Photoshopping Sunrays with Curves

Sometimes you only get a fleeting second of light and you’ll have to grab what you can with the camera you having your hands.

The story behind this photo is that we were walking to a limestone pavement to capture photos of trees growing out of rocks when one of the clouds opened and let the sun shine through for what was only a few fleeting seconds. This is the image I grabbed.

Luckily I did have a 2 stop neutral density grand filter on the camera so could protect the highlights to some extent but as you will see in this video the foreground is pretty much black and the sky is almost burnt out.

In this full length tutorial I take you through the steps to rescue something from this grab shot, starting from the raw file in Adobe Lightroom and working 2-in Photoshop with luminosity masks and curves layers to lighten the darks and enhance contrast.

How to get Maximum Sharpness with Focus Stacking

Sometimes you just cannot get everything in Focus in one shot…

This happens a lot when you are photographing landscapes with a very close foreground, the background becomes blurry if you focus on the foreground, and vice versa.

In this tutorial I show you two photos I took of the exact same scene, all the settings were absolutely identical except in one photo I focussed On The Rock in the foreground, and the second photo was focused on the end of the rock a little bit further away.

This tutorial takes you through the process of blending the two to images, using Lightroom as your start Point and Photoshop to do all the clever blending.

All the editing before the tutorial starts was standard Lightroom tweaks, and and the tutorial leaves you in a position to do whatever you like with the image in Photoshop or Lightroom.

Blending Light Painting Photos in Photoshop

 Usually when doing light painting workshops, I have several people with torches all lighting the scene at the same time so we catch everything in one frame which you can view there and then on the night. 

But when you are alone, or in small groups, often it isn’t possible because you just cannot get around the subject and surroundings quick enough for one exposure, and also you are almost inevitably going to have some accidental lighting “blobs” here and there as you move around. 

So, in this tutorial I have a series of photographs I photographed alone in the Peak District. 

I used an intervalometer which is built into my camera (you can buy them for cameras which don’t have them inbuilt on Ebay and Amazon), it was set to 15 seconds at ISO 200 with an f-stop of F8 so I could get most things in the foreground Sharp. 

However, the first photograph I took was for the sky, making it as bright as possible so I could get at least a few stars in the image – I think the ISO was upped to around 3200 for this. 

Next I started the intervalometer taking photos (set it to keep going indefinitely and switch it off when you get back to the camera) and walked around the area with my torch painting things as I went along.  This gave me around ten photographs, all with different things lit. 

The tutorial takes it from that point –  starting with the raw files in Lightroom and talks you how to use Photoshop, layers and layer masks to show and hide the bits you want and get the final result.

Nightscapes 1 – The Art of Light Painting

NIGHTSCAPES 2018/2019 Begins!

It all started last night in Roundhay Park – our winter of light painting around Roundhay Park saw us using torches and gels to colour the world!

New for 2018 is a “Manker MK 35” torch – this claims to have a 1.4Km beam – it does shine a hell of a long way, and with its very narrow beam, its great for detail work. Think of it as a fine brush, whereas other torches are more like thicker airbrushes. 

This photo was just the MK35 torch pointing at the ground as I walked to the bandstand – you can see how narrow the line it makes is. 

I’ve been looking for a torch like this for years – hopefully, the high price tag will pay off when we go to Gordale Scar, where I hope to paint cliffs hundreds of yards away. 

Technique

NIGHTSCAPES is a course for experienced photographers, so we assume you know all the “techy” stuff – you can set ISO/SHUTTER/APERTURE, read your histogram and make changes etc. You do know how bulb mode works to get a 2-minute exposure etc. etc. 

So the technique really was all creative and torch-based. Here’s the process in a nutshell

  1. get a focus sorted
  2. compose the shot
  3. discuss the scene and what we could light
  4. work out colours – essentially we have yellow, orange, light red, dark red, purple, dark blue, lighter blue and green in the bag
  5. work out a route
  6. start the cameras and walk into the scene and do the lighting
  7. review the results – did it work? too bright? too dark? 
  8. learn from the first shot and adjust!

It’s really as simple as that – but all creative things can be boiled down to a few steps like that, a painting could be described as “1 dip brush in paint, 3move brush over canvas, 3 goto step 1” 😉

Some results

We started at the top pond in the park. 

It’s got a fountain which you can colour with your torch if the “throw” is long enough – throw is the term for how far the beam goes. On this photo, the XM35, a “long thrower” was green, and the foreground (using my 3-LED Sky Ray wider thrower) was orange. This was the first shot with 2 torches in action. 

Next to test the XM35 with a very thick red gel, one which reduces the brightness of the torch massively, I shone it at the fountains for a full 30 seconds. Considering it’s one of the most powerful throwers you can buy, it’s not massively bright, so beware when using red gels – they do need a lot of lumens! (Lumens is a measure of torch power).

Next the band stand. 

This first one had us walking around with torches pointed at the floor to create a pattern of coloured lines. Then Lee went into the bandstand with the Sky Ray at the end to light the inside, I used the purple gel and XM35 to add a bit of colour to the outside. 

A pure shot, the outside was lit at the top with the XM35 from a distance, the lower parts with the SKy Ray and yellow gel at close quarters. A little light spill in the foreground created texture in the leaves and grass. 

On the way to the water tower, we stopped for a shot of the avenue – here we split up, green sky ray to the right, red XM35 to the left – this gives a nice mix of colour as you go into the distance. 

 

At the water tower, we started with lots of colours to create this early shot – it’s a bit like a Pride flag!

The idea was a red interior and blue top with the XM35, then green steps and yellow ring on the “patio” at the top of the steps. It came out very jolly!

 

Later on I tried just the purple gel, shooting inside the water tower. This was a 4-minute exposure allowing the stars to leave little light trails if you look carefully

Simplicity is often worth trying!

Another simple shot but with the green gel instead – this time you can actually see green in the oculus at the top of the tower

And finally an RGB shot – red was from behind the camera with the XM35, green with the sky ray from 9 oclock, blue with the XM35 at 3 oclock

And finally on the way back to the cars, we found this stunning leafless tree – so I demonstrated my shadow technique. 

Do you want to join us?

All in all a fantastic night – not too cold either – lots of torch work and virtually no need to teach any camera skills, which is the purpose of this workshop series. 

We are aiming it at experienced photographers who enjoy a new challenge – and don’t mind standing in fields, in the dark, in winter!

It’s amazing fun and well worth the effort.

 

Mavic Air – HDR Panoramics

Getting used to a noisy sensor again!

Drones have tiny noisy sensors compared to your DSLR – if you’re used to brightening up shadows on an underexposed shot with your camera, you’ll be shocked how bad this is on a drone RAW file. 

So what can you do?

Bracketing and HDR is the answer. 

Bracket photos for HDR is rarely needed with modern camera sensors, but it’s back with DRONE photography. With the DJI Mavic Air I use, you have the option of taking 3 or 5 photos, each 1-stop apart, to capture a larger range. 

Yesterday I went onto Marsden Moor to test this out, having struggled with skies and dark land for the 2 months I’ve had the Mavic. 

The Mavic Air Panoramic Process and Settings

In the app, you need to know your way around the camera settings to find:-

  1. Manual exposure – so all the brackets are the same exposure – remember you’re doing a panoramic so you’ll be taking 2+ brackets.
  2. Set the exposure to 0EV if you know how – so you change the shutter speed/ISO till the little light meter says “0” 
  3. Set the camera mode to “AEB” – then select 3 or 5 – I go for 5 to be safe
  4. Get the drone into position ready to shoot. 
  5. Now rotate the camera to the upper leftmost position in the panoramic – take your bracket (it takes a few seconds to save the files to memory cards).
  6. Next, rotate the camera about 2/3 of a frame to the right to get the next shot – repeat this till you get to the top right edge. 
  7. Tilt the gimble down so you can see the bottom of the original shot at the top – this is the start of the second row of your pano (if you need rows) – now take a shot
  8. Rotate Left, taking shots as you go till you reach bottom Left of the panoramic. 

So that’s it out in the field – it takes a lot longer than the AUTO PANO modes your app may have, but you have gathered 5 times the data and you CAN get a decent sky and ground. 

Merging HDRs in Lightroom

This is where the real work happens. Whilst the latest version of Lightroom CC has “HDR Pano” blending, I’ve found this incredibly slow and you can’t queue up many panos, you have to wait for just the 1 to complete. I’ve never had the patience to let one finish it takes that long. 

So here’s the process I went through for these images:-

  1. Pull all the HDR files into a new folder – these will be the “DNG” files if you’ve shot RAW – there should be a multiple of 5 photos here (or 3 if you did brackets of 3) – so check that you’ve not missed any!
  2. Blend the first bracket of shots – so highlight a group of 5, click CTRL+H to open the HDR box. 
  3. Check the “Auto Align” box
  4. Uncheck the “Auto settings box”
  5. Check the “Create Stack” box
  6. Choose “none” for ghosting – unless you have moving objects in the scene – e.g. cars. 
  7. Click OK – the first HDR gets created! 
  8. Now choose the next bracket of 5 in your thumbnail viewer
  9. press “CTRL + SHIFT” at the same time – then hit “H”
  10. This uses the last settings you applied to a HDR to create a new blend. It does this in the background so you can do other things… 
  11. Whilst it’s blending the HDRs, you can select the next group, get them blending, then the next… I’ve had 5-6 going at the same time and it seems to work. 

 

Creating the HDR Panoramics

So now you’ll have a timeline with every raw file in a “stack” – so if you had 30 photos to begin with, these will be neatly stacked into 6. 

