Jenny Cameron

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

Posts tagged ‘On Location’

Top 10~ Tips to help create your perfect Landscape Fine Art image.

Have you ever created an image you loved so much you decided to share on every online platform possible but didnt receive the feedback you expected? You put your heart & soul into this creation but nobody understood what you were trying to convey?

How did it make you feel? Crap? Overwhelmed? Confused? Disappointed, self doubt & dare I say almost envious of others? Trust me, I’ve been there. Receiving negative critism isnt easy & can become extremely upsetting. Asking yourself~ Why do I see things different to others? You know photography is in your blood~ I’m telling you right now, never give up & keep going. Its your ultimate passion, right? And remember~ Practice makes perfect.

Here’s my top 10 tips in no particular order

  1. Lighting~ Mood & atmosphere, probably the most difficult thing to learn as its really something that comes from the heart, you have to feel it to be able to see it.
  2. Good composition ~Visual/intuitive balance & direction of flow helps grab the eye. Rule of thirds where you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines. The Fibonacci spiral also know as the Golden spiral helps to lead the viewers eye through the entire picture. Reduce the distracting elements also known as pokies such as random tree branches poking into the edge of the photo, something I personally call “edge- control police”. Although being naughty~ breaking some rules from time to time is not a bad thing & can work out creatively.
  3. Perfect Raw file ~ A photographers fundamental basic, this is the key where you need to go all OCD. Without this you have nothing, no amount of editing will rectify. A raw file is the foundation of the house, without it the whole image will collapse. Its your blank canvas which needs to be absolutely perfect in every way imaginable. Please do not shoot in jpeg, you can bring out so much more from a raw file.
  4. Editing~ clicking the shutter button is only part of what it takes to producing a great image. For me, I liken it to putting make- up on, making the best of what you have. If your shooting raw the image will be very flat & un- interesting, therefore some editing is needed to bring your image to life. You dont need to spend hours at your computer getting a headache from eye strain, oftentimes twenty minutes maximum can really give your image the va- va- voom.
  5. Camera settings~ Technical skills & knowledge of how to use your camera are needed in abundance. When trying to be creative the last thing you need is struggling to remember how to use your camera. This should be as easy as brushing your teeth & come the most natural thing for you so you dont have to give it much thought~ All you should be thinking about is your creative flair & the beauty surrounding you. I learnt my camera settings blindfolded so I knew I could photograph the night sky at ease, not have to fumble around with torches followed by yelling at my camera as I pressed the wrong button.
  6. Colour~ Colour plays a huge role, much more than most people think. Making it look natural but really its very deliberate & a highly thought out process. Colour can sometimes provide the opposite & cause more of a distraction, this is when black & white plays its role, your stripping back elements to create more of an impactful message~ This is more useful in images that portray deep powerful emotions leaving the viewer with the pure essence of the image. Learn & understand the colour wheel.
  7. Focus stacking~ This can only be done on a tripod. Where you take several images of the same scene. Focused at different points throughout the image, so for example~ Foreground, mid-ground, a distant hill & sky. Then blend together as one in Photoshop for ultimate sharpness from front to back.
  8. Exposure blending~ Similar to focus stacking but with exposures. So for example several images of the same scene taken at different exposures~ One for the shadows, one for mid-tones & another for the highlights. Again blended together in Photoshop for a perfect high dynamic range also known as HDR.
  9. Location~ Personally I think this is an important one. I struggle to accept how a photographer can go to a location never visited before & get the most of out it. For me its something I have to visit several times, different times of the day & seasons. I need an intimate familiarity with the place, feel the spirit, question what makes it special to me. Then I concentrate on that element to achieve the best out of it. All this flows continually right through to the editing process & final image.
  10. What elements & message you wish to convey? Start by what you wish to emphasis in the photo, is it a waterfall, lake, mountain or just a wow sky. Search for different patterns & textures which can convey different emotions to the viewer. This is how you begin to tell your story & how you start growing connections with your viewers, it really does become quite personal & evoke deep emotions.

