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!).

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!

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!

Mumbles Photography Shoot (From a different perspective)

I’ve been back and forth to Mumbles in Swansea for as long as I remember, taking photographs looking out to sea at the stunning views so many times that I have lost count, so today I decided to try and differ from my usual shots there as much as possible. It’s not easy, as Mumbles is a beautiful and popular area of South Wales, where visitors come from miles around to visit. It’s infamous for Mumbles Lighthouse, Mumbles Pier and The Mumbles Mile (a stretch of pubs that you could drink at while being on the front).

Today’s task was simple, and due to the fact that my love for landscapes is at an all time low, I wanted to capture it differently to normal. We visited Oystermouth Castle, Mumbles Promenade, up to Mumble Pier and Lighthouse and back again. I sneaked in a couple of shots out to see, but for the most part kept to my brief for the day.

All photographs are simply the jpeg from the Fujifilm X-T20, with the majority of them only being resized. I shot in various film simulations, hence the difference in colour to some of them, and as usual I only used my Viltrox 23mm F/1.4 and Viltrox 85mm F/1.8 lenses. All images we put into Photoscape X Pro where they were resized, straightened and sometimes cropped.

Hopefully these are a little different to what you usually see from this area, and hopefully interesting! Please click on the images to make them full screen and enjoy them a their best.

The weather was pretty horrible, with low visibility, drizzle and generally appalling conditions. Thankfully I was with a group of people who joined me, all with similar interest from the group that I run named The Great Photography Walks NPT. We meet up once a week to take photos, and that is what keeps me going and keeps my interest in photography!

If you’ve got this far and enjoyed what you’ve seen, please like and comment, all comments are answered and I enjoy the feedback. Also, please take a look around the site, as there’s a lot more to see!