To get the pano, you just need to :-

  1. select the stacks which make up the panoramic in the thumbnail view, 
  2. press CTRL+M – this opens up the Pano box in Lightroom
  3. There are 3 blend mode options – you need either “Spherical” or “Cylinder” – try both to see which works. 
  4. Check Auto Crop
  5. Check Create Stack
  6. Uncheck Auto Settings
  7. Slide the Boundary Warp control to taste – 0 = a thinner wide photo, 100 is a taller photo. 
  8. Now hit “Merge” and you get a final blend of lots of photos in 1 big stack! Phew
  9. After the first Merge, you can just re-use the settings on each pano as follows
  10. Select the next group of pano stacks
  11. Press “CTRL + SHIFT + M” – this sets the panoramic blend going without the settings box popping up. 
  12. Go through all the pano groups doing this – you can queue up many whilst Lightroom is working – I’d not go past 6 in the queue though. 

At the end of all that, your folder of dozens of component shots will have reduced to a few HDR Pano photos – now you can get on to editing them as normal!

Summer Night Photography Workshops – 2018 Review

Another series of Photography Workshops drew to an end in Manchester on the 26th September. It seems like ages since we started on our beginners evening in Leeds, which turned out to be the only evening where it rained! 2018 was amazingly dry and hot – it made the whole 10 workshops a joy. 

So here’s a quick review of what we covered in our Photography Workshops – I’d designed them for absolute beginners to gradually learn technical and creative skills over the months. 

Photography Workshop 1 – Leeds

“Creative camera control”

Leeds was a wet night – we met around the corn exchange and used the arches as cover. The night was all about how F-stops and focal lengths can be used creatively – blurry backgrounds and crazy close up photos were the theme! We even went into a pub for shelter – Aire Bar. 

Here are a few shots from the evening. 

Photography Workshop 2 – Bradford

“Seeing like a photographer”

Session 2 was about looking – we walk around in our daily lives and pass by literally millions of potential photos each day. So in Little Germany, we took our time – we found things like bollards and thought about how they could be used in an image. Would you use a long lens and stand back, or a wide lens and get very close? 

Seeing images is something which comes with practice, time and patience – it’s not an easy one to teach, other than to find things myself, then show them the photo I’d just taken!

Low shots from the floor, wide shots with lots of stuff in, zoomed in shots with just 1 focal point… a real eye-opener of a workshop.

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Photography Workshop 3 – Burley and Ilkley

“Landscape photography – Filters”

Landscape is popular and if you’re in a decent location, you can get some fantastic shots with basic skills. So on this workshop, we built on the first 2 workshops by showing the group how Filters work. 

I demonstrated the polariser effect on water – making the reflected sky appear and disappear as you rotate it. Also ND grad filters and how they darken the sky, leaving the land alone. I even got the 10-stop filter out and showed them a 30 second shot in daylight.

The wier at burley is great – you’ve got the curved steps for starters, plus the stepping stones to use. 

Half way through we went to the Cow and Calf on Ilkley moor – the sun was going down fast so we made silhouette photos of the famous rocks, with bold red skies behind. The ball of the sun became a great focal point.

To end we went on to the rocks to find carvings – they make great foregrounds for a landscape

Photography Workshop 4 – Almscliffe Crag

“More water and boulders”

The second landscape evening started near Harewood House in at a wier on the river wharf. Here we created long exposure photos of the bubbles as they spiralled around – these leave trails and spirals, so quite surreal. 

We concentrated more and more on metering and how to use manual exposure on this workshop – quite a baffling process at first, so best to introduce it slowly over the weeks! 

After the river we went to another famous Yorkshire Crag at Almscliffe – we were treated to the best sunset of the summer to that point, it was amazing how red the sky went – right past 10PM! 

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Photography Workshop 5 – Location Portraits

“How to photograph people outside – and use the location creatively”

We’d not done any portrait workshops for a few years, so invited along 5 friends to model for us around the Royal Armouries area of Leeds. We had the best turnout of the summer for this one – so split the group in to 5 pairs, each with a model. 

The main thing I wanted to share was that the easiest way to get a decent portrait is to use a long lens, zoom right in and then walk back to get the framing right – this cuts out all the background distractions you don’t want and blurs things beautifully. 

Another beautiful summers evening meant we could shoot till 10PM – so we got hundreds of great shots between us

 

Photography Workshop 6 – Location Portraits 2

“2 very different locations…” 

For the second portrait session, we had Nicola and Chloe doing their thing – and a little later, Andy Blue Maclaren joined in. Location 1 was park square, a sea of flowers and green – so very soft and pastoral look. In here we used trees and benches to start with – then moved on to the old police station building which was a couple of minutes away. 

The building has lots of graffiti over it, so great for a grungey background to the portraits. We did narrow depth of field portraits, looking along a wall to Chloe peeking around a corner. 

We finished off with a flash photo demonstration at the old swimming pool car park – a little taster of what you can do with speedlites

 

 

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Photography Workshop 7 – Cars

“Wide shots, detail shots and flash shots… “

After 6 workshops, everyone was getting to grips with camera settings so it’s the perfect time to do the car workshop so they can try their new skills out on something totally different. 

Our friends at WY TVR Club had their meeting at the Manor Golf Club, so we met there at 7 and shot through till about 9:15 – then i got a pair of flashes out to show what you can do with 2 lights.

 

Photography Workshop 8 – Saltaire

“World Heritage Site – Landscape and Architecture in the same night!”

Saltaire is a real mix for the photographer. You have the river and canal for the landscape guys, the mill and chapel for the architecture people and the model village for the urban photographer. 

This workshop was a little wet at the start so we took shelter on the tow path under a bridge for a while. Here we had great refelctions of the mill in the water, so all wasn’t lost! 

After that we crossed the foot bridge over to the wier, this leads the eye to one of the mills, so its a great setup. Lots of trees have grown there recently, so the space to shoot is getting smaller each year. 

To finish off we went to the cobbled streets and captured reflections in the watery lanes. 

 

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Photography Workshop 9 – York

“Old walls and a shambles”

By this stage, 8 workshops done, things are starting to click – exposure makes sense, composition seems easier and it’s an evening of putting it all toghether. We met near the train station this year and went to the walls for the classic view of the Minster. This gave us options to use the wall in our composition, and gradually as the sun went down, we could do longer and longer exposures to add in car light trails. 

The Minster area was closed, unfortunately, so we spent more time on the Shambles and just trying different techniques. When we got to the Shambles, we had Nicola Papperazzo on hand to do some great poses for us – we tried this both with ambient light, which was VERY low, and with a couple of bare SPEEDLITE flashes which we sat on door frames and steps! A lesson in improvisation and being flexible. 

 

Photography Workshop 10 – Media City

“Sunset, blue hour and night photography in the north’s canary wharf”

And the final one… the sunset and night shoot at Salford Quays. 

This was about coping with the changing light – we showed the delegates how to use LIVE VIEW and the live histogram to constantly check the exposure. 

It was also about composition. It’s an area full of features, lights and structures. So to make the most of it, you need to remember right back to lesson 2  in Bradford and use the Rule of Thirds and Lead Lines to piece together your images. 

Once it was dark, the sky became too dark for most images, so we included less and less of it as it really was wasted space. And as usual, we stayed an fair bit after 10PM – it really is that absorbing down there!

 

All Done

So that’s the summer in a nutshell – we’ve taken beginners and shown them the basics first, then introduced new subjects to try them on, week after week, until they leave with a firm platform from which to take their photography forward. 

We’ll be doing a similar series over the winter, maybe one per month, where we start in the cities and then take groups in to parks and maybe even moors and landscape locations to shoot at night with torches!

Watch this space

AMAZING Panoramic Photos Made Easy with LIGHTROOM

Gone are the old days… 

Stitching panoramic photos used to be a pain. you’d have to do all kinds of prep on each photo in LIGHTROOM first, then export them as high res files, then create a stack in PHOTOSHOP and merge them…. and it’d probably go wrong at some stage!

The panoramic world has moved on

Happily, this has all moved on and you can stitch photos in seconds using LIGHTROOM and no other program. 

If you start off with 2 photos like these:-

TOP PART OF PANORAMIC

BOTTOM PART OF PANORAMIC

Merge panoramic in seconds

Then open up Photo Merge (as shown in the video below) – Lightroom will do the rest for you. 

You end up with a large shot, pretty square in this example, which you can then use in many ways – how about a tall portrait crop, or a square, or a traditional landscape orientation… 

With the file never leaving LIGHTROOM, you can create dozens of versions if you like!

Examples of the finished shots

See how it’s done

Blackpool – the beach, prom and Cleveleys

Blackpool – the beach, prom and Cleveleys

Its got a bad press, Blackpool. 

It’s glory years are long gone, there is a drug problem which I’ve never seen, for myself, but you hear about it… 

But despite all that, you can get a great set of photos on the right day. We went over on a sunny winters day, so very few people around other than dog walkers and the occasional drunk. 

Our main foci were the piers and a spiral thing at Cleveleys which we shot at sunset. There’s always the tower to put in the background, gives the place context and identity 

Here’s what we got on the day – many are taken with the Canon 17mm TSe and stitched into squares. 

 

Yorkshire Coast Photo Workshop

A foggy day on the coast

Driving up to the workshop I feared the worst – a day of rain and misery, with a group of photographers huddled together keeping dry

It was grim… 

But as Americans would say, when life gives you lemons, make a G&T…. or something like that!

And that is just what we did – the fog gave us a completely different look to the previous workshops we’ve run on the coast. We got landscapes which faded to nothing in the distance. Perfect for the cliffs on the Yorkshire Coast. 

Also, we had people on the beach at Whitby which faded with distance too. It was actually magical. 

The sea was out by the time we reached Sandsend, so we had to shoot the groynes without waves splashing over them – rather using them as reflections and framing people walking by.