“I believe photography is a message connecting someone’s spirit to reality. In this crazy world we all live in there are times we need to escape all the madness even just for a few seconds to be virtually teleported to another world”.

“Never give up on your dreams”

Jenny Cameron

Test review of Haida Red-diamond soft GND 1.2 & Haida M10 round “drop-in” CPL+ND 1.8 combi

Introduction

Welcome to my test review of the Haida round “drop-in” Circular Polariser and Neutral Density 1.8 (6 stop) combination filter and Haida Red-diamond soft graduated neutral density 1.2 (4 stops).

If you enjoy landscape photography I cannot stress the importance of investing in a good quality set of filters. Im well aware of what it feels like having a restrictive budget and fears of making the wrong decisions buying new gear. This is where I hope I can help by providing my hand on heart honest opinion. Haida are not the cheapest filters on the market but by no means the most expensive for the optical quality achieved, you really do get a lot of bang for your buck! We all strive to buy the best lenses so why scrimp on a cheap filter and ruin optical quality, it makes no sense to me.

Haida M10 round “drop-in” CPL+ND 1.8 (6 stop)

When Haida offered me the opportunity to test their M10 combination-filter with built in light barrier I was intrigued to say the least, questioning myself what the downfalls if any would be. Whilst stacking filters can work and something I do regular, however this practice is not optimal for a couple of reasons;

  1. Forcing light to traverse through more elements, therefore more likely to get slightly refracted, possibly resulting in softness or even chromatic aberration.
  2. Increased risk of light flares.

The more I thought about it the more I couldn’t wait. Initially I planned waterfalls for this particular test. Although I could see it being very useful after a midday rainstorm which happens a lot here in Scotland when the sun bursts out it’s great to slow down the exposure a wee bit and allow the filter to do the work. Rainfall hasn’t been great the past few days so I headed to the beach at sunrise instead.

Inserting the filter into the Haida M10 filter holder is incredibly fast, it simply drops between the holder and lens creating a perfect seal from any stray light. Oftentimes in the past I’ve struggled with the issue of light leakage and had to resort to putting hats or cloths over the gap between filter and lens, not an ideal situation unlike any of the Haida M10 round “drop-in” filters such as this combi filter which have a built in light-barrier.

from vid 2

Inserting filter into the rear of M10 filter holder

This is a ND 1.8 filter meaning it will lose six stops of light. But don’t forget it has the added CPL which generally loose between 1-2 stops of light, collectively this will provide a total of almost eight stops. For me personally, I like a six stop ND for moving water as it doesn’t blur everything to oblivion like say a ten stop would. A six stop shows slight movement which I prefer to portray. A neutral density filter should be exactly what the name suggests “neutral” in every which way and let me tell you all the Haida NDs I’ve ever tested are all neutral, no crazy coloured undertones, no vignetting and no loss of sharpness from corner to corner. What you see is what you get.

If your not wanting the polarising effect you can simply rotate the small dial (three gear linkage design ) on the mount independently, very smoothly to reduce or completely remove depending on the scenario of the scene. Once you start turning, you’ll instantly see the polarisation intensify on your live view screen. I tend to always rotate a CPL 360 degrees first to check the availability of contrast, saturation, and reflection. The strongest effect takes place at an angle of 90 degrees from the sun, ie make sure your line of sight is perpendicular to the direction of the sun. The filter is easily removed or exchanged by gently squeezing the red plastic tabs on the top and lifting it out without disturbing your composition. The choice is all yours and easily very adjustable.

Image of raw file with filter on, zoomed in 100% in Lightroom to demonstrate maximum sharpness of the rocks. Its clear to see the quality is second to none, excellent detail even in the darkest of shadows at blue hour.

zoomed 100 percent )jpeg)

For this very demanding scene above with the bright sunrise and dark foreground you need the best support from your gear. Let me tell you this filter made my job very easy, provided excellent control over the whole dynamic range, ultimate sharpness, no color cast or vignette, and really made me smile. Constructed from high quality optical glass, each filter has ten layers of anti-reflective coatings, scratch-proof, provides the best clarity, includes the famous nano multi-coating to reduce reflection, waterproof (meaning any droplets of water literally roll off like beads, no ugly smears) and the dreaded fingerprints wipe off easily with a soft microfibre cloth.

