copy of the book, you will find it here, in the “Photography Guides” section of this page
Because this is a paid book, you will need to go through the purchase process. As you go through the checkout, enter the code “SUBSCRIBER-LANDSCAPE-LESSONS”. Apply this will discount the book to be free.
This code is only valid until the end of July 2020. I would also ask that you don’t share this code but rather encourage others who may be interested to subscribe to this newsletter.
Course News – Simply Lightroom Develop
I’m now putting the finishing touches to my latest course. I’ve designed the course for photographers who use Lightroom to process RAW files and image, but who don’t find it easy to achieve the results they would like.
The course approaches the subject from the perspective of a beginner, gradually building the skill level to cover more advanced topics and challenging images. It comes with sample image files to download, allowing you to work along with the lessons and examples. By the end of the course you will feel confident in tackling the adjustment of any image using Lightroom.
The course will only cost £20 + any local taxes but I will be announcing a launch discount for Lenscraft subscribers. Keep an eye open for the launch email in July.
Until next month, stay indoors and stay safe.
Landscape Photographer & Author
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