That’s what I love about outdoor workshops – you’re never quite sure what you’ll get, but you can ALWAYS find something to shoot – and that is the most important lesson in photography. 

Ovenden Moor and Wind Farm

Ovenden Moor and Wind Farm

Photographers have flocked to this wind farm over the years – the bright stone on the road really stand out from the darker heather moorland, the large turbines create fantastic subjects and if you can get some rotation on them, preferably 1/3 of a turn, they look magical. 

I’d not been up since the old turbines were replaced, so popped up in Feb 2018 with my trusty 17mm TS lens and got a few images. 

I also popped down to a viewpoint I really like – looking down the valley into Luddenden.

Here are the photos 

LIGHTROOM Bright Sky Rescue!

The bright sky problem…

We’ve all done it – had a great scene to shoot but not got the right filters to balance the bright sky and land!

We end up with a boring bright sky and really dark foreground – it’s not ideal, but with most camera RAW files you can now fix this quickly in Lightroom.

The bright sky solution

In a nutshell, you can only do this with files where the sky isn’t totally blown out – there has to be some detail in there or nothing can be rescued.

The process is:-

  1. Use a grad filter in Lightroom to darken the sky
  2. Use the luminosity mask to keep the hilltops looking normal
  3. Close the GRAD
  4. Edit using your normal techniques

See it done…

Here it is done on a photo from the Yorkshire Dales – aimed at the user with some experience with LIGHTROOM.

How to make a soft, dreamy, black and white waterfall photograph in LIGHTROOM

Using LIGHTROOM to make a dreamy waterfall

Here’s a shot from a recent workshop at Swaldale – it’s Crackpot Force, yes, that’s really a thing!

The shot was underexposed, but I liked the shape – so gave it a go in Lightroom anyway.

Things we explain:-

  • black and white conversion
  • basic controls like Highlights, Whites, Shadows 
  • Clarity for a soft look
  • vignetting
  • cropping
  • sharpening

Kit Used

 

Canon 5D Mark 4

Canon 70-200 F2.8 L

The video above shows what steps we did – and this is the before and after…

Same Photo Cooked Many Ways

Sunset at Gross Glockner – Tirol – Austria

Do you ever take a shot and never manage to settle on a final edited look?

Well this happened with this shot – it’s one of 3 brackets taken at sunset with a 17mm TSe lens… so nice and sharp, oodles of data to play with…. but what to do?

Flat HDR

First off I did a HDR blend and flattened the image out a bit…

Way too much detail in this and it looks a bit bland. But a start point to throw it into NIK plugins

NIK Efex

So I ran them in this order:-

  1. DFine – noise reduction
  2. Pre Sharpener
  3. Viveza – contrast and colour

Managed to keep the shot from burning out or going black, but still not quite there yet.

Colour EFEX

I took the above and tried a mix of filters in Colour EFEX – I think there was

  1. Detail Extractor
  2. Pro Contrast
  3. Graduated Filter
  4. something else I can’t remember

So you can see we got to a darker place and reduced the colours a lot. The process introduced a fair bit of noise in the sky, so ran it through DFine again!

Analog EFex

Had a go at taking the Viveza output through Analog EFEX this time…

Not sure it worked as well as the colour efex version. Analog is better for quirky portraits and city shots than landscapes.

Rewind – HDR EFEX

So for this one, I flattened the original RAW files, selected all 2 and exported them to HDR EFEX.

I’m not a massive fan of this plugin, it tends towards the unbelievable end of the HDR spectrum, which is no good commercially.

But for landscape… well here’s where I got to, after a while meddling. It’s definitely a powerful tool.

MINIMAL with the dark HDR RAW

So after all the detail, how about making something dark and menacing.

The dark shot had the most potential – with fleeting light, deep reds and the snow just about poking out of the gloom.

So this is the darkest of the 3 HDR shots – the shadows lowered and colours upped a little. The highlights and white clip were meddled around with in LIGHTROOM ever so slightly to get texture – and we’re done!

Silver EFEX

No photo is complete till you’ve tried shoving it through Silver EFEX. This one looked pretty good with it’s bold textures in the foreground.

Well there you go – you can throw your files through any number of filters for many effects.

It’s down to taste which is best – I like the black and white, was a bit disappointed with what Viveza gave out for a rare change.

The power of Lightroom is that you can get lost, then just “create a virtual copy” and start afresh and see where it takes you

 

WHICH DO YOU LIKE BEST?

Tell us in the comments

A Stunning Yorkshire Dales Day – Ribblesdale and Malham

A 1-2-1 Workshop on a Perfect Yorkshire Dales Day

You always book workshops in the Yorkshire Dales with a sense of trepidation, and prepare yourself to explain what each location looks like “when it’s not grey, raining and grim”. No such worries for this 1-2-1 session with Jonathan – perfect weather for afternoon landscapes.

Perfect for me is a breezy day where sparse clouds pass in front of the sun making patches of light and dark. We got that in spades, so instead of starting at Gordale Scar, I decided to go to Winskill instead.

This is high above the Ribble Valley, a bit of a mecca for landscape photographers these days and has:-

  • fantastic views over the valley bottom
  • limestone pavements (small ones)
  • lots of interestingly shaped walls
  • a cattle grid
  • sheep pens
  • trees and bushes

So lots of elements to play with.

Winskill Photos

These show the changing light, shot with the 70-200mm, 90mm TSe and 16-35mm lenses.

From Winskill, we headed on towards Yorkshire Dales gem Malham Tarn, a lovely drive of a couple of miles – we stopped to capture a long straight on the road. It just reminded us of the shots of American desert roads, long straights. The clouds helped too of course

 

To the left, was a long wall which led to a farm and tree, so we got a shot of that.

Then changing lenses to the 16-35, I used the wall to lead the eye to a shadowy Pen Y Gent in the distance

Malham Tarn

Yorkshire’s second largest lake – of 3 apparently – is Malham Tarn, it’s a barren place with a cold, windy feel to it, and can be really dramatic with the right sky.

We got a decent sky alright, and really strong sun. This is where I showed Jonathan how to use the 10 stop filter. I use a Haida 10 stop – it’s a really thin screw in filter which allows me to add on top of it my Cokin Z-pro ND Grad system, without too much vignetting even at 16mm.

Anyway – here are a couple of shots with the 10-stop

This one is with the tripod almost in the water

This is further up the bank, so you don’t get too muddy!

Also around the Tarn we got some shots of rocks which were being lit by the low sun, and a couple passing by…

This as shot at F2.8 with the 70-200, just to do something a little different to most landscapes, where you’re getting everything sharp. You can still see the second rock and wall in the distance, but the main thing is the sharp foreground.

These 2 were just walking along to the lakeside – there was a decent sky – so got this at 70mm, then converted to black and white in Lightroom

Malham Rakes

It’s definitely the most photographed tree in the dales, maybe the UK or even the world!

But it is a great place to teach people who’ve never been – so I keep going back.

The sun was perfect as we walked across the field – low, bright, orange, it was going paint one side of the rocks a lovely warm tone…. We missed it by about 30 seconds. A bank of clouds engulfed the sun leaving the scene totally in the shade. Absolutely gutted and regretting eating that sandwich earlier, we kept going anyway.

Here’s proof that the light was amazing as we approached – this is looking down the valley from the tree we were going to shoot – but you can see the light.

The classic view, where the sun is to the right and should have been lighting the right sides of the rocks… alas it’d had gone.

This was my first tilt shift shot from here – so this is 2 landscape shots stithced together. The lower one got the rocks, the upper the tree and sky.

This is from the other side – with the sun on the left of the photo. I’ve used a bit of a coloured effect on the sky for a hint of warmth…

This is the shot above without any colouring – and a tripod leg

This photo is taken facing into the sky where the sun should be – you did get a bit of warmth in the sky. I’d got bored editing it though, so put it rhough Nik Ananlog EFEX and added a warm light flare to get the misty look!

This is the natural look from the usual side – again, tilt-shift lens creating a square shot with 2 landscape shots.

End of a perfect day

We ended at the rocks as the light had abandoned us, it really was a great day and the shots in this blog are just a few of the great variations the light gave us

Do you want a day out with McFade

If you want a similar day of learning in the Yorkshire Dales, we’re always delighted to take you out for a drive around our favourite locations.

During the day we can show you everything we do, give tips on everything from using your tripod to bracketing images for HDR. It’s definitely the best way to learn if you want to get to the next level with your photography.

Just drop us a line at training@mcfade.co.uk and we’ll organise a great 1/2 or full day out for you. 

Wonderful Yellow Fields – Tilt Shift Lens

Yellow fields of Discovery

Discovering just what Tilt Shift can do is great fun – and you have to be hands on.

Sure, I’d seen 10 Youtube videos so had a good idea what I needed to do – but here are a few examples from my first landscape trip in summer 2017.

Tilt Shift Increasing that depth of Field

For landscapes, this is the main reason you’d use them. You want to get as much sharp as possible – that foreground flower to the distant mountain.

To do this I did this:-

  1. Got the camera perfectly level – tilt back to 0 and no shift at all.
  2. Worked out the exposure NOW – apparently, it goes pear shaped if you do it tilted/shifted!
  3. Switch live view on and focus on something 1/3 into the shot – in these, it was some flowers a little way in
  4. Zoom in on live view to something in the background – that tree in this case
  5. Now TILT – just tilt anyway – till the tree gets sharp.
  6. Move the live zoom view back to the foreground flowers
  7. Re-focus a little till these are sharp
  8. Go to step 5 and repeat – maybe a few times – till everything looks sharp.
  9. SHOOT!

Wow – it’s a lot of work!

But from these shots, you can see it’s pretty much sharp all the way through

Darn sun went in!

Sharp pylon, most of the oil seed is too – the foreground one was a bit of a pain though!

