A Lockdown Walk In Pictures

So, we’re still on lockdown here in Wales, and we’re told we can go out for exercise, and we try to do it whenever we can. Usually it’s just myself and the boys, but we managed to get the wife along with us as she was off work for once. We walked around the block, through a local park called Vivian Park, and went through the children’s play area as it was empty and no-one around, where the boys let off some steam and played to their hearts content.

I took my Fujifilm X-T3 with me, and took photos of the boys. Mostly in burst mode to capture the moment I wanted. Burst mode is an ideal trick to capture everything, and one you should be doing with family or when taking portraits.

All images converted to black and white in Snapseed, with a border added, and then resized in Photoscape X Pro. Please click on them to see them in correct crop and full screen.

For a bit of fun, I also took a couple of double exposures. I know they can be done in software, but the real fun is doing it in camera and just experimenting. Here is Sam, taking a photo of the local cenotaph. I hope you like it. It’s one generation, capturing am almost forgotten generation.

Captured in camera, and contrast adjusted in Snapseed.

Hopefully, this was a bit different. And if there’s one this I learned from the day, it’s don’t forget your spare battery when you haven’t used your camera in a while and its freezing outside!

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Beach Life At Aberavon

I live next to the beach, and it’s a beautiful place to live. We have so much to offer at Aberavon, and sometimes it’s nice to just photograph the people as well as the landscape around us. This blog I’ve titled “Beach Life At Aberavon”, and is a slice of life during lockdown in Wales in 2021. Usually the beach, at this time of year is nowhere near as busy as this, however, with lockdown, people are exercising more than ever.

I’ve gone for a slight cinematic tone with the editing tonight. I just felt like playing a little with my usual look. As such, all images have added a cinematic look to them using Photoscape X Pro. As usual, the photographs were taken using my Fujifilm X-T3, however tonight I used my Fujifilm 50-230mm lens for a change.

Here are the images from the evening. As usual, all EXIF data is included, and they are best viewed full screen.

Hopefully you have enjoyed these photos. Comments are welcome, as are likes for the blog, and of course subscribe so you don’t miss out on future blogs!

While you are here, take a look around all my other blogs! There’s loads to see!!!

New Years Day Sunset Shoot

January 1st 2021 was like a breath of fresh air in so many ways. The end of 2020, a quiet day and to top it off, a beautiful, if short lived sunset. I decided to during the day, that I would go out for the sunset, and take my son Samuel out for the evening. Samuel had a new camera for Christmas, and needed to try it out. It’s only a 5mp children’s camera, but it hopefully be the start of a new love for him.

Armed with my Fujifilm X-T3 and Viltrox 23mm F/1.4, along with my new 60″ strap from Cordweaver (which is amazing in every way!), Samuel and myself headed a couple of hundred yards up the road and started to take some photographs of the evening.

What I have here are the straight out of camera images, shot in the MGA Colour Chrome film simulation recipe from my website. Images were cropped in Photoscape X Pro. All the EXIF data is in the images, and I was set to auto ISO (Maxium ISO6400 and minimum shutter 1/100).

Due to current Covid-19 restrictions, we cannot travel to get anywhere, so we have to stay local. I am lucky enough to have this on our doorstep. It was the first time out for a while in challenging conditions, where we had a super bright sunset, followed by swift darkness. Over the month’s I’ve not really had chance to push the camera in the ways I wanted, so on New Years Day evening, I decided to try out the eye/face detection to it’s fullest, and was mighty surprised that the X-T3 found faces and eyes even with the sun directly behind the subject (usually Samuel!).

I was worried that the auto ISO might hit the top end of ISO6400 on a regular basis, but it didn’t, thankfully the Viltrox 23mm F/1.4 is a steller performer in low light. All this combined with my favourite base film simulation, I was happy with the results straight from camera.

As you know though, I like to take HDR images (three photographs EV-2/0/+2), just in case I am missing some dynamic range. I usually just upload my images to Google Photos (where I store my jpegs) and let Google Photos produce the HDR images. Here are the results for some of these!

