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Mist at Bodiam

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Heading home on a cold clear Friday night, I thought there would be a good chance of mist the next morning. So, alarm set for 6am I set out for Bodiam castle. The weather didn’t disappoint.

I arrived while it was still relatively dark, so I set up the camera and tripod using the light from the car boot before trundling off toward the castle.

Though my main focus was to capture any mist coming off the moat, I did stop to take one or two shots looking out across the fields.

 I decided to use the foliage to frame my a lot of my shots, as the sky, looking from the south east corner,  was pretty plain. It wasn’t until I walked round to the north west corner, that the sky proved to be a little more dramatic (once the sun had started to rise above the layer of mist). It was here that I bumped into another photographer, who I had a nice chat with as we snapped away.

All shots were taken at 10mm (crop sensor) and filtered with a 3 stop ND grad. (See phone snap below)

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Blog, Landscapes, Tips

Flow (plus Cokin Z Pro update)

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Another of my unaffected shots from Sunday’s shoot.

 Cokin ND8 Grad, processed in Lightroom 5.7.

Cokin reflection issue update (see last post)

So I took both adapter rings into work with the intention of sanding off the fronts when my friend Rob had the great idea of using acetone to remove the lettering. A quick rub with neat acetone and hey presto, the lettering is gone.

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Now obviously not everyone will have acetone to hand but I reckon nail polish remover will do the same job, as it contains acetone. You’ll probably just need to use a little more elbow grease. This doesn’t get rid of the fact that they have been finished in shiny black but my main issue was with the lettering. Like I said in my previous post, the problem only occurs when the light shines directly in front of the lens but if I see the rim of the adapter showing in the future I’ll go down the route of applying some matte black paint to the inner edge.

I should also point out that at the time I experienced this issue I was using a 10-20mm super wide angle lens, set at 10mm. It might not be such an issue when using lenses without such a wide angle of view. More testing needs to be done though to analyse this.

Thanks for reading.

Blog, Landscapes, review, Tips

The Cokin Z Pro reflection issue

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Aargh! What’s that at the bottom of my image?!

I should start off by saying that this will only happen when shooting directly towards the sun.

So I left home this morning (Sunday) to photograph the sunrise at Bexhill beach as the weather and tide looked quite favourable. Armed with my new Cokin Z Pro filter system I quickly checked the light levels and decided to put on the ND8 graduated grey filter to balance the light between sky and land. The sun hadn’t reached the horizon yet (but I had the camera pointing directly where it would soon appear) so with camera set, I started to happily shoot away. Now, I do look at the LCD screen to check exposure using the histogram often but I don’t constantly chimp the camera to look at the image itself, I just get on with the job of composing and shooting. It wasn’t until I stopped for a brief moment to review my composition that I noticed something across the bottom of my image. What was it? I hadn’t seen it through the viewfinder though it must have been there, perhaps it was just too faint for me to see. However, zooming in on the screen revealed it to be the writing on the adapter ring being reflected back onto the filter. A closer look reveals that the edge of the ring itself is also visible due to the shiny black finish. A huge f-up in the design process that I thought Cokin would have foreseen.

 The only way of getting around this problem would be to shoot the scene unfiltered. Unfortunately in this instance filtration was essential and the two shots I took unfiltered proved this to me. Yes, I could have bracketed to merge later in something like Photomatix but I’ve gone off using this method for my landscape photography and leave it just for my urbex work. Somewhat annoyed and rather cold I packed everything up and headed back home.

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As a person who shoots a lot of landscapes, I believe that having a good filter system is essential to help balance light. So, I have two suggestions on how the folks at Cokin could improve upon their adapter ring design. First would be removing the print from the front of the ring and to print it on the back, or have no print at all. Second would be to use a matte black finish to help cut down light reflection. I’m sure these ideas are not beyond the realms of possibility but until then its off to the hobby shop to buy some matte black enamel paint to sort it myself.

Just so I don’t finish off on a grumpy note, here’s a shot I manged to rescue using the clone tool in Photoshop Elements.

Thanks for reading.

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Blog, Landscapes

Staring at the sea

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Shot on Bexhill beach on yet another bland sky morning.

I had some of ups and downs this morning as I encountered some issues when using My Cokin Z Pro filter system, which has potentially ruined some good shots. More on this next post but it has to do with the writing on the adapter ring being reflected back onto the filter when shooting into the sun. Luckily some of the shots taken before the sun popped up where fine and I managed to clone out the offending reflection on a couple of shots taken as the sun broke the horizon.

Cokin ND8 filter. Processed in Lightroom 5.7.

Blog, Landscapes, Tips

Last Catch (of 2014)

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It’s been a little while since I was last out with the camera but this morning I had just enough time to pop down to the beach for sunrise. This fishing boat returned shortly after I arrived and while setting up my camera. ND8 grad filter, processed in Lightroom 5.7.

I was lucky enough to receive some photographic accessories for Christmas, one of them being a new Cokin Z Pro neutral density grad kit from my wife. The kit comes with a holder, a nice case and three ND Grads; ND2, ND4 and ND8. I also got a 77mm adapter ring to attach it to my 10-20mm Sigma (I’ve just ordered a 72mm ring as well). So this morning I decided to take the opportunity to get out and put it to good use.

Even though Z pro filters are 100mm wide, when using my ultra wide zoom lens at 10mm you can still see the edges of the holder (with two slots in place). However, you are able to take the Z pro holder apart to add or remove the slots the filters fit into. Luckily I had tested this before setting out. For use on a 10-20mm lens when set at 10mm, you can only set up the holder to have one filter slot in place.  This is not a problem really though as I like to have as few filters in front of the lens as possible and having the ND8 means there is no need to stack. The only time it would be a bit inconvenient is if you wanted to use both a full ND filter and a grad at the same time. Remember that this is only at the 10mm end and as soon as you get past about 12mm vignetting is no longer a problem when two filter slots are used. As a side note, the unused part of the holder must be moved to the back so that the screws are shortened. (See pic below)

Although the sky was a bit bland I am still happy with a few of the shots I returned with and it was a good exercise for getting used the new filter system.

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Thanks to everyone who has visited, liked and commented on my blog this year. I hope you’ve all had a great 2014 and all the best for 2015.

Happy New Year!

Blog, Landscapes

Submerged

Submerged

Bexhill Beach.

Some fabulous rock formations are exposed when the tide is out and yes I was stood in the water, wellies on of course. It was this shot that I believe the second of my tripod’s rubber feet got lost!

  Filters used: ND4 + ND4 Grad. Processed in Lightroom 5.

Thanks for stopping by.