Great for blades of wheat

Another one looking down a wheel track – the tree was the background thing to do the tilt-focussing on

Stanley Ferry Marina – Stunning Waterway

Landscapes and Waterscapes @ Stanley Ferry

With a 17mm Tilt Shift Lens

I’ve had a flurry of outings to get used to the new lenses – this trip was to the Stanley Ferry area just outside Wakefield, in West Yorkshire. I’d started out looking for decent wheat fields, but they were not lit that well with the sun – just looked like overgrown lawns, or like this next shot, have plastic all over them

So I tried a black and white – this is with the 17mm TSe lens and a perfectly level camera…. not that you could tell in the unlevel Yorkshire countryside.

Here is a wheat field and it wasn’t really that great – though the TILT function on the lens has got the nearest wheat stalks and the distance pylons sharp. It does increase your depth of field lots

Onwards to Stanley Ferry Marina

So on my way back home, I pulled off the M62 as I knew the Stanley Ferry area may look nice at sunset. This is a level shot to give and overview – the sheds opposite make and fix boats, and in the distance is the arch aqueduct. The canal flows over a river!

Shift Panoramic

This is the coolest use of the TS lens – you can do panoramic shots by taking 2 or more shifted shots. That means you twist a knob on the lens to slide the lens up and down – so here we have 3 photos – one was mainly sky, one was the bridge and the 3rd was mainly the water and path.

Individually they’re ok – but together they look pretty cool. The angle of view is immense.

Stanley Ferry

This one is from the other side of the bridge – the light this direction wasn’t sunlit and cool. Again it’s a panoramic of 3 shots

Here’s the overview shot a little later – before I ventured to the other side of the Stanley Ferry Bridge

The other side of the Stanley Ferry Bridge

Here’s the bridge for starters. It’s a road bridge with a pipe bridge next to it… not very sexy really.

But look the other way on a nice evening, and you get this lovely English landscape – with a swan too. Loved the result of this image, bearing in mind you can’t really add a polariser to this lens, the sky came out beautifully blue and textured. This is another panoramic, a perfectly level camera and 3 shots shifted to capture the foreground AND sky. 

So having tried a tilt shift on landscapes – would I recommend one?

Definitely…. if you’ve got patience, it takes a while to set up and compose shots.

Mind Blowing Depth of Field – Tilt Shift Lenses

Tilt Shift Effect…

Most people have heard of Tilt Shift because of the miniature filters you get on camera apps. Ones taken from high up to make the world seem like a toy town – or like this where just a bit is sharp.
It’s a cool effect and very handy for creative souls – though for landscape and architecture people, getting MORE depth of field is usually the goal.

What Tilt Does

There are dozens of youtube on the subject if you google it, I did and ended up buying 2 lenses so be careful.
It’s actually a lot harder to explain than demonstrate, here’s an attempt…

  • Normal lenses have a “plane of focus” (the sharp bit of a photo) which is parallel to the camera sensor – so when you take a shot, everything at the same distance away will be sharp.
  • Tilted lenses have a plane of focus which is not parallel to the sensor. This creates a “line of focus” across the image, with anything either side of the line being blurred. The line can be any angle and the effect can be increased by more tilt or wide apertures

See – really hard to explain.

This video is long but he does explain what happens

 

My experiments in a field

Here are a couple of examples from a trip last night:-

  1. Close up wheat field using the Canon 16-35 and the Canon 17mm-TS – compare the depth of field
  2. Opposite tilt using the Canon 90mm TS e – lots of foreground blur and infinite DOF

If you want lots of depth of field then you can tilt the plane of focus to get the front to back sharpness.

If you want the exact opposite, less DOF, then just tilt it the other way and use the focus ring to move the line of focus around.

Conclusions

Would I recommend you buy one?

  • Well the elephant in the room is price – they start at around £1000 and go up from there. They are not really for the enthusiast – you need to be pretty serious to buy one, or better, HIRE one for a day and make the most of it.
  • Once past that – watch lots of YOUTUBE tutorials before you get it and be prepared for it when you get one. I’ve used one in the past without doing this and just got frustrated with the knobs and got nothing.
  • The creatives will love the blurring capability – food photography will be a different experience now I’ve got one of these
  • The purist techy photographer will love the infinite DOF you can get with tilt

A Wet Workshop at Malham

January’s Malham Workshop 2017

We always run a landscape workshop at Malham in January fo those who’ve got a new camera for Xmas and want to learn how to take great countryside shots in the best area of the dales.

It’s also pretty close to Leeds and Bradford, so not far to travel.

This year we had pretty grim weather, not raining all the time, but a lot of grey skies and the occasional shower.

A Slight Deviation

So when it’s grey and wet, you need a Plan B destination, for this one it was the stunning Scalebar Force, about 8 miles from Malham in the Settle direction.

Here I firstly taught the group about manual exposure – how using spot metering and a hand, can get the right exposure for most scenes! They’d never seen the technique before, so that was great.

Then we descended to the waterfall and got the shots you see here. These were my demo shots – just to show them a few ideas. I’ve got about 1000 shots of this waterfall…. so just packed the camera away and helped each delegate individually.

They’re all taken on the 5D Mark 4 with a 16-35F4 L and polariser

 

Here is a detail shot of the far side of the waterfall – used a longer lens to get this.

Road to Malham

After Scalebar, we headed over the Kirkby Malham road, stopping to get a few shots of the highland cattle by the road.

Just before Malham itself we stopped by the roadside to go over the metering methods again, and show them a few composition ideas. Here we have lead lines from the bottom left walls – they lead the eye to the cliff which is off centre (kinda the rule of thirds. This was taken with the 70-200mm lens.

Next we headed down to Gordale Scar – a few hadn’t seen this before, so it definitely got a WOW as we entered!

Above the main waterfall is this hole – always looks great with the stream pouring thorugh

 

On the way back to the cars, we got a few shots of the greens in the stream – you can see just how grey it was, note that this has been processed a LOT to get that sky detail… and has suffered a lot with halos on the sky line.

Next down to the lovely Janet’s Foss – this is around 15 feet tall and very pretty.

At the end, we were going to the famous tree on Malham Rakes, but the weather up there was horrendous – I did ask the group if they wanted to do it – but it was a resounding “no chance”. For once, I think it wasn’t worth it – the weather would have soaked the cameras and all the photos would have water spots on them.

Last Blast of Light

On the way back down from the Rakes, we got 10 minutes of warm light – really diffused through all the clouds and distant rain. We pulled over and got a few shots – all with Long Lenses.

Tornado Steam Train on Ribblehead Viaduct

A 50 year Wait – Tornado Steam Train Scheduled Service

I didn’t wait 50 years – but it was 50 years ago that the last steam train service ran over the iconic viaduct in the Dales.

It was only for a few days in February so I decided to brave the weather and head up there. I’d incorrectly assumed that every train would be steam, so had a shock when I saw about 6 normal boring ones going over the viaduct!

So I got a LOT of shots without the train on….

This is from the Ingleton side – the sun falls directly on to the arches, definitely worth a look if you’re up there

The sun was out for a while – but Whernside was properly in shadow for this one!

This was taken from the roadside as I was heading to Ingleton for some lunch

On the way back from lunch we had more sun – so thought I’d get a few shots as the shadow slowly engulfed the arches, one by one.

This is near White Scar on the side of Ingleborough

Back to the rocks, where I was for AGES

 

Really liked this crack in the limestone

Many hours later

I was stood on these rocks for nearly 3 hours – no 4G, unchanging light, tried hundreds of photos – bit of Focus Stacking practice, which is really easy with the 5D4’s new touch screen shutter.

I’d almost given up by 4ish then people started gathering in the distance, behind the Ribblehead Pub.

The Kit and Settings

So got the 24-70mm lens on, ND grad (3 stop) in place and the polariser on. With hindsight, the polariser didn’t make much different AND forced me to up the ISO to compensate for the long shutter. After all – the train is moving, i guessed I needed about 1/100th at least for it not to blur.

  • F8

  • 1/160th

  • ISO 1000

All alone on the rocks

Amazingly I was the only person on these rocks – was expecting lots of company, but I think people were more interested in the actual train over the steam patterns.

I was looking for an epic landscape with hard, cold limestone in the foreground, then the bridge in the background with a long plume of steam as the train passed over.

I got lucky – it’s exactly what happened! And the rain stopped for the moment when the train actually passed.

It goes very slowly over the viaduct, so you can fire off many compositions as it passes – I’d have got 20-50 shots I expect – you just don’t want to miss out having waited for so long.

Colour shows how grey the day was – I’ve eeked a lot of texture out of that sky in processing.

Using a different white balance, taken from the limestone, you get a cooler vibe

The train leaves the viaduct, and doesn’t stop at the station! Ingleborough in the background too.

So there you go – I’m not a trainspotter and have no knowledge of steam, other than clouds of it look really cool on viaducts in the dales!

 

The 5 Stop Power Station Sunset Experience

Photographing Drax and Eggborough Power Station at Sunset

When it’s a windless day, I can see clouds of steam from Eggboeough and Drax power stations – which are 25-30 miles away from my desk in Morley.

Last week, I’d been desk-bound all day and saw a great sunset was on its way AND these clouds, so packed the camera and set off on the M62.

Eggborough Power Station

Eggborough Power Station, Yorkshire – long lens shot with 70-200mm

The first point – don’t get too close and shoot them, I’ve done it, security are all over you like a rash and they really don’t like you being there. I’ve had long debates with them – but apparently, there are special laws which stop you photographing huge infrastructure locations. Maybe ring in advance to get permission if you want to get close.