The M10 round “drop-in” filters are available in a selection of: ND 0.9, 1.8 3.0, 4; CPL; Clear-night; GND-0.9 1.2; ND+CPL 0.9 and 1.8.

Images below showing straight-out-of-camera (Canon 5d mark iv and Canon 16-35mm USM L Lens) @19mm -With-without-M10 round “drop-in” CPL+ND 1.8 combi. No post processing on either, other than lens correction in Lightroom.

raw-without-(1-of-1)

Without filter = ISO 100, F14, 0.6 sec – With Haida M10 round “drop-in” CPL+ND 1.8 combination. = ISO 100, F14, 30 seconds @19mm

Finally post processed in Adobe Creative Cloud

Fragil rock (jpeg for web)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Haida Red-diamond soft GND 1.2 (4 stops)

Earlier this year I tested the Haida Red-diamond medium 0.9 (3 stops) read review which totally stole my heart, since then it’s rarely been off my lens and I can’t wait to tell everyone how thrilled I am in using it. My love affair with this series only intensified, I had to try the Red-diamond soft graduated neutral density 1.2 (GND 4 stops) filter. Packed my kit and off I went to Aberdeen for sunrise to see how the soft grad stood up to the medium and let me tell you I was not disappointed.

The main purpose of a GND filter is to balance exposure in an image that contains a bright sky and darker foreground. As you can see from the photos below this filter is rectangle in shape and sized 100mm x 150mm, providing flexibility to move the filter up or down within the filter holder for ultimate control. Providing such a beautiful soft progression from dark at the top where you would place over the sky to clear at the bottom in a neutral manner and achieving endless creative possibilities.

What makes this series stand out from its predecessor and other brand filters are listed as follows:

  • Shock resistant, low risk to any accidental damage.
  • Scratch resistant, the perfect partner in demanding weather.
  • Zero colour cast.
  • Waterproof, oil and fingerprint proof Nanopro coated surface.
  • Improved optical glass.
  • R5 rounded corners – makes it easier to slide in and out of the filter holder, no sharp corners.
  • K9 optical glass.
  • True colour.
  • Ultra-thin nano multi coating.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Double the strength of other glass filters whilst at the same time retaining ultimate sharpness.
  • Still retaining 2 mm in thickness making it compatible with the Haida 100-Pro filter holder and other brands the same size.
  • The Red Diamond series is double the strength of a normal glass filter. You may have seen online the Haida Red Diamond drop test video? Where it’s thrown onto a concrete floor and no sign of damage to the filter. If you are accident prone this would be the perfect filter series for you.

Images below showing straight-out-of-camera (Canon 5d mark iv and Canon 16-35mm USM L Lens) @35mm with no filter and with Haida Red-diamond soft GND 1.2 (4 stops). No post processing on either other than lens correction in Lightroom. As you can see the soft GND significantly transforms the quality of the image.

with-without-filter-(-gif)-May-2019-Dunnottar

Without filter = ISO 100, F10, 1/20 – With Haida Red-diamond soft GND filter 1.3 = ISO 100, F10, 0.8 seconds @35mm.

Finally post processed in Adobe Creative Cloud

final edit (jpeg)

Sunrise over Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

All Haida filters are assembled in their own optical workshop located in the beautiful Port City of Ningbo, China.

Conclusion

My overall conclusion is both filters are superiorly optically and I have absolutely no hesitation is recommending to anyone whether beginners or advanced and using for my own portfolio.

I hope this provides you some useful information. Please feel free to ask me any questions.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you would like to see more of my work;
500px, Facebook, Viewbug, Instagram
“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2019

%d bloggers like this: