Lenscraft in Focus November 2019 Newsletter

Welcome to the Lenscraft in Focus November 2019 newsletter.

It’s Autumn in the UK and the trees are in full colour. If it’s also Autumn where you live, I hope you’re able to get out and make the most of the conditions. Whilst I’m not talking about Autumn in this month newsletter, I will start by sharing one of my recent shots.

The image is from Wyming Brook in the Peak District. I used my Fuji X-T3 camera and the excellent Fuji 10-24mm lens at 10mm. I had the tripod as low as it would go allowing me to move in close to the foreground rock. It’s quite a long exposure because this area of woodland is dark. I was also using a polarising filter which reduces the light by a couple of stops. When processing the image, I converted the RAW using Capture One (now an essential part of my Fuji workflow having switched in Summer). After this I applied further adjustments with the Nik Collection.

I hope you like the shot which provided me with a couple of new lessons.  I was going to discuss these in the newsletter but that’s until I captured the image you will see in the first article.

Enjoy this month’s newsletter.

Learning in the Landscape

Last month I shared an image that I might not otherwise shoot and explained a little about what I learned by taking it. This month I have another image that I almost didn’t bother with, but I’m pleased that I did.

If I’m being completely truthful, this is a grab shot; well, it’s one of eight grab shots really if you can call that a grab shot. What’s important though is that I didn’t expect it to work out.

I was in the Lake District with a friend to shoot the Autumn colours. The morning had been wet and drizzly (perfect woodland conditions) but then the weather changed, and the sun broken through. Bright sunny conditions aren’t ideal for shooting saturated woodland, so we decided to change our subject matter. Knowing that there was the chance of a sunset we headed over to Keswick to wait. After a break for coffee we made our way down to the lake where this amazing scene greeted us.

Now I’m ashamed to admit it but I almost didn’t bother to take this shot. I thought:

  • The dynamic range was far more than the camera could cope with. Because of this the sky would blow out and the trees and mountains would be a black mass.
  • I knew that I needed to use filters to shoot this properly, but I didn’t have time to get them out and set up the camera. I could see the light was starting to fade and I needed to act quickly.
  • I couldn’t set up a tripod although I don’t know why I thought this was a problem given how bright the conditions were. Possibly I was thinking that I could bracket the scene, so it was best to use a tripod.

In the end I just captured a few handheld shots to see what happened. I really didn’t expect any of them to work. Even when I came to process the image, I didn’t expect any of the RAW files to usable. You can see the unadjusted RAW file below to give you some idea of why I thought this.

Because I didn’t use my filters for this shot, I tried to use the branches of the tree to block the sun. This was producing a nice sun burst effect, but as the leaves in the tree blew around, the sunburst wasn’t in every frame and I needed to add it to the finished image.

This is the only image where a flying bird was in the frame. I would love to say I reacted to the moment, but I didn’t. I just got lucky.

What really surprised me though was the amount of detail I recovered from both the shadows and highlights using the Capture One RAW Converter. Although the finished image has some good detail I could have recovered much more. I decided to leave the conversion as you see it because it was starting to appear unnatural and I wanted to emphasise the contrast created by the low sun.

The big lesson I’m taking away from this is that sometimes you should grab the shot and worry about making it perfect later. Just because you have concerns about possible quality issues or something else, it isn’t a reason to not bother.

Looking back, I can now see that I’ve had hundreds of missed opportunities like this one.


No Newsletter Images

Last month I was trying new email/newsletter software to resolve problems with duplicate emails. The good news is that it worked. The bad news is that several people reported there were no images in the newsletter. I would like to say a big thank you to the people who contacted me and worked to help track down the problem.

It turned out that most people with the problem were Gmail users. The fix was simply for them to add my email address to their safe sender list. Once they did this, they were able to see all the newsletter images.

Whilst not everyone was a Gmail user, everyone with the problem had some form of “Whitelist” or “Trusted Sender” feature in their email software. Adding my email address ([email protected]) fixed it.


New Lenscraft Content

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


Thank You for Your Help

Last month I asked for help with a problem where I thought someone was impersonating me. Whilst there were a couple of suspicious instances, hundreds of you got in touch to say you haven’t experienced a problem. Thank you.

Do remember, if you receive more than a couple of emails a month from me (including the monthly newsletter), especially if they are trying to sell something, please let me know.


Camera Club Presentations

I’m making two presentation 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”.

If you would like to attend, please contact the clubs directly through their websites. 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.


From Around the Web

Snippets of news from around the internet.

Landscape Photography Magazine Free Annual Issue

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to download the free annual issue of Landscape Photography Magazine. It’s packed with great photography and some very useful and interesting articles. If you’re a dedicated landscaper, this is a great magazine and one that I’ve personally subscribed to for years.


Camera Craft on Issuu

If you’re looking for a broader magazine featuring more than landscapes, try Camera Craft. I used to subscribe to this magazine, and it was always an informative read. You can view the October 19 edition on Issuu for free with the following link.



Photographers You May Not Know – Sean Bagshaw

There’s a certain look to some photography that comes from careful editing with Luminosity Masks. Whilst some people don’t like this, I personally love it. To me it bridges the gap between photography and art. To do it well you need to become much more of an artist and develop those skills. This is where I think Sean Bagshaw has excelled. He doesn’t have an online gallery section to his website, but you can browse through the images he has for sale as prints. He has some crackers too so it’s worth paying him a visit.



Books & Course News

If you didn’t see the announcement in this past month, my latest book “Essential Adobe Photoshop CC” is now available from Amazon as a print book. With the book now complete I’m going to focus on a project I’ve started and then stopped a few times. It’s a landscape photography book aimed at helping photographers shoot better landscape photography. Once I’ve defined the project a little better, I will share more details.

I publish the Lenscraft in Focus newsletter on the first Saturday of the month. The next edition will be on the 7th December.

Read the October 2019 newsletter.

Book Offer


Get your FREE copy of "6 Steps to Shooting Brilliant Landscape Photography"  by subscribing for free to Lenscraft in Focus.

Follow the advice in this deceptively simple book to significantly improve your landscape photography. Organised into 6 simple lessons, this valuable and detailed guide provides information that’s often overlooked. In fact, lesson 3 is so obvious that most photographers ignore it completely.

If you want to improve your Landscape Photography fast, follow this book.


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