So Eggborough – just a couple of miles up the A19 and turn right after a small hump-backed bridge, and you get the sun directly behind the clouds and towers. You want the steam to be backlit for the most dramatic effect. Also the sun can add so much colour to the otherwise white steam

Portrait version of Eggborough Power Station, Yorkshire – long lens shot with 70-200mm

These 2 shots were taken hand-held with the 70-200mm lens – then I swapped over to the 16-35mm to show the huge clouds and their curved paths more. Also, I could put on a 10-stop ND filter to extend the exposure from 1/400th to a full 30 seconds

Eggborough Power Station, Yorkshire – wide lens with polariser and 10 stop filter

Eggborough Power Station, Yorkshire – brightened up the grass on this one

 

Drax Power Station

Location 1

Drax Power Station, Yorkshire

Drax Power Station, Yorkshire

I found this puddle many years ago, just by chance I’d parked in a gateway to get a shot and there it was.

Was an obvious place to try a shot – the puddle was frozen over so the perfect reflections were slightly obscured, but I quite like the stark cold look it gives – especially compared to the warm clouds.

You could argue I should get rid of the power lines – they are a distraction – but surely a power station does have the odd cable around it 😉

Drax Power Station, Yorkshire

Drax Power Station, Yorkshire

Drax – Location 2

This is near a farm just past DRAX – there was a big pond nearby but was on private property AND the farmer was milling around, so thought better than trying to shoot from it.

It gave great close up shots of the steam as it was floating virtually over head

There were a couple of puddles there too – so got an ultra low reflection shot. Basically, the camera was touching the puddle when I took it… takes a bit of practice.

Mouse eye view of DRAX

This third location is from about a mile away in a field near the river Aire. It’s often full of arable crops, so you can get bobbing yellow oil seed or ears of wheat in the foreground, today it had the beginnings of some wheat by the look of it. But the crops were too small to bother with, so we concentrate on the sky – the shape of the cloud as it floats away from the towers.

Cool sunset of drax from a mile away

This second shot is a faster shutter speed and processed to be cooler – lots of blue tones. Just a different feel.

Location 5 – Goole Docks

Once the sun had set, the power station looked dull and grey – but the sky to the west was still glowing all kinds of warm colours.

So I headed over a familiar route to some docks in Goole. I’d passed these 8 years ago and remembered they had some nice shapes and textures, as well as wonderful reflections of course.

A factory door opened and dozens of ducks sprang into the water…

Even cranes look pretty cool with a sunset going on behind them

More detail of this large machine – no idea what it is though.

Road warning signs – on the banks of the Aire at Goole

Sunset and industrial shade

Sci-fi movie processing style

Final embers of the sunset

Wensleydale – New Year 2017

Wensleydale for New Year

Wensleydale is one of my favourite Dales, it’s long, wide, full of waterfalls and lovely villages – and has nice cheese!

Cotter Force, Wensleydale

This new year I was up there with friends and popped out now and then to get some shots of the area – especially one fantastic sunset on New Years Day, where we went up Butter Tubs Pass. Looking back over the valley to Ingleborough was pure magic.

Ingleborough, from Butter Tubs Pass

Snowy grass in the foreground, dramatic skies in the distance, and eventually we got a rare Sun Pillar. I’ve not seen one before, it’s when the sun sets and lights up ice particles in the sky – looking like a fountain of fire.

Sun Pillar

The following day, I finally found Cotter Force – I’d tried before but went straight past it by accident! It’s probably the most accessible waterfall other than West Burton, in a little rock fissure and all in the shade.

 

Cotter Force, Wensleydale

Cotter Force, Wensleydale

New Years Evening was a deluge, so when we went to Aysgarth Falls the river Ure was a torrent – perfect for Sam, this guy who’s a professional Kayak racer. He did a couple of runs for us, totally mental, but exciting to watch.

Lower Aysgarth Falls, Sam kayaks over it

 

We went to Hardrow Force too – England’s highest fall wzith a clear drop over 90 feet – and again it was pretty full compared to normal.

Hardraw Force

Walking across the fields between Simonstone and Hardraw was relly pretty too – can’t beat the odd barn or tree for a Landscape photo.

Path from Hardraw to Simonstone

View into Wensleydale from Simonstone

The rest of the photos from the day

Moles caught and put on the wall…. not sure why

View to Hawes

Upper Aysgarth Falls

Cotterdale

Upper Cotter Force

Cotter Force

LIGHTROOM TUTORIAL – Konigsee Bavaria

A Bavarian Lake Scene

Here’s a photo of the stunning Konigsee, part of our 2016 trip to Austria. 

It’s taken by our friend Julie Pfeiffer, who came all the way from Milwaukee to join us in Tirol. The shot is from the banks of the lake next to a beautiful church. 

Wiki Says….

  • Situated within the Berchtesgaden Alps in the municipality of Schönau am Königsee, just south of Berchtesgaden and the Austrian city of Salzburg, the Königssee is Germany’s third deepest lake. Located at a Jurassic rift, it was formed by glaciers during the last ice age. It stretches about 7.7 km (4.8 mi) in the north-south direction and is about 1.7 km (1.1 mi) across at its widest point. Except at its outlet, the Königsseer Ache at the village of Königssee, the lake similar to a fjord is surrounded by steeply rising flanks of mountains up to 2,700 m (8,900 ft), including the Watzmann massif in the west. The railway Königsseebahn served the lake from 1909 until 1965. Its last tracks were dismantled during 1971, and the station in Berchtesgaden was demolished in 2012. The only remaining element of the railway is the Königsee station (now a restaurant). The track route is mostly used as a walking path.

Before and After

Here is the colour RAW file I received, and the final edited shot – to see how I got there, just watch the video!


Watch How I Did It

https://youtu.be/79P0HW9s0eE 

LIGHTROOM tutorial – Landscape – Swaledale Waterfall

Is Swaledale the best Dale? 

There are so many dales, all with different character, all with different features. 

Swaledale is known for its steep sides, lead mines, waterfalls and 1000 barns – so lots to go at for the photographer

We went up there yesterday – Richard Spurdens with his new Canon 5D mark 4 and me with the huge 500mm lens. Boys and their toys. 

Here are a few from a quick play in LIGHTROOM – you can see the autumn colours were strong, and we found some really dramatic view points. That’s at the cost of being knackered after a long walk of course. 

 

The tutorial bit

Here’s the before and after of the photo we edit for you

At the end of the shoot the light died pretty fast and there was no sunset – so we found this waterfall. 

The sky and water were really bright compared to the surrounding leaves and rocks – I purposely shot the shot to keep detail in these bright areas, at the cost of underexposed “everything else”.

In this tutorial we explain

  • how to recover hightlights and dark areas
  • how to quickly and easily enhance areas with the RADIAL tool 
  • why it’s worth underexposing in these situations
  • why you should think VERY CAREFULLY before handing out your RAW files. 

The Video

 

Lightroom and Photoshop – Focus Stacking Tutorial

Front to back sharpness

Here’s how it’s done!

Even at F16 with a wide lens, you can struggle to get everything sharp in a photo. If you like getting a foreground object such as a boulder or stream in your shot – the background may get blurry – of the foreground may get blurry… it depends on where you focus.

How about doing 2 shots, 1 focussed on the background and the other on the foreground?

That’s what we did here – the video takes you through how to automatically blend these 2 shots in PHOTOSHOP.

The Source Images

These were taken on a tripod with the exact same settings – just the focus point changed. I used LIVE VIEW on a canon 5D mark 3 – moving the little focus box from the leaves in one shot to the actual waterfall in the other. Hopefully, you can see the focus difference on these 2 shots

 

The Result

This looks pretty much the same as above, but on closer inspection, you see both the back and foreground are sharp

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See how it’s done

Lightroom Tutorial – Landscape – Ribblehead Viaduct

Yorkshire Dales Lightroom Tutorial – Ribblehead Viaduct

A sunset shot – without a great sunset

So you’re driving up a long country road with no real signs of life apart from the odd farm or bird of prey, then all of a sudden this massive viaduct pops up!

That’s Ribblesdale – it’s full of stuff to photograph, and here is the best bit, right at the top of the valley.

In the summer the sun sets over the back of Whernside, so not so good for sunsets – but in the darker months, you get the sun setting behind the actual viaduct – so far more effective.

Tutorial Contents

It’s a full LIGHTROOM workflow – quite long and discusses how to make something quite overcast and disappointing into something a bit more exciting.

We go through each of the DEVELOP panels showing you ideas and even use NIK Silver EFEX to do a final mono edit.

Sepia Conversion – Silver EFEX Pro

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The Video

Lightroom Tutorial – Landscape – Wilder Kaiser in Austria

Lightroom Landscape Tutorial – from Austria!

The Wilder Kaiser, Tirol

Here is a full editing Lightroom tutorial of an Austrian landscape – it’s the Wilder Kaiser range, which loom majestically over the farm we stop at on the McFade Austrian holiday which runs every October

At the top of the ski slopes they have these little lakes which store water for the snow-blowers. If there isn’t any snow, they just make it from these reservoirs!

So at sunset we didn’t ge the most incredible colours in the sky – but we can show you a few steps on how to get from a cold looking scene, to something a bit more dynamic.

Before and After

The Video

Editing a Landscape in LIGHTROOM – Zell am See, Austria

Lightroom Edit of Zell Am See – Austria

Real-time Lightroom editing tutorial

Here’s a 10 stop shot – taken with a very dark ND filter which makes the exposure 1000 times longer. This one has a 30-second exposure.

The filter has a blue cast, so we show how to correct this – and work through each step describing “why” we make each change.

Before and After

The Video

Here’s the video with all the steps and discussion for you to learn from

 

What else would you like to learn about?

We hope that was useful – we’ll be doing more videos to help boost your processing, so let us know it the comments below what you’ve been struggling with.

