Jenny Cameron

Professional Landscape Photographer known for her unique, creative and evocative style based in the northern Scottish Highlands.

Archive for ‘December, 2020’

Highlights, darkness, hope & reflection

Light, shadow, hope & reflection…Annual review of the unforgettable year 2020. Its that time of year again to reflect upon the highlights, dark times and hope. So, I thought Id do a round up of my images from 2020.

Highlights

I feel very lucky living here in the Northern Scottish Highlands, placed in covid level 1 which is the lowest UK level. Finding new hidden gems literally on my doorstep, the most stunning albeit not most dramatic but beautiful waterfall. Remote areas of Assynt (dramatic mountains & some of the best beaches in the UK)  all within one hours drive from home. Usually, I just head straight for the west coast ( Glencoe & Hebrides). Although I’m able to legally travel to all those areas as they are also in level 1, it doesn’t sit quite right in my mind, my way of thinking is the more people travel for non essential & I count myself  as part of it. I dont need to photograph my favourite haunts when I have equally as much beauty right here at home. Although after the summer of staying at home we really needed to escape for our sanity & booked the ferry to Orkney. It was legal and the majority of the locals welcomed us with open arms there was an underlying feeling of resentment towards tourists which I’ve never experienced before.

The highlight of 2021 was undoubtedly the surprise opportunity & publication of my book Earth, wind & fire in July. Also this year I’ve thrown myself into more video for my test reviews, people seem to relate more to video rather than reading & looking at photos. This meant a steep learning curve of editing video, something I knew absolutely nothing about this time last year. Most recently last month I purchased my first drone. Ive been wanting one for some time now, it fascinates me the different perspectives. Its been much harder to learn to fly than I initially thought as Im not very technically minded which may surprise some & a slow learner. However I am very much enjoying it & having fun in between my tantrums & struggles.

Darkness

If you had told me a year ago how 2020 would have rolled up I never would have believed you. The compulsory use of face coverings in public places, non essential travel frowned upon in certain areas ( mine included). The list is endless as you all know, each of are having our very own personal struggles. 

Additional edit, dated 21st Dec, the whole of Scotland mainland will close its borders from mid-day Boxing day 26th Dec & enter into level 4 restrictions for three weeks.

Hope

A year like no other- We all need to support each other and quite frankly be kind to not only each other but be kind to yourself.

Hope your sitting comfy, drinking your favourite tipple or hot chocolate and munching on something tasty?

Reflection

Questions zooming round in my head. Its that monkey on my shoulder asking how I’ve improved photographically, or maybe not at all? Lessons learnt? Do I have different views on the wonderful world of nature/landscape photography? Have I felt the need to divert away from grand vistas and what are my plans for 2021.

Here’s a few of my personal favourite memories & images from the past twelve months.





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“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2021

Haida Interchangeable Magnetic Variable ND filter 77mm.

Introduction;

Haida kindly invited me to evaluate their latest innovation; Interchangeable Magnetic Variable Neutral Density (ND) Filter (2-5 stops & 6-9 stops). My test review will be in two parts, this being part 1 testing the 2-5 stop Magnetic Variable ND filter which not only is the perfect tool for photographers but also videographers. In other words, one filter ranging from 2- 5 stops and another from 6- 9 stops interchangeable in 1 second, yes I did say that correctly, one second!! Have I got you intrigued now? Let me walk you through & you show you this great innovation. Do I sound biased already? I’m sorry I am, but I will be honest & tell you some downsides

I will be testing for optimal sharpness, tonality, vignetting, bokeh, X-pattern issues, design, functionality, accuracy of stops & colour shifts.

What is a Variable Neutral Density (ND) Filter & how does it work?

Basically a Variable ND filter works by using two pieces of polarised glass that darken as they oppose each other, creating the lovely ND filter effect. As you rotate the filter the density is increased or decreased affecting the amount of light that falls through the lens & onto the camera sensor.

Sizes; 

Available in various sizes; 58, 62, 67, 72, 77 & 82mm. I’m using is the 77mm as my lens is a Canon 70-200mm F2.8 (ii).

NanoPro;

Featuring a NanoPro multi-coating on the filter glass, which helps prevent dirt and smudges from adhering to the glass, reduce reflections, scratch and water proof. Applied to both sides of the filter and helps prevent color cast while maintaining image sharpness. The Haida Nano pro filters are highly scratch-resistant, durable and super easy cleaning.

Positive features (in no particular order)

  • Filter protector cap.
  • Sleek design.
  • Accurate placed stop numbers.
  • No X pattern.
  • No colour shift ( neutrality).
  • Great contrast & tonality throughout.
  • Sharpness.
  • No vignetting.
  • Magnetic attraction.
  • Ease/speed of use.
  • Exceptional image quality.
  • Hard stops at each end which works as a bit of a fail safe. Preventing you from going past the weakest or strongest points, therefore impossible to push the ND effect too far. You simply place the marker over whatever number you want. This means you won’t suffer from entering into the infuriating X pattern (produces hatched areas on the actual image) terrority.
  • Absolutely no light leakage.
  • The ability to control your shutter speed in ever-changing lighting conditions
  • Incredibly smooth rotation in hand with enough friction enabling you to easily rotate the filter to the precise stop required.
  • Ideally suited for all types of photo &/or video genres including portraiture. I will be using it for my animal work.

Negatives

  • I’m still undecided if I would have preferred an adjustment peg on the side to make it a bit easier to rotate from stop to stop without getting greasy fingerprints on the glass from my clumsy fingers or if it’s best without. Certainly not having it makes for a super sleek design which I really do like, not only visually but for storage & less weight. Over time I have gotten used to moving it without intensely watching where every stop is.

For the traveller in mind

If you’re tired of hauling around lots of different filters on your travels & need to go lightweight this could well be your answer.

Demonstration video

In the field tests

Test shots at different focal lengths starting at 70mm to 200mm in 10mm increments at each stop on the filter to see if all stops are true & consistent.

Sunset images below taken with Canon 5d mark iv, Canon 70-200mm F2.8 (ii) lens on Gitzo tripod. Settings used; Without filter = ISO 100, F11, 1/60 – With Magnetic Variable ND filter 2-5 @ 3 stops; ISO 200, F11, 1/8 @70mm.

Without/ with filter.

Very pleased to tell you my field test was successful in checking the stop numbers are accurately placed.

Conclusion

So far the most versatile filter I’ve ever used, certainly the most enjoyable, easiest, fastest & most practical system. The innovation and thought gone into the design/ build, coupled with the high quality optics makes this filter an incredible piece of kit & serious contender in the photography/ videography marketplace for many types of genres.

All Haida filters are assembled in their own optical workshop located in the beautiful Port City of Ningbo, China. If you’d like to visit their website &/or Facebook .

I hope this provides you with some useful information. Please feel free to ask me any questions or contact me below or Facebook Messenger.

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“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2020.

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