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!

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.

Aberavon Sunset From The Top Of The Beach

You never know what type of sunset you will get at Aberavon, so the fun is just turning up and taking photographs of the sunset and seeing what happens. For me, I can never get enough of this beach, as it has the most beautiful sunsets in the area. Tonight was no exception, although I tackled it from the opposite side of the promenade that I usually take my photos from.

Tonight my gear was my trusty Fujifilm X-T20 with my Viltrox 23mm F/1.4 and Viltrox 85mm F/1.8 lenses. Along with this I also used my Huawei P30 Pro mobile for some photographs, although this blog entry will focus just on the camera photographs. One day I will do a side by side comparison of a shoot, photographed both with the camera and the mobile phone.

Photographs were shot in MGA Leica-Like film simulation (which can be found in the Fuji section of this website) and processed in Darktable, where they were simply straightened and cropped where needed. The couple of monochrome images were converted in Darktable and set to the Fuji Monochrome setting.

As always, please click on the photos to see them full screen, and you can also see full EXIF data.

I’m really impressed with the performance of the camera and lenses in the night time. Of the 200 photographs I took (I done a few panoramas which I will look at later, plus a few burst shots of joggers), only 3 of them suffered camera shake or missed focus. I am more than happy with that result!

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— I am always learning with my camera, and sometimes I push it too hard. I set a minimum shutter speed on my camera to 1/60th and a maximum ISO of 3200, and for 90% of the evening this worked perfectly, however with the 85mm lens on I could see I was sometimes having shake, so I have now adjusted the settings to 1/100 and maximum ISO of 6400. I’m more than happy with the limited noise these settings produced when pushed to that limit.

Aberavon Seafront Sunset Photography Shoot

On September 29th I decided to pop out for some sunset photography with a couple of friends. I also wanted to try out my Viltrox 23mm F/1.4 and 85mm F/1.8 lenses out in the evening and on the darkness that followed. I shot a lot of images that night, mostly because I bracketed a lot of images using exposure bracketing, but I learned a lot from doing that which I will explore in a future blog post.

I’ve chosen 16 images from the evening that I like. Of course, if you’re a photographer you should always like your images where possible. On this night, although the sunset wasn’t perfect, I had images that interest me. There’s a saying that if you have one image you like each time you go out you should be happy, but I think that was said by some bad photographers, as there’s always something to photograph, and if you don’t like what you’re taking photos of, then why bother taking the photograph in the first place?

These images were edited from the raw file of my Fujifilm X-T20 in Luminar 4. If you are interested in trying Luminar 4, or any Skylum products, then if you click here you can have exclusive free trials and money off. If you decide to buy any product from Skylum (Luminar, Aurora etc) then use code GPWNPT at the checkout for £$€10 off the product. You’ll be helping me by visiting the link, or using the code, as it gives me the opportunity to try their new products to try and review.

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Please view the images full screen for the best experience, you’ll also find full EXIF data for each photo.

These images were taken at Aberavon in Port Talbot, South Wales. Aberavon is a coastal area, with mountains within a mile or two behind the sea. It has some of the best sunsets Wales has to offer, with a variety of landscape opportunities, a small town, great architecture and much more. It’s close to the market town of Neath, and the large city of Swansea

A lot of my photography is based in this area as I live right next to the sea, a few hundred yards from where some of these were taken. I never tire of the opportunity of photographing the area, documenting it at every opportunity.

— As usual, if you like what you see, please like, share and comment. It inspires me to carry on with my photography and my blogs. I am an affiliate for Luminar 4, so just checking out the links in the article will help me promote this great software!

Minimalistic Photography Shoots

Photography is an ever expanding journey into discovery. Standing still makes you become boring, so it’s nice to get out of your comfort zone and do things a little different on times. For these images I didn’t deliberately go out of my way to get something different, but due to circumstances and editing technique, the photos formed a series which I quite like, and may expand on in the future.

The photos were mostly take on my Fujifilm X-T20 using various film simulations for the most part, although there is one photograph from my Nikon camera and one from my Huawei Phone as well. The style for these is minimalistic and artistic, hopefully standing out a little different from my usual photographs.

The first seven photographs were edited in Snapseed during my downtime, while the eighth was edited in Photoshop 2020. I will use whichever editing software I have with me at the time, quite often using Snapseed to just try out ideas. Quite often though, as here, I will keep the final results without going into any other software. All images except the final image were edited from the camera jpeg.

Please view them full screen on your computer to see their beauty. All images come with EXIF data.

I believe variety is the spice of life, and that includes what I shoot, what I shoot it with and what I edit it in. A photographer can become to boring using one thing all the time, or staying to one type of editing style. You have to keep it interesting, you have to edit for your wall and you have to print out your photos to really understand where you are going with your photography.

— If you enjoyed this blog post, please check out my other blog entries. If you want to view only photographs, then go to my Photos Page, where you can view all the photos in blogs that I have put up for you to view. Please remember to like, share and comment if you liked what you seen! New blog entries at least twice a week, so subscribe too!