 

Yorkshire Coast Photography Workshop – Photos

McFade’s Yorkshire Coast Workshop – 2016

We returned to the Yorkshire Coast for the 5th time this year – armed with cameras and tripods, out trip took us from Robin Hood’s bay to Saltburn via several stops, coffees and a bag of fish and chips.

Here is what we got up to on the Yorkshire Coast

Robin Hoods Bay

The classic Yorkshire Coast village – with a huge defence wall, rock pools and boats everywhere. We started here – and had lunch at a local chippy!

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Selwick Bay

Our first stop here on a workshop – rather than Whitby, where you have too many people bustling around for you to get great photos at noon – we called in at this lovely bay.

The Nab is the iconic sea pillar you see in many of the shots.

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Sandsend

it’s just a beach when the tide is out – but time it right, the sea comes in and makes misty patterns over the groynes, and on a good day, create huge waves which splash passing traffic.

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Staithes

This is always the highlight for me – a beautiful little village, with a  tidal harbour, stunning views – just a classic where you can enjoy a few hours.

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Saltburn on Sea

To fininish off we stop at Saltburn – it’s on the way home, has the only Yorkshire pier which used to be lit up below the deck. Twice now it’s not been lit!

This time we had a little intro to night photography before heading back homeward bound

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Ribblesdale – Yorkshire Dales Western Diamond

Ribblesdale – a fantastic photography destination

Coming from Ribblesdale, I’m obviously biased – though I’m a good 20 miles downstream from most of these destinations

The Ribble is 70 miles long, starting at Ribblehead and entering the Irish sea at Preston. It’s a stunning journey down the valley, past Settle, Clitheroe and Ribchester – though these locations are all from Settle to Ribblehead

So here’s our pictorial guide to Ribblesdale

Above the valley

These are from above Langthwaite – take the Malham Road and you’ll find them.

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Scalebar Force

A little outside of Settle on the Airton Road

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Stainforth Force

A 30 minute walk from Stainforth – or you can park next to it if you’re brave!

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Cattrigg Force

A steep walk out of Stainforth, or an amble down from the Malham road

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Hoffman Lime Kiln

Just by the train track and road, near Stainforth – very easy access and parking

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Ribblehead Station

A high station with track crossing, so you can get unique views – and park right outside it!

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Ribblehead Viaduct

The best viaduct on the Settle Carlisle route – amazing in this bleak landscape

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A Few Other Views

Yorkshire’s Best Kept Secret – Knaresborough

Knaresborough Workshop Night

Yorkshire is full of little market towns, each with their market square lined with pubs.

Most would think of places like Thirsk, Bedale, Masham or Pickering – but there is one far closer to Leeds than all of those.

Knaresborough is just outside Harrogate and has all of the above. The square is a delight, there is a historic feel to the place with its huge castle ruins, and best of all for photographers, a mirror-still river which reflects a huge decorative train viaduct.

McFade’s Knaresborough Night Workshop

In September 2016, we took a group around the river area of the town – starting by the bridge at Mother Shipton’s Cave, then moving on up to the castle and back via the railway station.

We finished off by showing the delegates how the Pixel Stick works – which is always great fun!

Unfortunately, the sunset never really set fire to the sky – as this shot shows. It is the main road bridge over the river Nidd, taken from downstream.

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Waterside

Next we walked up the little river road and captured a few views up there as we approached the viaduct.

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River Reflections

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View from the Castle

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Walk back to base

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Pixel Stick on the Bridge

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People and the Pixel Stick

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The rest of the photos

Summer Nights Workshop – 2016 Review

McFade Summer Nights Workshops 2016

A look back over 12 fantastic evenings – but first some background

Where did the idea of Summer Nights Workshops come from?

Ever since I took Photography seriously I’ve regularly gone out for smaller outings – usually with 1 or 2 friends. We’d find places to go, new things to try out and gradually get loads of ideas and locations to return to.

I found that it broke the weekend up and gave us something to look forward to. Gets you out of the “office mindset” too.

But also, if you just do “a bit” at a time, then built on it regularly – your skills just blossomed and grew.

What are McFade Summer Nights Then?

When I started McFade Training I did lots of weekend trips, bigger outings which cost more and were less frequent. This is probably what most trainers do – more people are free on weekends and you do make more money!

But I’d find that if you saw people every few months, they’d probably not have had reason to go out and practice what they’d learned at the last workshop. In fact, you’d be going over the same ground again to refresh their memories.

So it gave me the idea of re-creating what I’d done with John and Dave in the “noughties” :-

  • a regular evening to look forward to
  • a different location for each session
  • a load of different skills – from towns to landscapes, people to porches.
  • a gradual build up of skills and confidence in the regulars who came

How do you get the most from these nights?

Both financially and in learning, the people who booked the whole series got the most. The evenings were over 33% less – meaning that even if you missed a few, you were still “quids in”.

Also I get to know where people’s skills lie if I see them regularly – I can introduce new things each session which build on the last session.

It also gets people out regularly – people may not go out on their own, but if they’ve got a group session each fortnight, it’s in the diary and they turn.

Obviously, those who just “dip in” to the odd workshop that appeals have a great time too – it’s just they don’t get all the benefits of regular training.

It’s a bit like a personal training session for your creative side! 

In 2017, we’re seriously considering offering this just as a “12 workshop series” – with no individual bookings. We’d love your feedback on that.

What do we do on these nights?

It’s relaxed and fun – that’s the main thing.

There are no egos or know it alls – no competitions or kit envy. It is usually people with basic DSLR cameras who just want to get better at taking photos. We’ve had a 15 year old and a few in their 70’s – there’s no age restrictions.

We try to cover a lot of ground between May and September, a comprehensive series giving people exposure to many topics, each building on the basics of photography – we usually start in towns in May, this year it was York.

Towns

We usually start in towns in May, this year it was York. Towns offer a bit of cover if it’s raining, some cool places for sunsets and they’re easy to get to and park. Also I think people rarely photograph towns – it’s a bit scary on your own – so going in group really helps people relax.

It’s dark by 10PM in May too – so you get your first taste of low light photography, which usually is a paradigm shift for most.

We also went to Saltaire – terrible weather meant we stood under a bridge for a while, but a series of creative challenges kept everyone motivated till we could shoot the weirs.

People

In June we did portraits. All in Leeds, all on location and with a mix of flash and natural light.

Portrait is tricky to get right when you’re new – you have someone rather than an inanimate object to photograph. Do you talk to them or what?

Well the main emphasis on the first one was using long lenses and wide apertures to avoid really busy backgrounds. That’s often the main issue with portrait – the person has all kinds of stuff going on behind them. So stand back, zoom in and blur the background was a great start.

Next was The Blues Brothers – Brian, Chris and Gareth were fantastic but the weather was appalling. We retreated to the Dark Arches and got flashes out – which wasn’t at all planned, but was “real”. Stuff like that really happens – a lot.

The group had a fantastic few hours whilst I changed batteries in the flashes as they faded!

Landscapes

We are in Yorkshire so Landscape is all around us – it made sense to do lots of Landscape workshops. We went to :-

  • Harewood and Almcliffe
  • Burley and Ilkley Moor
  • Pontefract, Ferrybridge and the A1 Bridge
  • Beal and Eggborough

It’s fair to say the weather was mixed for these – and Landscape really does depend on good light.

The Ferrybridge and A1 Workshop

These are all locations the people can return to on better days – but even on a grey night we got 3 great locations and proved that even a fading blue hour sky can look amazing when you know how. The pond shot below was taken on a virtually pitch black lake side!

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Beal and Eggborough

Another location roadtrip which I first did in about 2005 – this was about fields, crops and their interaction with the canals and power station.

Again, not the greatest light for it – we learned about foreground interest, balance in composition, reflections and a cool trick at sunset where you make anything you can find into a silhouette with the sky colours blurred behind it – see the thistle below.

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Harewood and Almscliffe

At last a sunny night – though it was cold on the boulders later on.

A 2 stop workshop where we showed everyone a bridge and weir we found by accident in 2008, then up to some iconic boulders near Harrogate.

Here we looked at the 10 Stop Filter, using boulders foreground interest, finding names and pools rocks and exposing for bright sun

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Burley and Ilkley Moor

This was a very unusual evening – where the sun actually created lots of problems by the weir. The sky was cloudless and therefore boring, and the sun was going stright into people’s lenses creating all kinds of flare.

A nice problem in a way I guess – a little patience and it became less of an issue. Everyone got to try the 10-stop filter for themselves, getting a very smooth water flow over 30 seconds.

The cow and calf was pretty windy and cold – we showed the team how to create great sunset silhouettes again – this time with huge boulders rather than thistles. On top of the rocks are lots of names carved into the rock so we showed how to capture those with ultra wide lenses.

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Cars

We met at a lovely golf club to take photos of the TVR club’s wonderful cars – but it poured down, a washout.

Tricky suggested we rescue the night by going to the IKEA car park – so over we went, only 10 minutes away. Unfortunately it was pretty busy in there – so I had to get everyone a safe distance away with long lenses.

Gradually the customers disappeared and we got more and more space – the cars spread out and we had a final hour of sci-fi magic. The curvy cars and ultra austere concrete of the car park made for some of the best shots we’ve made over the years.

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Bonus at Brimham Rocks

A final landscape workshop up at Brimham rocks followed. We went armed with all the night painting equipment as it’d be dark by 8:30PM.

It was a good job as the sunset never happened and the rocks were not hugely inspiring as the sky went grey. But as soon as it went dark we found our stride and introduced everone to light painting, sparks and light graffiti.

It was great fun getting everyone involved – we had red boulders, stick men and all kinds of ideas flowing.

brimham-rocks-light-painting-7 tvr-car-workshopct2a3874

2 Towns to Finish Off

Knaresborough

It’s most famous for Mother Shipton’s Cave and the railway viaduct – we photographed the latter, the cave was shut!

