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!).

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.

Llanelli North Dock Photography Meet (And Film Sim Test)

Tuesday 24th November I headed out to Llanelli North Dock with my photography group for our weekly shoot. This was a place we’d never been. A reclaimed dock and Waterside area with some stunning scenery. The visit took us not just to the beach, but there was a lovely lake worth many wild birds, plus a wooded area.

It’s always nice visiting new areas, but on days where I have a lot of things to try it, it’s even more exciting. I had a number of new film simulations I’d been working on, plus some base ideas for them. For this I shot both raw and jpeg and loaded my camera with the simulations.

As you can see, these simulations were put together by myself, mostly for trial on the visit as I knew it would possibly allow some experimenting. The end results actually had me change things up a little, but that’s the best way to get perfect results.

Here are the images from today, all straight out of camera (viewing them full screen makes a better experience), they were just resized in Photoscape X Pro with no other changes. A follow up blog showing some of these in print will follow in the next few days. The equipment used on this shoot was my new Fujifilm X-T3 along with the Fuji 15-45mm and 50-230mm lenses.

It was such a wonderful day, and I’m more than happy with the simulations as they are. They will be put onto the website in the coming days, as time is limited a minute. As you can see, I got excited by my Portra recipe, so there us quite a few images using that!

If you’d like to join us at Great Photography Walks South Wales, or just join me on my Fujifilm photography journey, please feel free to add me to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

So comments, likes and subscribes to the website and blog are most welcomed, and give me the inspiration to keep doing what I’m doing! I respond to all comments.

Thank you for reading, and look out soon for more blogs!

Portra, Vintage Mono, Eterna XTra and Leica Q2 Monochrom Cool will all be available in the next few days from the Fuji section of the website. Leica-Like V2 will follow once I have found a more suitable testing ground

— I’m currently looking for testers to test out the film simulations I do, as this will help me perfect them more in different scenarios. Please contact me if you would like to help.

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!