Photographers Spotlight Series: David Ellinsworth


Welcome to One Camera One Len’s Photographers Spotlight Series, where we discover other photographers who you may find extremely interesting. They share their love for photography, their stories and a selection of their images. This will be a regular feature, so the end of the article for details.


I took up photography as a hobby in April 2017 after being inspired by a number of landscape images posted on several local social media groups. I started with just the awful phone camera I had at the time, but despite being on an extremely tight budget I have gradually built up a kit list that includes two DSLRs, one 35mm film camera and five lenses (see below for details) covering angles from ultrawide up to long telephoto for pretty much every shooting scenario. For 99% of the time I shoot in full manual, but occasionally switch to aperture priority or manual/auto ISO. I only ever shoot in RAW for maximum processing power, and I’m also a recent convert to back button focus. In addition, while many photographers are quick to dismiss the validity of a mobile phone for anything more serious than a holiday snap, I use my current phone regularly in parallel with my other cameras because its RAW files are a joy to work with (and it’s with me wherever I go).

I use a variety of techniques to overcome limitations of dynamic range and depth of field, such as bracketed exposure merging (using luminosity masks) and focus stacking, plus I regularly shoot panoramas and long exposures. I also love to experiment with whatever brainwave is floating around my wandering mind at the time. If I’ve learned anything during the past three years then it’s most definitely the importance of experimentation.

I really enjoy shooting architecture, nature and portraits. However, my number one favourite genre (by miles) is landscape photography. For me, there’s nothing quite like being able to visit a beautiful location in (hopefully) beautiful light and being creative and artistic at the same time. I prefer to avoid very bright, harsh, middle-of-the-day sunlight with “postcard blue skies” for landscapes. These conditions can be good for black and white photography, but in general it does absolutely nothing for me. Rather, I favour drama and mood in my landscape images, and will always opt for either golden hour, dappled light as a storm is breaking, fog or mist. Anything that doesn’t involve “holiday brochure” weather.

For three years I have used Affinity Photo for all my editing. It was a very steep and lengthy learning curve to get to grips with this very complex piece of software, but once past that I have loved it ever since. It does 99.9% of what I need it to. Very occasionally I use Nik Collection as a plugin with Affinity if I’m after a specific effect that is otherwise time consuming to create from scratch (when I get lazy, basically, which isn’t often).
I’ve never really thought about whether I have a particular editing style or not. However, after scrutinizing my website and various social media galleries recently it does appear that I have a relatively consistent look to my photos. This will undoubtedly continue to evolve as I relentlessly seek to improve. My website and social media pages are always up to date, and I regularly write blogs on various photographic topics.

I’m really looking forward to experimenting with film photography once my recently gifted Minolta comes back from having a service and repair. With my digital photography I’m looking to eventually upgrade to a full frame 24MP sensor (D750 or Z6, for example; any higher than 24MP is overkill really) mainly for the far superior low light performance. In the meantime my aim is just simply to refine my current methods, shoot in more favourable conditions and just generally get better… much better than I currently am. I don’t tend to do things by halves, and photography definitely isn’t an exception to this.

Thanks for reading

David C. Ellinsworth PhD

ellinsworthphotography.webstarts.com

Facebook Page: facebook.com/DavidCEllinsworthPhotography

Instagram: instagram.com/davidellinsworth

Flickr: flickr.com/photos/davidellinsworth

Twitter: twitter.com/DCE_Photography

Cameras
Nikon D7100 (DSLR)
Nikon D3200 (DSLR)
Minolta SRT101b (Film SLR)
Huawei Mate 10 Pro (Phone)

Lenses
Tokina AF 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR
Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D II
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR ED IF
Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm f/1.4

Filters
Marumi DHG Super Circular Polarizer
Gobe ND1000
Zomei ND2-400

Tripod
Manfrotto 05XB (tripod)
Manfrotto 222 (tripod head)

Software
Affinity Photo (Serif)
Nik Collection


We’re always looking for photographers to share their stories, websites, social media and more. Please contact me if you would like to contribute! People always enjoy reading about others. Get yourself seen today!


Maximising Your Onscreen Histogram Accuracy

It’s a little understood fact that when relying on your histogram to take photographs, or using your blinkies for highlight warnings (among other on screen information based on your exposure), the histogram is based on the jpeg profile that you are currently taking photographs in, and not in the raw image produced by the camera. This article will take a brief look at ways in that you can maximize the accuracy of your histogram in a few easy steps.

