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!).

Sunset At Aberavon Beach

It’s been a long time since I have been out and about, and today I didn’t think I would get outside as the weather has been so bad. However, half hour before sunset I noticed there was a break in the weather, and so made a dash for it! I run down the road to the beach, and the fun then began!

This was the first time I had used my brand new Fujifilm X-T3 out in the wild and under pressure. The wind was gale force, the water and foam of the beach were blowing at me, and the prospect of a downpour was looming ever closer as I started taking photographs! For today’s shoot I decided to take my 15-45mm Fujinon lens so that I could try the crop mode at 45mm and see how much extra reach I could get.

I was taking photo’s, but things didn’t seem right. This particular lens does not have an aperture ring, and I couldn’t get the aperture to stay at F9 to start with. I noticed the “P” on the screen for Program Mode, but I could not get rid of it! Eventually, after a few photo’s, I realised that my front and rear command dials were opposite to what they had been on my X-T20, so I eventually sorted that out!

I managed to get 140 photographs (I was on, as usual continuous low shooting mode, so sometimes a couple of each shot, which can make a huge difference when choosing wave shots!)

Just before I started work on this blog, I also got the chance to shoot the moon. I had been wanting to try out the sports crop mode on the camera by shooting the moon, and I was happy with the results!

The moon at 230mm plus the camera 1.25x crop on sports mode

Tonight was a big learning curve for me with the new camera, apart from the problems at the beach, I somehow at first couldn’t photograph the moon, but then started to remember that this camera does things a little differently. I must get used to using all the dials on the top of the camera!

All images were initially edited in Capture One Pro, before being moved across to Photoscape X Pro where I tweaked the colours with a filter on low opacity, and then resized in the batch module.

I hope you have enjoyed these images, please like, comment and subscribe if you have!

— All images taken with the new Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujinon 15-45mm lens. All shot in aperture priority mode except the moon which was in full manual. All EXIF data is in the images.

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!

If you like what you see, please comment, like and subscribe, and I thank you very much for visiting.

— 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!

The Perfect Sunset (Aberavon Photo Shoot with the 23mm Viltrox lens)

I think it’s human nature to love sunsets, and here in Aberavon, Port Talbot, we get some of the best sunsets you will ever see! Thursday evening on September 3rd what started out as looking like a dull evening, with clouds coming in and a load of haze, turned out to be one of the most spectacular sunsets we had had for a very long time!

While the others in the group took their usual array of lenses, I decided to just take the trusty Viltrox 23mm F/1.4. There’s a number of reasons I wanted to use this, mainly because it’s a damn amazing lens! 35mm (which the Viltrox is in full frame terms) is the perfect focal length for everything, and during the evening I used the lens not just to capture the wonderful landscape and seascape, but also take portraits of the members that had joined me.

I shot the sunset in Classic Chrome, although todays photographs are edited raw files using the latest version of Photoshop. They have the Classic Chrome film simulation re-applied to them to keep the look I was after. Please click on the images to make them larger!

There were also a number of shots that I only used jpeg for, mainly of the people around me. Here is a little selection of those shots.

Hopefully from these photographs you can see just how versatile the 23mm (35mm) lens is for photography. It renders beautifully, and captures everything as needed. The last four images are totally unedited other than resized for this website.

If you like what you see, please like and comment and take a look around the rest of the website for more photographs!

— These photos were from a last minute meet that I arranged for what looked like a brilliant sunset. When we got there it was awful, but as you can see, things changed!