As you can see, the HDR images are much more vibrant. They were resized in Photoscape X Pro and there was some tweaks to the highlights and shadows. I love the flexibility of shooting multiple exposure bracketed images for HDR as they give you so many options for editing.

Overall, it was a great evening, and bumping into my friend Thomas, just made it a special night. Hopefully there will be more to come soon (lockdown restrictions permitted!).

Penllergare Valley Woods Photography with Fujifilm X-T3 and Viltrox 23mm lens.

It was a cold winter morning, and Penllergare Valley Woods was to be the subject of todays photo shoot. For this one I wanted to travel light, and only took my Fujifilm X-T3 and the Viltrox 23mm F/1.4 lens. My idea for the day was to simply take as many low shots as was possible, while trying to capture the cold, winter air and the feeling of discovery.

Timing was perfect, and for the first half of the morning, there was mist, frost and a general feeling of a cold, cold winter wind biting through our gloves. Of course, as it was Tuesday, it meant it was a Great Photography Walks South Wales outing that I had organised, and the day did not disappoint.

All photos were edited in Photoscape X Pro from their jpeg, but a bit differently to usual. I cropped, added a cinematic filter and that was that. No changes in exposure, shadows or highlights, just kept it as simple as I could. I also messed around with some double exposures, although these were left as was.

As I mentioned, I also tried a couple of double exposures, and these are the results straight from the camera.

It was a fantastic day. Using one camera and one lens, especially one focal length, really brings out the best in your photography. However, I must admit, I did cheat a bit and use my Huawei P30 Pro for a couple of shots that I wanted super wide angles or long exposures for. I see a mobile phone camera as an extension to your usual camera, and, at the end of the day, a camera is a camera in this day and age.

These were cropped to 6:4 and edited in Photoscape X Pro. Again, I was happy with the image out of camera, but just wanted a little something different, to show that the camera really doesn’t matter.

And there we have it. Penllergare Valley Woods is a stunning location based on the outskirts of Swansea, and within easy reach of the M4. If you travel through Swansea on the M4, you probably pass it without even knowing it is there! If you have liked what you see, please like, comment and subscribe. Thank you and I hope you enjoyed!

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Porthcawl Street Photography Meet

It was a Tuesday, so this meant is was a Great Photography Walks South Wales photography meet. Probably one of our last ones of this year as Christmas gets closer, and the likelihood of another lockdown looms ever closer. We headed over to Porthcawl, which is on the coast in Bridgend, South Wales, and we took plenty of images. I didn’t want to do the same old same, so tried capturing a few different things this week.

For this day out I decided on using my Fujifilm X-T3 along with the Viltrox 23mm F/1.8. I set my ISO to 160 (the base on the X-T3), set the film simulation to my base simulation which is Classic Chrome with some tweaks and set the camera to aperture priority mode. I knew that I ay have been flitting from the odd landscape shot, to people passing me, so this mode was perfect for every occasion.

All the images presented below were run through Photoscape X Pro first, where they were cropped and straightened as needed. Exposure was corrected on a couple, but no alteration was made to the colours of the image as I had set the colour I wanted before I left for the meet.

Here are the images from the day. I wanted to capture the place as it was, and made the most of the fantastic weather.

I’m really happy with the way the images turned out from this meet. They captured the place in a different way to the way I usually take photos at Porthcawl. I took around 200 photographs, and there were quite a few landscape/seascape shots from the beginning of the meet, but those types of shots are not quite doing it for me at the moment. This street photography is a much more real snapshot of life in 2020, something that no landscape composition can tell.

Every picture tells a story, and just having the one camera and one lens with one focal length is the easiest way to tell that story. No fussing of changing focal lengths, no missing shots because of settings, see what you want to capture and press the shutter button. Instantly tell the story, and enjoy reliving the day in the future when you look back on your images.

If you like what you see, feel free to like and comment. I really appreciate the comments, they make me want to continue my photography journey. And don’t forget to subscribe, so you get an email and never miss a blog post by me.

Thank you all once again. Mark.