Lenscraft in Focus March 2020 Newsletter
Welcome to the Lenscraft in Focus March 2020 newsletter.
This past month has seen most of the UK battered by a series of storms and torrential rain. The last time I managed a trip with my camera was the beginning of February when we had one of the few truly frosty mornings of this winter. Fortunately, I managed a few shots I really liked including this one from Higger Tor.
I hope that wherever you are that you can enjoy this month’s newsletter and your photography in March.
Why I’ve Switched to Instagram
I realise Instagram isn’t new to many reading this month’s newsletter. I’ve had an account since the early days (before Facebook bought Instagram) but never really used it. More recently though, I’ve started posting there frequently. In the past I’d share my processed images on Flickr. Unfortunately, Flickr now seems a like a dying platform and I find Instagram much easier to use.
It’s enjoyable being able to upload my images, share a little about why I took them and the settings I used. Most importantly, it means photos don’t sit on my hard drive without anyone seeing them. After all, what’s photography about if it’s not about sharing your work.
You’ll find me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/robin_whalley/.
Camera Club Presentations
Last month I was at the 85 Photography Group in Hazel Grove. I would like to say a big thank you to the club for their warm welcome and to the visitors who came to see me.
This month I’m at the Viewfinder Photographic Society on Monday the 16th March. The clubs in Skidby, near Beverley, East Yorkshire. I’ll be talking about and demonstrating different editing software and techniques. This is a totally unscripted presentation where I’ll be responding to input and questions from the audience. I’ve already received a few images from the members to process on the night.
You can find out more about the club from their website https://www.viewfinderphoto.org/.
From Around the Web
Snippets of news from around the internet.
Nik Collection 2.5 Released
Towards the end of February, DXO released version 2.5 of the Nik Collection. The Nik Collection is still my favourite editing plug-in, but I had resisted the upgrade to version 2. It just didn’t offer me enough to be worth it.
Then, since version 2 was released, we’ve had version 2.3 of the collection which included new film simulations for Nik Silver Efex Pro. And now in version 2.5 we have an update to Color Efex Pro introducing five new iconic film simulations.
But the big news and the reason why I’ll decided to now upgrade is that Nik Collection 2.5 gives full compatibility with Affinity Photo. Although I’ve been able to use Nik with Affinity Photo in the past, I had problems with the plug-ins vanishing from the menu or stopping working. This was frustrating enough but the strange colours when trying to edit a 16-bit image in Viveza was a showstopper. Viveza is such an essential tool in my editing that it often prevented me from using Affinity Photo. Now DXO has fixed these problems and Viveza is working great with Affinity Photo 1.8.
If you’re an existing Nik Collection 2 user, the update is free. If you have the Nik Collection 2018 the upgrade is £69. You can learn more on the DXO website as well as download a trial version (which I always recommend doing before purchasing).
To celebrate the release, I published a review article explaining how to use the new film simulations. It also explains how to tweak the simulations further if you want to.
Kodak Tri-X Black & White Simulation
Keeping with the Nik theme, I found this article on PetaPixel discussing how to recreate the look of Kodak Tri-X. I love articles like this which explain all manner of complex processing. Even though I seldom adopt the approach I often find interesting tips.
But what I thought was unusual about this approach was the use of Nik Silver Efex Pro, but not for the black and white conversion. I find this odd because there’s a nice Kodak Tri-X film simulation already in the software.
Whilst this article is interesting to read, if you want to save yourself a lot of effort, just use the film simulation in Silver Efex Pro (SEP). After opening your image in SEP, scroll down to the “Film Type” section and choose Kodak Tri-X from the dropdown. This produces a very credible result that looks great, but you can also tweak it further to achieve the effect you want. At the end of the day achieving a great image is what’s important.
Photographers You May Not Know – Jennifer Renwick
I came across Jennifer Renwick whilst searching for images of Death Valley on Instagram. Her work looked different and interesting, so I visited her website.
There she has some beautiful images in her gallery that have a lovely, distinctive quality to them. What I really liked was the intimacy of many of the shots. The compositions were very different to the usual wide-angle sweeping landscapes and the colours are wonderful. I’d very much recommend spending some time browsing her work. She’s an excellent photographer.
Books & Course News
I’ll start with a big thank you to everyone who purchased my Landscape Photography book. I’ve received some excellent feedback emails so far and I hope everyone who purchased a copy is finding the information different and useful.
As promised, I’m now working on the print version of the book. I’ve made good progress with the layout and expect to release this by mid-March. Quite a few people have shown an interest in the print book and asked me to circulate an email when its available, so keep an eye on your inbox.
I publish Lenscraft in Focus on the first Saturday of each month. The next edition will be on the 4th April 2020.
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