The Nidd was perfectly stil that night, so giving fantastic reflections for everyone. The start was at a road bridge where we had lots of boats for foreground – so the challenge was to use the boats in the composition.

After that we captured street scenes and the viaduct before climbing up to the castle – a very steep stairway which was pretty tiring, but we all got great photos of the bridge and its mirror reflection.

To end the night we had an hour of Pixel Stick fun – some Pac Man ghosts on the bridge then lots of other interactive stuff, with silhouettes and rainbows!

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Salford Quays and Media City

To finish off is a place went to photograph first in 2004 – The Lowry as it was then, but it’s graduated into Media City now.

A pastel sunset gave a lovely salmon sky as the sun set, then we were into night photography of all the amazing structures and rainbows of colour.

We actually finished at 11:20, an hour and 20 later than usual, as there was so much to shoot – a few left earlier – no one’s obliged to stay till the end!

So That’s All Folks

Summer is now over – we’ll be running weekend workshops over the winter in 2016-2017 and rebooting the Summer Nights again next year – so keep your eye out for them.

A Rare View of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks – Together

The Yorkshire 3 Peaks – 2 Distinctive, 1 Boring?

I’ve always loved Ingleborough and Pen y Gent yet found Whernside a boring hill to look at. As kids playing on Pendle Hill we could easily see the Yorkshire 3 Peaks on a clear day – 2 very distinctive mountains and one boring lump

But on a day out with my parents, we drove up through Slaidburn to Bentham and I saw the 2 peaks and this other one I didn’t recognise.

Yorkshire 3 Peaks – Whernside

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It’s a completely different look – a long ridge and distinctive pyramid shape when viewed from Bentham!

Put the 3 together and they look like this – you can see the 3 peaks are a long way from each other – left to right you have

  1. Whernside
  2. Ingleborough
  3. Pen y Gent

Yorkshire 3 Peaks

Whernside it a few feet taller than Ingleborough, though further away in this photo – hence looking a bit smaller.

Yorkshire 3 Peaks – Ingleborough

Yorkshire 3 Peaks

Yorkshire 3 Peaks – Pen Y Gent

Yorkshire 3 Peaks

 

 

Lightroom Recovery – Transforming a Dull Day Landscape

Sky-Rocket Your Editing With LIGHTROOM GRAD Tool

Want great results FAST?

Need to prep some preview images but don’t have time to go to town?

With most landscape photos, you’ve got the sky and the foreground – and other great elements like foreground interest boulders, trees, water…

So editing that lot individually can take a long time.

How about splitting your shot into 2 areas :-

  • The Sky
  • The Foreground

If you could quickly make an amazing sky, then use the same technique to edit the foreground, would that speed your workflow up? Well here’s how we do it…

LIGHTROOM GRADS

Super-Charge your Editing with Lightroom Presets

Lightroom Presets – Work Smart!

Do you always do the same editing steps?

Have you created a fantastic shot, and want to re-create it in future?

Do you want to spend less time editing and more shooting?

Making your own LIGHTROOM PRESETS

Well if you’ve said yes to any of those, then Lightroom Presets are perfect for you.

The Develop Module lin LIGHTROOM has lots of sliders and tools for you to play with – all Lightroom Presets do is record settings for you to use later.

It really is that simple. So if you have a landscape “look” you really like, maybe lots of blues and greens with a bundle of clarity and subtle vignette, instead of adding this to each shot,

So if you have a landscape “look” you really like, maybe lots of blues and greens with a bundle of clarity and subtle vignette, instead of adding this to each shot, one by one – you can save that setup forever and apply it with one click.

Here’s a video about how I use LIGHTROOM Presets

The Amazing Milky Way at Brimham Rocks

Shooting the Milky Way – If at first you don’t succeed…

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Pack up your bags and go back another night!

That’s what happened with our legendary Brimham Rocks workshop this year – the first run was a wash-out no sign of a star, never mind the milky way. Horizontal rain, cold, and no shelter anywhere saw us calling a halt on proceedings before cameras broke and people got hypothermia!

A few weeks later we returned, and wow – the results were magical!

Perfectly dark – no moon!

CT2A4430To see the milky way you need to be somewhere with little light… which Brimham is – but also if there is no moon , you’re on to a winner as the sky will be lots darker.

It was a new moon which had disappeared by 7:30.

Techy Bit

With it being so dark, and there was a chance to get the milky way, we decided to expose to capture stars – so this meant:-

  • long exposures – 30 seconds
  • wider apertures, most at F4 or F5.6
  • High ISO – 800 to 1600

This meant that the skies had enough light in them to reveal the stars in post processing.

The Light Painting Bit

CT2A4435 With the cameras set to capture LOTS of light, the light painting was very different to usual – rather than painting for 30 seconds to light boulders, 2-10 was ample, depending on the torch power and gel thickness.

So most of these shots were a quick wash of light, then we stood in darkness for the rest of the 30 seconds!

The Pixel Stick

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We took it, but only did a couple of shots with it – still learning what to do with it to get effective shots – and in this location, it wasn’t really adding much to an already-amazing scene!

Sparks

Again, we wanted to let the sky do the talking and help the boulders with a coloruful glow, so we only did a few wire wool wheels!

We did however do a few LED orbs – they were fun.

The Photos

2015 Photography Review 9 – September

September 2015

In september we :-

  • Ran our first night workshop in Leeds
  • Did some headshots for a CEO
  • Helped Xpand Marketing with their new location and rebrand photography
  • Ran a workshop in Ribblesdale, ending at Ribblehead Viaduct at sunset
  • Photographed Salford Quays at night
  • Shoot down at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
  • Create product photos for My English Summer
  • Even did a quick baby photo session…

See the rest of 2015…

Read about January
Read about February
Read about March
Read about April
Read about May
Read about June
Read about July
Read about August
Read about September
Read about October
Read about November
Read about December

See How Easily Focus Stacking You Gives Ultimate Sharpness In Your Landscape Photos

Focus Stacking in Landscape Photos

If you like to get everything pin sharp in your landscapes, Focus Stacking is for you.

If you shoot low with foregrounds which are very close to the lens, then it can be hard to get the background AND the foreground pin sharp. Focussing 1/3 of the way into a scene if often recommended, or using a “hyperfocal” calculator app on your phone can give you the best focus distance for a given aperture and focal length.

Taking The Guesswork Out – Use Focus Stacking

Rather than struggle to work out the best F-Stop and where to focus, we can create a “focus stack”. This is where you take identical photos, but move the focus through the photo.

In our example from Ribblesdale, we focussed on the tree in one photo, and the bottom right rocks on the second image.

The easiest way to do this on a CANON (and most other brands) is to use LIVE VIEW where you can move your focus box around on screen with cursor keys.

  • Put the focus box on the foreground, take a shot.
  • Put the focus box on the middle ground, take a shot.
  • Put the focus box on the background ground, take a shot.

You can take 2 or more – though with smaller apertures (F11 or F16) and wide angled lenses (10-28mm say), the depth of field rarely needs more than 2 shots.

The Photos

These are the 2 photos – they’ve both been processed identically in Lightroom and exported as large files – ready for merging in PHOTOSHOP.

How To Stack

It’s surprisingly easy using PHOTOSHOP – there is a feature where you create a “stack”, then you merge the stack – and it’s done.

Here is a little video to show how it all works:-

 

Travel Photography – Literally!

Ever travel long distances as a passenger?

I do – as a member of a touring band, we sometimes cover hundreds of miles – and a few weeks ago, that involved going from Leeds to Inverness… and back!

Naturally I took the camera – for photos of the lovely Scottish city, but also to capture the band in action…

Then it occurred to me that the highlands were beautiful from the main roads, no need to actually go on country roads to see amazing vistas. But we had a schedule, so stopping was not an option.

So what about shooting whilst you’re moving?

What To Use

On the way up I used the canon 5D with the 70-200 lens – which gets you into the action, avoiding the road edges, hedges and fences. Try these settings:-

  • ISO 800 – 3200 – depending on the brightness of the day you may get away with 400
  • Aperture priority
  • F4-F11 – any smaller gave blurry shots due to long shutter speed and motion blur
  • Auto white balance
  • RAW mode

Take a few shots and check the sharpness – if you are getting motion blur, then up the ISO and open the aperture a little

OR try using Shutter Priority – Tv in canon speak

Set the shutter to at least 1/500th if you’re using a longer lens.

On the return journey I swapped to the 24-70mm, and a 2 stop ND grad filter. Mainly to get broody skies and a wider landscape view. The settings were the same.

200mm Shots

24-70mm Shots

Creating Vintage Photos Made Easy in LIGHTROOM

How to Create That Vintage Look in LIGHTROOM

In this short tutorial video, we look at editing a beach shot at Alnwick, Northumberland. It was a bright day with strong clouds, so lots of mid tones and some crisp shadows to play with. There are many ways to process such a shot, in this session we’ll take you through the whole process of using Split Toning to add that lovely vintage feel, a process that is surprisingly easy in Lightroom.

The Vintage look can be added to any kind of photo, not just landscapes. Many fashion images will have cool or even green tones added to create a light, pastel feel.

Here we add yellows to the highlights and blues into the shadows – this makes a beautiful effect which you can add to any image.

Vintage Effects in LIGHTROOM…

How to get from this RAW file:-

before the vintage lightroom effect

To this classic “vintage” look in under 5 minutes

vintage lightroom effect

 

Here is how to apply a Vintage look in LIGHTROOM

Snow Photography in the Yorkshire Dales

Snow Photography at Settle and Malham

It’s not been the snowiest of winters, but on a trip out with Richard Spurdens, we were treated to some great Snow Photography opportunities.

