It’s a new website and a new format for our blogging. We hope to give you more info and advice on how we create our images. Sprinkle in some post-processing tips to compliment our Lightroom and Photoshop online courses, and we hope our new site will provide a deluge of useful information delivered on a weekly basis for your viewing pleasure.
All images within this blog were made during a magical weekend away in County Mayo way back in a different time. Well not quite. September 2020 and the only weekend we got to run outside Dublin in our scheduled Autumn program. Ba, humbug, enough of that perpetual discussion, this is a photography blog for God’s sake. The final word, and a reference some of you Game of Thrones fans might appreciate. A ‘Dream of Spring’. Please get me back to mighty Mayo for our scheduled weekend in May 2021. Please lads, I’m begging you, I need the mountains and the Wild Atlantic Way.
A few wee points of order. We were based out of Westport, home turf to our very own Michael McLaughlin. Westport is a nice central location for shooting in the area as it gives you a jump-off point to shoot North Mayo up to Downpatrick Head, Achill Island, plus that magical stretch south where Mayo becomes Connemara. I arrived a few days early to enjoy some solo shooting in advance of the workshop. The more of that I can get this year the better. I digress let’s talk pictures.
Doo Lough, Co Mayo, Ireland
It feels like the wind is always blowing at Doo Lough, Co Mayo, and capturing a gentle reflection can feel challenging. A moody evening and something in between reflections-wise was enough for me in this stunning location. The collection of Scots Pines really juts out beautifully against the evening sky. Nothing fancy exposure-wise here. I liked the darker moody feel to the image so no bracketing to widen the dynamic range. I used a Lee Filters .6 medium grad to hold the sky in then applied a white balance change in post to warm things up a bit. No extensive use of luminosity masks needed just some straight-up dodging and burning using the brush, radial filter, and graduated filter in Photoshop’s Camera RAW. All of these tools, of course, also accessible via Lightroom.
Nikon d 850, 14 – 24 2.8 and my trusty Lee Filters .6 medium grad
Delphi Valley, Co Mayo, Ireland
Let’s just say we were eaten alive. The midges we’re pretty vicious but what to do but persevere when the cloud lifts, the reflections sit down and nature puts on a stunning display. It was really socked in when we arrived but the cloud lifted at the right moment bringing through some lovely warm light and the mist lingered on the hilltops for some great atmosphere.
I mentioned below I had lent my filters out so I just did one exposure for the sky and one for the foreground. In the end I was able to recover the detail for one RAW file and a really simple blend in Photoshop ensued by double processing the RAW file. No masks needed with the really easy dispersion of the light and landscape. Ordinarily, a .6 medium or a .9 soft grad ND would balance a scene like this nicely. I used the radial filter in Lightroom/Photoshop Camera RAW to create a warm to cool transition between land and sky. I think that really helped to focus the eye. Where do you want the viewer to look? This is such an important concept for me and I call it ‘directionality’ in my Simple Tools course. What do I want people to see? That’s the starting point of processing for me. Of course, the opposite is also true. What do I want to disguise? I choose my words carefully.
Nikon d850 plus 14 – 24
30 Second Demonstration – Post Processing in Lightroom and Photoshop
As part of our drive to give you more and better content we will be sharing some analysis of our editing throught process. Processing for us is a creative as well as a technical skill and we hope some of the ideas within these videos will help you process your images with more creativity.
Downpatrick Head, Co Mayo, Ireland
The Dun Briste stack off Downpatrick Head Co Mayo sits in perfect isolation. The layers of rock scream Co Mayo. Perfect for those long exposures. We were treated to some majestic light in the sky plus some really great swell to work with. Remember swell isn’t necessarily influenced by the wind and offshore events can create that beautiful white water crashing up against the cliffs and around the stack. Watch this space – weather and photography online course coming soon. Que my Lee Filter’s little stopper and a 90-second exposure. .6 Medium Lee grad to hold in the sky. I made this picture numerous times with the same settings, but I liked the shape of the white water in this iteration best. When I’m shooting seascapes the shape of the water looks different every time. Even with really long exposures like this. Thus, I like to shoot numerous versions and then I simply pick the version that I find most pleasing.
Processing wise the backlighting made the contrast around the stack a bit flat. Hence I used a hard mask to select the stack and applied additional contrast to this area. I also did some dodging to lighten the white water and accentuate the shape of the swell. My luminosity TK7 panel works a treat here as it allows me to just select the highlights and apply some dodging.
Nikon d850, 24mm tilt-shift lens, Lee .6 medium and my little stopper.
Achill Island, Co Mayo, Ireland
Achill Island Co Mayo has some stunning wee hidden coves with some fantastic stacks and cliff views. Big thanks to Michael McLaughin for showing me this spot. Keeping it in the pocket for upcoming workshops out west.
Not my usual bag with the big wide-angle and the colour but just too hard to resist. A long exposure with my little stopper to smooth out the water and a .6 medium grad to deal with the sky. The highlight on the extreme right was just a touch too bright for the filter so I have blended this in via a secondary exposure.
Nikon d850, 14 – 24, Lee 6 Stop IRND and .6 medium Grad
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