Adobe Photoshop finally seeing more use

As I said in an earlier post I am an Adobe CC subscriber, and use Lightroom Classic CC as my main photo editor. I have played around with Lightroom CC, however it doesn’t have the full suite of tools that are in the Classic version, although I have found the cloud sync useful. I expect that gradually it will catch up with Classic over time as I assume that is the direction that Adobe eventually wants to take us.

Now Adobe Photoshop is a product that I am slowly using more and more for my image editing, to date I mainly used it with the full suite of Nik plugins, that I purchased well before Google got their hands on them.

After having watched a lot of videos on YouTube over the last 6 months or so, I am now getting into Luminosity Masking, so much so that I decide to invest in one of the many Panels that are now available to purchase. My research eventually came down to two contenders, and after much deliberation, I finally picked Lumenzia which is developed by Greg Benz.

I have been using it now for a few weeks and I am delighted with the results that I am seeing from my images. I realize that all of the functions of the panel can be performed in Photoshop without it, but it saves the need to spend hours learning the procedures to achieve the final outcome. So, all in all, I am very happy with the tool and what I can do with it, in much the same way as when I started to use the Nik Plugins.

The blending of bracketed multiple exposures is something that I have performed for a long time, using either HDR Efex Pro or merge to HDR in Lightroom or Photoshop, with some mixed results, some pleasing while others have been ghastly. Now exposure blending in layers in Photoshop has so far given me a much more realistic output that I am very pleased with. The image below was blended from two exposures in Photoshop using Luminosity Masking and contrast added using the Pro Contrast in Nix Color Efex Pro 4, with a little vignette added in Camera RAW.

Olympus EM-1 12-40mm F2.8

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Subscription software what do you think?

I have seen a lot of comments about the subscription-based software model that Adobe has now adopted for Photoshop and Lightroom, and other non-photography software. Some people seem to object to paying a monthly fee, for me, I see it as a good thing as I never have to pay for major upgrades. I seem to remember that Photoshop alone used to cost several hundred GB pounds, and was something that I could never budget for, let alone pay for the upgrades.

Anyway adding up the cost of the annual subscription seems very reasonable to me, as I get access to four applications all for £120.20 per year based on the exchange rate 13 Feb 2018 that’s approx $167 or €135. I personally joined Adobe Creative Cloud in June 2014 and the annual fee then was just over £105.00. Up until that point, I  purchased a CD version of Lightroom from version 1 upwards and used Photoshop Elements (Free with my scanner) for pixel based editing. The following table is what I paid for the software in UK pounds from Amazon UK. Continue reading

Been busy moving house

The last three months have been fairly busy as we have just moved house, so most of my time has been consumed with this, either planning, organizing, fitting, fixing or decorating. Although there is still a bit to complete, I thought it was about time that I set aside a day for a bit of exercise, exploring and photography.

I decided to take in a walk around the town of Uckfield in East Sussex, the walk would be in both the town and surrounding countryside.

It started from the Eastbourne Road near the Highlands Inn pub, which incidentally always seems busy especially at the weekend. Heading south-east along the Eastbourne road to pick up a footpath that now runs through two housing developments, one fairly recent while the other built back in the mid 90’s.

Woodland Path

Woodland Path Ridgewood Uckfield East Sussex

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Through a wood and then up a hill

This walk was to the top of Wolstonbury Hill a high point on the South Downs just north of the village of Pyecombe. This area is managed by the National Trust for more information please check the information on their website.

The walk for me started from Hassocks station, following the path along the London to Brighton line for just over a mile to Clayton. From here crossing the A273 by the tunnel, yes someone does actually live in a house above a busy railway line, I not sure I would be able to sleep soundly, although I am sure you would get used to it.

Clayton tunnel

Clayton tunnel with a residential building above

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Airplane travel and camera gear

Having just returned from a short trip to Spain, travelling on a commercial airline is becoming harder and harder for photographers on a budget. So this post is not only my view but also something that may change what gear I currently use or choose in the future.

My current travel camera is my trusty Olympus E-M1, I carry this with a flashgun, two primes the 60mm macro and either the 17mm or the 25mm and two zooms, the 12-40mm and the 75-300mm. I fit all this and my 13″ Mac Book Pro and Kindle (essential for air travel, as I get bored flying) into an old Lowepro Mini Trekker AW. My tripod, filters, charger and power supplies go into checked in luggage. The carry on luggage usually weighs in about 10lbs, so currently is ok for all the UK budget airlines.

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My well worn Lowepro Mini Trekker AW

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My Macro Gear

As promised in my last post I would include an article on the gear that I use for Macro photography, when I travel, stay in my garden or capture indoors.

