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Lenscraft in Focus October 2019 Newsletter

Welcome to the Lenscraft in Focus October 2019 newsletter. I’ll kick off the newsletter with this image from 2011 that I’ve finally processed.

If you haven’t seen this before, I posted it on my Instagram feed a couple of days ago. Yes, I have Instagram (since 2012) but haven’t used it until recently. Now, I’m finding it quite addictive and love sharing images when I have time. If you’re interested, you can find me there as Lenscraftphotos.

The Email Bug Continues

In last month’s newsletter I mentioned a bug in my email software causing random duplicate emails. Well, it appears to have happened again despite support from the software developers. I’ve therefore switched to a new email provider for this newsletter.

There may be a few hiccups whilst the service beds in, but hopefully it will see the end of the duplicate emails. If you do receive duplicate emails to the same address, please let me know.

Learning in the Landscape

Over the past couple of months, I’ve made a real effort to get out with my camera to do more photography. It occurred to me that rather than just sharing my photos I should share some of the lessons that I learned.

Yes, despite having been shooting for some 20 years I still learn something new on almost every outing. The reason for that is that I’m always observing. I’ll observe how the weather affects the light, how the light changes with time and how my equipment responds to the light when I take a photo.

Here’s an example from this past month.

I captured this image using a Fuji X-T3 and a Samyang 12mm lens. The camera ISO was 160 and with the lens set to f/8.0 the shutter speed was 2.1”. I also used a Kase Wolverine 3 stop soft ND graduated filter on the sky to help balance the exposure with the ground. Had I not done this the heather would have been too dark or the sky too light. Ordinarily, where there is a clear “blue” sky I don’t bother with a grad but when the lighting conditions are tricky, such as here, I always take a test shot to check.

But what’s important about this image isn’t the technical details (which most people concentrate on) it’s the conditions at the time. This because most photographers would have given up and left before I took this shot. The reason I stayed to shoot the image is that I’ve learned some important lessons about light and my camera. I knew the it’s possible to capture a good image even though it looked dark to the eye. Let’s look at a few important points.

Firstly, the lovely flowering heather in this scene is dead. When the flowers of the common heather die, they turn a dull orange brown colour. In daylight this is obvious, but not after sunset if the light is right.

The reason the heather in this scene looks purple is because of the blue and magenta light at this time of day. What’s also important to make this work is the direction of the light. For this image I turned 180 degrees, so my back faced where the sun had set.

Secondly, because I used a wide-angle 12mm lens for this image, you can see the sky on the right of the frame is a slightly different colour and brightness. It’s important when capturing a scene like this that there is enough latitude in the RAW file to balance out the brightness and colour during post processing.

The third and final point to understand is that the sun had set some 15-20 minutes previous. Even though the moon was out, it was quite dark and yet the camera was able to achieve an excellent exposure with plenty of colour and detail, but very little noise. Today’s digital cameras are simply amazing in low light conditions. If you don’t normally shoot after sunset, you should try a few test images. The results will probably surprise you.

I hope this gives you some idea of the types of lessons I learn when photographing in the landscape. I figure that if I can learn something from every trip, I’ll eventually feel satisfied with my skill as a photographer. Or perhaps not.

New Lenscraft Content

I’ve been busy over this past month adding new tutorials and rewriting old ones. Here are just a few you may find interesting.

On1 Photo RAW Essential Filters for Landscape Photography

Photo Editing Workflow

The Fuji 18-135 – A Real Life Lens Review

I Need Your Help

You may be aware that I recently published “Essential Adobe Photoshop CC”. A day or two after the book appeared, I received a 1-star review on Amazon.com (https://www.amazon.com/product-reviews/B07X74J7ZC/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_cmps_btm?ie=UTF8&reviewerType=all_reviews). The author of the review has two problems which I need your help to understand:

1) The screenshots in the book are out of date and don’t match the latest version of the software.

2) They receive daily emails from me trying to sell them things.

This has been extremely damaging to my sales in the US, but it’s also made me concerned. I would never release a book that I thought was sub-standard and I would never SPAM Lenscraft members with daily emails and advertising. Worryingly, I’ve others have contacted me directly saying that I’m sending them daily sales emails trying to sell things.

This is where I need your help:

1) If you’ve received regular sales type emails from me, please let me know. It would be extremely helpful if you could share any example to help me understand what may be happening.

2) Have you purchased my latest book “Essential Adobe Photoshop CC” and are having problems following it because of the illustrations?

3) Do you have any ideas to improve my books?

If you can help with any of the above, please email  ([email protected]). I would greatly appreciate it.

Camera Club Presentations

I would like to say a big thank you to the members and visitors at Lytham St. Annes Photographic Society for the warm welcome. And sorry for the slightly delayed start due to the technical issues with the colour projection.

My next presentations are in November. I’m at Knutsford Photographic Society on the 12th November when I will be presenting my “Lightweight Approach to Landscape Photography” (it’s about much more than equipment). I’m then at South Manchester Camera Club on the 18th November to present “Lessons for Landscape Photographers”.

Please contact the clubs directly through their websites if you would like to attend. If you do decide to visit, please be sure to introduce yourself at the break or after the presentation. It’s always nice to meet Lenscraft members.

Photographers You May Not Know – Jack Curran

Here’s the thing, I don’t know too much about Jack Curran myself. I know that he’s American and I think he is based in Missouri. Other than that, I don’t know too much although I suspect some of the Lenscraft readers will recognise him immediately. That’s because his work is distinctive and beautiful. I know his name because I’ve seen and admired his black and white images over the past couple of years. When I see an image that I like and then later recognise similar images by the same photographer, I know they have something special.

Please do check out Jack’s web site galleries. He has some wonderful work.



Books & Course News

I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported my work and purchased my latest book “Essential Adobe Photoshop CC”. If you have been waiting for the print version of the book, it’s now available from Amazon. I hope you like the new layout and larger page size. I invested a lot of time in developing the print version. I’ve tried to keep the price as low as possible.

I haven’t yet decided what the next project will be but thee are a few on my short list. I’ll announce more details once I make my decision.

The November edition of Lenscraft in Focus will be published around the first Saturday in November.

Robin Whalley

Landscape Photographer & Author

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Lenscraft Newsletter Lenscraft in Focus October 2019 Newsletter