How to maximise your histogram

There are four primary things you need to understand and be careful with when maximising your histogram. I will touch on each one, and a simple Google search will bring up much more in depth explanations that I can give you.

The first thing you should do is choose a colour profile from your camera that is as flat and low contrast as possible. Stay away from Vivid and saturated colour profiles. The flatter the profile the better. This was the histogram isn’t confused by the bright colours when looking for highlighted areas.

The second thing you should do is avoid using any dynamic range enhancements such as the Dynamic Range or D-Lighting settings that can be found on most cameras. Again, this will force inaccurate measurements of the light as the camera exaggerates the light areas in your image.

Thirdly, and one that so many forget about is your white balance. Make sure that you use manual white balance as with auto white balance, your histogram can really be fooled when it reads a scene wrongly (which it can do a lot of the time in certain conditions).

Finally, your choice of AdobeRGB Vs sRGB will also have an effect on your histogram, as AdobeRGB had a larger colour gamut compared to sRGB, meaning there’ll be a discrepancy in you histogram once again.

Other things to consider

Of course, while these measures above will help get your histogram accurate, there’s still one more setting that will have an affect, and that is your ISO setting. But realistically you need this option more than the others mentioned, and in most cases you will be trying to keep the ISO setting as low as possible in your composition.

All of the above is relevant if you are shooting in raw. If you are a jpeg shooter, you may have to compromise the colour profile setting, or tweak your image later in post processing.

Conclusion

Every situation is different, and solely relying on your histogram is obviously a huge mistake. However, getting the histogram as accurate as possible is important. Be sensible, use your histogram, highlight warnings and any other tools you may have on your camera, Most importantly though is use you eyes!

An Autumn Walk

We woke up this morning, looked out of the window and could see it was going to be a nice day. We dropped off Samuel to school and got in the car and headed out with the camera to take some autumnal photographs while we had the chance.

The idea today was to just get some lovely photographs to go with the ones we’ve taken with Samuel over the years. When Samuel is off school next week we will do the same with both the boys, so this was great practise to get some things right. I chose to take the Viltrox 23mm F/1.4 and Viltrox 85mm F/1.8 and have my settings set to the MGA Colour Chrome setting (which can be found in the Fuji section of the website).

The idea today blossomed into doing everything away from home, so I’m writing this in the car while Llinos is shopping and George is sleeping. The photos were transferred from the camera to my mobile phone via the Fuji mobile app, which works amazingly. Editing consisted of a couple little crops and a border added to the photographs, all performed in Snapseed.

So, here are the images after going through this process… Autumn is certainly upon us!

As can be seen, this all turned out really nice! It was quite a nice challenge that I set myself, and it turned out well.

Hopefully in the coming days I will share with you the shots that I took that were not of the family, but I just think this will be a change to a lot of my readers.

If you liked what you have seen, please remember to comment, like and share my blog and website. Thank you everyone!

Where to find me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

As well as keeping up a blog with articles and photographs from my recent photography outings, I also run The Great Photography Walks NPT and have accounts on various forms of social media.

My Instagram Feed (latest updates below) usually has updates at least once a day, usually with alternate edits to what you see elsewhere. You can find me at @myonecameraonelens

My Twitter accounts are @Markyboyo for my personal Twitter and @PhotoWalksNPT for my work and group. I use my Markyboyo Twitter mostly to follow and interact with people.

My Facebook feed is restricted, but if you want to check me out, please visit HERE. I do accept friends requests to people I interact with only.


I am active elsewhere on the internet, but these are my three main sources. Feel free to interact with me in anyway that you want to, I am always available to return the message.


The Benefits Of Photographing In Jpeg

Since owning a Fujifilm X series camera I’ve spoken and written about shooting in jpeg more than ever. It’s not a photographing routine I was used to when I was using Nikon cameras, and the change has come about for a number of reasons. There are of course times when I will still use raw, and for most of the time I actually photograph in both raw and jpeg, mostly just out of habit these days.

Why the thought of shooting jpeg?

Over the decades of photographing digital cameras, I’ve always taken the photos in raw and processed the images later in software. Occasionally I would use the jpeg files, but I was never happy with the colours of Nikon jpeg images, and ended up spending a long time editing those images!

I’ve never been a fan of wasting time editing photographs, and always tried to get things as close to my vision as I can in camera. During the 35mm film era I wasted time developing film for a while, but in the end I just found the experience of sending them off to be processed more rewarding, as the majority of the time they were exactly as I had wanted them to be, because I chose the film stock to match the subject I was photographing.