The first bit of kit serves two purposes when used on Sony A7R, as I also have a film – slide copier attachment for the Olympus bellows (second image). I have two OM macro lenses that I use they are the 50mm F3.5 and the 80mm F4.0, the latter is used in combination with the bellows and A7R to copy 35mm film or 35mm slides.

Sony A7R

Sony A7R – OM to FE Lens adapter – Olympus Bellows & Olympus OM 80mm F4.0 Lens

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A walk with a macro lens

I decided to take a short walk in the Sussex countryside today with a simple macro setup, just a camera, macro lens and two flashguns. The Yongnuo YN560-III for off camera, and the Olympus FL-LM2 for on camera fill flash. I always like to travel as light as possible, depending on what the brief for the day is, so no tripod, insects don’t tend to hang around while you position your kit. I will give a full description of what macro kit I use in another post and some samples of what can be achieved even with fairly old equipment.

My walk took me through a meadow that was full of grazing sheep only a few weeks ago, now empty with the growing grass full of flowering clover.

Clover flower

Olympus EM-1 60mm Macro lens @F13 1/250 Yongnuo YN560-III off camera

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Sensor noise comparison

This post is my take on sensor noise vs sensor size, this is not a scientific experiment, more of an understanding of how a sensor’s size has an impact on noise (Luminance and Chrominance) across ISO settings when the exposure is either under or over. I have produced this mainly for the purpose of deciding if I can work with the 1″ sensor and full frame, and ditch the Four Thirds kit.

I have used several cameras for this testing, with sensor sizes from full frame, APS-C, Four Thirds and 1″, with the following cameras.

All of the cameras were set to Program Mode, with Matrix or equivalent metering, and auto white balance. The images captured starting at the base ISO for the camera (for both the Olympus and Fujifilm the base ISO is 200) and then increasing the ISO one stop up to ISO 3200, I then bracketed the exposure by plus and minus 3 stops. The RAW files were then imported into Lightroom with default settings with no sharpening or noise reduction applied, I obviously had to correct the exposure compensation by adding or subtracting the 3 stops. All of the images were then exported to jpegs for sharing with this blog page.

For information, all of the images were captured indoors on a cloudy day with diffused light through the window blinds. The reason I chose to use two types of camera with an APS-C sensor, was to see if there was any difference between the Bayer and the X-Trans array.

I would also add that in real life situations the noise may not be apparent in the image, or some may find it adds to the image, it really depends on the subjects matter or type of photography that you follow. Continue reading

Southease to Newhaven via Peacehaven

I messed up my train journey today, as I missed the first train and the second one to Brighton was either running late or I misread the time when I checked this morning. Anyway, the later train got me there with two minutes to spare, luckily I only had to walk across the platform.

So I am on the train just pulling into Lewes when I noticed that it didn’t stop at Southease, a quick check on my phone confirmed that only alternate trains stop at Southease station. So I waited at Lewes for the next one as I didn’t want to walk in the other direction.

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A day out in the capital London

I do enjoy a day out with the camera, so a trip to the capital city was the plan, with a view to walking along the northern bank of the river Thames towards the Palace of Westminster, better known as the houses of parliament. From there crossing Westminster bridge and walking along the Southbank to the Millennium Bridge, back over the river to St Pauls and then down to Tower bridge and finally back to Blackfriars. That should take up most of the day allowing for a few stops for photos.

The journey started with a train ride to Blackfriars station, on arrival I decided to have a bite to eat saving some space in my bag for my jacket, that I certainly didn’t need. It wasn’t a gourmet feast just a roll and a packet of crisps followed by a couple of wine gums.

The walk down to Westminster was fairly quick, the reason being that I drunk too much water on the train up and was desperate for the toilet. I would have used the toilets at Blackfriars, but it was just my luck that they were out of order, so I had to wait until reaching Waterloo (oh how appropriate). At least they didn’t charge unlike at Blackfriars where they charge you 30 pence, the problem is I can remember when it was a penny, hence the saying “spend a penny”.

Just after Waterloo station, I saw Princess Anne being driven in a car that was escorted by several Police outriders and two other vehicles, she was probably only going down to the supermarket 😉.

I crossed the river via Westminster bridge hoping to capture a long exposure shot of the Parliament buildings, only to find they had the builders in with lots of scaffolding up. I do now recall a news article about the work required on the crumbling building, so I just took a quick shot with the camera phone instead.

The Palace of Westminster

The Palace of Westminster Lumia 930 4.46mm @F2.4 1/1200 sec ISO 64

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