Add to that fast moving clouds and ever changing light, you get infinite variety of snow photography without having to move far at all.

The trip started near settle where we got the bush and tree shots – lots of walls creating strong shadows on the white snow. Views across to Pen Y Gent were Impressive, using Richard’s 400mm prime you can see the walls and cliffs in detail.

From there we headed to Scalebar Force, which was snow free… we still got lots of photos, but that’s for another blog!

Finally we went to the inevitable Malham Rakes Tree for a sunset which never really got going.

It was cold – really cold – but we had a great day and got some great shots.

England’s Biggest Waterfall

High Force – Teesdale

It may only be 70 feet tall, minute compared to the giants in Yosemite or South America, but High Force, high up in Teesdale, is very impressive in flood – as it was on this day!

With it being winter, you can see the falls from the road through the leafless trees. Its too obscured to create a decent shot, but adds to the build up.

I tried 2 techniques on the day –

  1. using the 70-200mm I’d do fast shutters to capture the texture of water flowing over the cliff. These had fast shutters and honed in on then water rather than the surroundings
  2. using the 17-40mm – I used a 10 stop filter and ND grad to create a surreal texture in the water and clouds – leaving the rocks being the only “real” looking thing in the scene

Here are a selection of shots

Really bright sun behind the falls on this one

 

214 tynedale teesdale high force

Zoomed in to 200 mm to capture the top part of the falls

213 tynedale teesdale high force

Again with the 70-200mm, even closer in

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Added detail in the rocks with sharpening, used the 70-200mm to zoom in and avoid the sky
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Showing the contrast between hard, linear rock structures, and the chaotic flow of the water

192 tynedale teesdale high force70-200mm showing perhaps the best demonstation of the flow of water as it splashes down

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70-200mm taken from the approach path – this is quite a distance away, yet it’s already really loud and impressive

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Black and white version from the same view point

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Wider shot from the approach path181 tynedale teesdale high force 180 tynedale teesdale high force

Close up to the falls, we see the right falls – a very rare sight as they only flow when the tees is very high.

used the 17-40, a 10 stop filter and ND grad over the clouds to get a 30 second photo
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Same set up as the above, just gone portrait and used the boulders to “point” to the water fall. Clouds were blowing past pretty fast as you can see!

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Heavily cropped shot as there was lots of water blobs on the left of the shot – made this square shot and kept a little flare in the dark areas for interest, just love how sharp the stone looks in the foreground

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Tripod higher up on this one, so you get less emphasis on the foreground boulders.

 

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Taking advantage of the bright sunshine to get a high contrast shot

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Didn’t get many from this view point because of spray wetting the lens, but shows both falls nicely

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This went down really well on facebook!
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Wider shot with the 70-200mm with small fall on the left 219 tynedale teesdale high force

 

Lightroom Landscape Workflow – 3 Minute Mono!

Last Ditch Pitstop!

The Dales Experience workshop was somewhat spoiled by ice – the 3 roads to get to our favourite spots were impassible! So rather than panic, we grabbed loads of great shots elsewhere and on the way back to base, I remembered these trees on the side of the road near Airton

I don’t think anyone else really saw the potential – the sunset had come and gone, very little light and the tree was in the wrong direction for the last light anyway.

But the point of these workshops is to both show people how to get shots AND show potential locations – and this is one… so I stopped!

Under 3 Minutes to Cook!

This tutorial video (below) shows how I got from this unedited RAW file to the “MOODY MONO” shot below in under 3 minutes using Lightroom – and that’s taking time to commentate in LIGHTROOM too!

Sure, you could do more, I think the tree trunks don’t stand out enough so you could get busy with the DODGE brush in Photoshop and make the grass brighter… but hopefully you get some ideas for your future monos.

We go from this

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To this

264 yorkshire dales malham workshop

See our simple Lightroom Workflow – 3 Minutes!

 

10 Inspiring Tips for Better Landscape Photos

Landscape Video…

If you’re into landscapes, here are some cool tips in a short video – well medium, it’s 8 minutes long.

 

Photographer Antony Spencer teamed up with Phase One last year to share inspirational tips on how to shoot better landscape images. But these aren’t necessarily any ordinary tips that you’ve heard before. While he mentions some of the essentials, he also lists some less noticeable and unheard tips. For example, he stresses that you remove the strap to prevent any sort of camera shake. This makes a lot fo sense since a strap flailing about in the wind is like the sail on a boat. Antony also states that you should look for unique shapes–with specific emphasis on S shapes in the land.

GOOGLE NIK EFEX Guide – 2 DEFINE Noise Reduction

NIK EFEX Define – the best Noise Reduction Software Available?

define

There are a lot out there, Lightroom and Photoshop have filters to do this for you, so why use NIK EFEX version?

One reason I use NIK EFEX it is the extra control you have in choosing “noise”. On the screen shot above, you’ll see a little box on the left – I’ve “selected” that area with my mouse as it was noisy – then told DEfine that it was noise. This allows the program to learn what is noise and what isn’t. Powerful stuff

Also, after you’ve run the NIK EFEX Pre Sharpener, you may introduce a bit of unwanted texture and noise – clouds particularly – so you can select these and let DEfine sort it out for you.

Let our video show you the way we used it on a landscape from the Lake District. We’ll take you through how to open the filter from lightroom, choosing which option (Edit original, edit copy or edit with lightroom adjustments) to choose and how the controls work.

The Next Step

Once you’ve done your noise reduction with NIK EFEX DEfine – it’s time to boost that contrast and play with local contrast, brightness and saturation with Viveza. A fast, refreshing and selective way of boosting your images

13 Yorkshire Sunset Shots

Saddleworth Moor to Scammonden Bridge

May seems to be throwing up some amazing sunsets

Missing quite a few of them, I decided it was time to hit the road an get a few shots from the moors between Huddersfield and Oldham – loads of variety and drama there.

So here are a selection from the 2 hour road trip – mainly taken with a 17-40 lens with 2-stop ND grad filter on a canon 5D2.

The Photos…

092 sunset saddleworth ringstone scammonden 105 sunset saddleworth ringstone scammonden 089 sunset saddleworth ringstone scammonden 064 sunset saddleworth ringstone scammonden 056 sunset saddleworth ringstone scammonden 050 sunset saddleworth ringstone scammonden 038 sunset saddleworth ringstone scammonden 029 sunset saddleworth ringstone scammonden 021 sunset saddleworth ringstone scammonden 009 sunset saddleworth ringstone scammonden 016 sunset saddleworth ringstone scammonden 014 sunset saddleworth ringstone scammonden 044 sunset saddleworth ringstone scammonden

4 – Die Hard Landscaper

Sleep Deprivation

Up well before the lark, usually 2 hours before the sun rises, so they can drive an hour and walk 40 minutes to be in “that” position for the sunrise they’ve planned for the last 4 years.

They say a prayer before bed – “Please god, let the light be good this year” – then in a leap of faith, they gamble a night’s sleep for an unlikely lovely nuclear sunrise.

There better had be a great sunset – the last 50 times they’ve been there it’s never been right… they are persistent, they never give up till they get THAT shot.

Tenacity

reflection in road_MG_7194 _MG_7210 pool reflection ovenden_01 _MG_9289 _MG_9376

They have been to the every UK location 10 times before, so have set their own “high bar” to beat.

They go in summer, they go in winter – they know the location intimately and know where they best vantage points are.

They know the composition which works best.

They just have to go back over and over again on the off chance that they light will be a little different…

Meticulous planning…

At one with sunrise charts and tide times – meticulous planning goes into each of their trips. The best die hards love walking up hills and mountains, getting to places others never see; it gives them a unique advantage.

“A Wainwright’s” pictorial guides to the Lake District are commonly used – though most will have memorised these in advance.

Good Light or Nowt

20 minutes after sunrise the camera goes away – “bad light… can’t do anything till sunset now”.

In fact – if the sunset ir rubbish, they won’t trouble their camera – only pressing the shutter if the light is perfect.

Big Stoppa Lovers

Progressives may get out their Big Stoppa filter in the daytime… entering a brave new world of daylight long exposures, with their whooshing clouds and infinitely soft water.

Yes – the brave few will let full daylight hit their cameras, usually in the presence of a waterfall or burbelling stream in a gorge – where the light will be dappled by overhead trees

Tree Lovers

And finally – they LOVE trees… trees are gods focal points.

They’ll go back to the same tree over and over again. The high up hills you go, the smaller they get – but you can still use them, in fact, you MUST use them at an cost.

If you have gone past the tree line, where no trees grow, you then have to find a suitable rock instead. These ideally need to have good light and shadows – warm amber colours on one side, and dark, rich shadows on the other.

The dream scenario is a wonderful rock formation AND a tree – and this is where Malham comes in. A tiny Yorkshire Dales village with a tree about 3 miles above – this tree has perfect rocks which not only get “good light” at sunset AND sunrise, but their long cracks actually point at the tree….

Here is a little game to end on…

In the comment box below – please name the location of the following trees… if you get more than 2, you are a Die Hard God!

1

IMG_3757

2

_MG_79313

_MG_4061

4_MG_2626

5_MG_2605

6the leaning tree

7path

8IMG_5322

9eggborough_flood_01

10dovestone_03

11buttermere velvia

 

 

 

Fire on the Moors!

The Grande Finale!

We started a series of Night Workshops back in November 2013 – 15 workshops taking people from Nidderdale in the north to Huddersfield in the west, Parks and moors, city centres and saw dozens of photos edited for the attendees.

The final night was thankfully a dry one, one with hazy moon light and little wind

We met at Saddleworth Moor and traversed a route around 3 stops where we did some light painting and wire wool spinning.

The still water in the reservoir was perfect for reflections – the result being a pair of glowing eyes with wild hair flying off in all directions!

Here are a few from the evening