Anyway, after an age searching for another digital camera system that offered superior jpeg images, I decided to go with Fujifilm. I had loved using thier film, and had previously owned a number of non-X series digital cameras from them, which always produced stunning jpeg images out of the cameras.

I won’t be able to edit a jpeg though will I?

Before we go any further, this question always comes up, and it’s usually by people who rarely shoot in jpeg, or don’t have much experience in photography. Of course you can edit jpegs, and with Fuji jpegs there is a lot of play with the image file. However, if you are going to get your settings in camera so very wrong, without exposing correctly and getting your white balance as it should be, then perhaps jpegs are not for you. There are plenty of settings available to get great photographs straight from your camera, including settings that affect your dynamic range and allow you to have great shadows and highlights (which some people seem to insist need recovering in every photo – get it right in camera and no need to keep recovering!)

Anyway, the difference between editing a jpeg and a raw file isn’t as huge as some would have you believe, especially if you are set up correctly before you press your shutter button. There are conditions though when using the raw file is handy, so this cannot be dismissed for situations such as low light photography or event photography where there is ever changing light situations.

What are the benefits of photographing in jpeg?

For a lot of people like myself who have come full circle, starting in jpeg, having years of raw experience and now back to mostly jpeg, the benefits of jpeg are easy to see, and once they are understood, it’s hard to imagine why we bothered shooting in raw all the time.

The most important benefit is seeing a beautiful image coming straight from your camera. An image you can use straight away without a second thought of post processing. In modern cameras such as The Fujifilm X series, you can create recipes (or colour profiles) that can not only emulate old film stock, but also have the capacity to get the colour science that you want, straight from camera, along with control over dynamic range, noise, added grain and mug more.

Because of this control, the next benefit could be the one that most enjoy. There’ll be no need for long editing sessions, and you can spend the extra time taking photographs instead of “developing” each one. Sadly, “raw” is an antiquated throwback to film photography days in order to satisfy the needs of those who want to separate the final image from the image that was taken in camera. Ideally, a format should be invented that has all the benefits of jpeg (file size, finalised vision of the processing and versatility of use, meaning it can be viewed on any device without issue) with the manipulation capabilities of raw. A jpeg from your camera can be an excellent starting point so that you won’t need to do much editing with at a later date.

Mentioning file size above, that’s another benefit of photographing in jpeg. You can save between 4 and 8 jpeg files for every raw file you saved, based on raw files being between 25mb and 50mb, as they are on Fuji cameras. A lot of people say storage is cheap these days, which it is, but when you’re shooting thousands of photos, it all adds up! A number of services, including Google Photos, allow free storage of your jpeg images, which is another win situation!

Shooting in jpeg allows your camera to be more efficient too, giving you faster or more sustained photographing rates of fire. You’ll never miss that shot again because your buffer fills up so quickly! This can be most important in photographing sport, wildlife, birds and most importantly your family at play (have you tried taking photos of children? This is the ideal trick for capturing great photographs of them!)

Printing from your camera images is more important now than ever before. Not just your artistic landscape shots, but your snapshots of your family and friends. Shooting in jpeg will allow you to get to your printer straight from, or during an event, load up the 6×4 or 5×7 paper (or any size you want really) and just print from the file. This is something we’ve lost the art of lately, and one you can help bring back!

Conclusion

You can still shoot in full manual, you can still have the same control, you can still shoot with raw files as well and most importantly, you can be a better photographer by using your camera to its fullest capabilities. You’ll learn to get it right, you’ll learn to expose correctly, get your horizons straight and more importantly, you’ll learn to just enjoy the art of taking a photo and being happy with your vision when you see the cameras output.

Camera manufacturers spend a huge chunk of their research and development on colour science, getting the image colours to that perfect sweet spot. They give you the ability to adjust any of their multitude of presets to your heart’s content to make the image suit your taste. It’s there to give you the best results, and usually it’s pretty accurate at what it achieves.

It’s a time where I can now, after many years, be happy taking photographs using the jpeg image as my main source for the vast majority of the time. Taking photographs in jpeg is freedom to do more, freeing up time to do other, more important things.

I shoot jpeg… And I’m a better photographer for it. I wrote a great article on how I setup my Fujifilm camera which can be found here, so it gives you an idea of what I do when I go out with the camera.

— There is a lot of debate on raw vs jpeg, with some photographers saying you should only ever shoot in raw. There was a time I thought this, but with the right tools, the right attitude and in thanks to hindsight, we know it’s a load of rubbish. The majority of my prints that I’ve sold have come from jpeg photographs, and no one ever asked or cared on how they were taken or processed.