Tag Archives: Landscape Photography

14 favourite images from 2014

I can’t belive its been a year since I did my favourite 13 images of 2013. Here are my 14 favourites from 2014.

2014-2041---2Turf Fen drainage mill on the River Ant during a passing thunderstorm on the Norfolk Broads

Cromer PierCromer Pier at sunset on a summer’s evening on the Norfolk Coast

2014-0101Derwent Water on a June morning in the Lake District

2013-8664Tulip field & rainbow in the Norfolk Countryside

2014-2387Blea Tarn and rainbow at first light in the Lake District

2013-7971Herringfleet Drainage Mill on a frosty winters morning in the Suffolk countryside

2013-7840-2St Benet’s Abbey on the Norfolk Broads

2014-2553Rydal Water at first light in the Lake District on a November morning

2014-9514Happisburgh Lighthouse on the Norfolk Coast

2014-6408Turf Fen mill at sunset on the River Ant, Norfolk Broads

2014-1247A storm passes over a field of straw bales in the Norfolk countryside

2014-2633Autumn reflections in the Lake District

2014-6537-2A storm passes over Brograve Drainage Mill on the Waxham New Cut, Norfolk Broads

2014-6626One from just a few day ago from the Great Ridge above Castleton in the Peak District

Website
Facebook page 

New Summer Images

Below is a selection of new images taken over the summer months.

Brancaster Staithe
Brancaster Staithe at sunset on the North Norfolk Coast

Derwent Water Lake District
A fantastic sunrise over Derwent Water in the Lake District


Brancaster Staithe at last light on the North Norfolk Coast


Summer greens in the Lake District


Derwent Water at dawn


A vibrant sunset over Cromer Pier on the North Norfolk Coast


Summer Colour at Crummock Water in the Lakes


Castlerigg Stone Circle at dawn


Happisburgh Lighthouse during a long exposure


View over the Solway, Cumbria


Buttermere on a stormy summers morning


Summer colour at Castle Acre near Swaffham, Norfolk


Cromer Pier at sunset on the Norfolk Coast


Illuminated by light in the Lake District


Summer dawn at Derwent Water in the Lake District


Crummock Water, Lake District


Norfolk Barley Field


Buttermere


Summer stream, Cumbria


Castlerigg Stone Circle at first light


Cromer Pier at sunset on the Norfolk Coast


Crummock Water on a summers morning


Stormy skies at Castlerigg Stone Circle


Poppy field in the Norfolk countryside


Two horse riders in a field of wheat at Happisburgh on the Norfolk Coast


Derwent Water at dawn


Castlerigg on a summers morning


Cromer Pier


Lake Buttermere, Cumbria

Thunderstorm near Clippesby
Thunderstorm and straw bale field near Clippesby in Norfolk


The view from Over Owler Tor under a pasing storm in the Peak District


Summer light on the quay at Blakeney


Martello Tower Aldeburgh at last light


A vibrant sunset over the Hope Valley in the Peak District


Dead tree near Snape Maltings


Double rainbow over a freshly harvested field in the Norfolk Countryside


The town of Holt on a summers evening in Norfolk


Boats at Moston on the North Norfolk Coast


Summer heather on the dunes at Winterton-On-Sea, Norfolk Coast


Summer storm in the Norfolk Countryside


Last light on Carhead Rocks in the Peak District


Westleton Heath, Suffolk


Winterton, Norfolk Coast


Looking towards Higger Tor from Over owler Tor in the Peak District


Fishermans huts at Winterton, Norfolk Coast


Fairbrook in the Peak District


Storm captured from Over Owler Tor in the Peak District, Derbyshire


Last light on the dunes at Winterton, Norfolk Coast


Summer Storm


Sunset from Carhead Rocks in the Peak District


Some of the strangest colours I have ever seen as the rain started poring down just before sunset.


Warm evening light on Blakeney Quay, Norfolk Coast


First Light, Curbar Edge


The wonderful view from the top of Curbar Edge in the Peak District


Fairbrook on a summers morning, Peak District


The historic Hunters Fleet on the Norfolk Broads


Lindisfarne Castle


First light on the Heather at Curbar Edge


Mist above the village of Calver, Derbyshire


Cromer Pier at dusk on the Norfolk Coast


Morning light Baslow Edge, Derbyshire


Turf Fen mill at sunset, Norfolk Broads


First Light, Curbar Edge Peak District


A misty sunrise of the dunes at Lindisfarne, Northumberland Coast

Tulip Fields in the Norfolk Countryside Two Years On

Two years ago I posted a blog with some images captured at a Tulip field in Norfolk, UK. The original blog can be found here.

Well two years later I have shot another Tulip Field in the Norfolk Countryside and below are a few images from that shoot. This years shoot was at a different field to last time and I arrived a little late as quite a few of the colours had already been de-headed. The tulips are grown for their bulbs here so once the flowers are developed they soon get their heads cut off so more energy goes into the bulb rather than the flowers.  This year we had a really mild spring so the tulips were much earlier than normal too. This shoot required a 3.15 am alarm call to get to the location in time for sunrise. After around 90 mins shooting the tulips I was then leaving when all of a sudden a rainbow appeared so it was a case of quickly running back and grabbing a few shots.

Norfolk Tulip Field

 

2013-8675

 

2013-8506

 

2013-8474-4

 

2013-8599

 

2013-84352

 

2013-8576

 

2013-8659

 

2013-8678-2

 

2013-8491-2

 

2013-8376

 

2013-8669

 

2013-8668-2

 

 

2013-8411-2

 

2013-8601

 

2013-8666

 

2013-8680

 

2013-8504

 

2013-8459

 

2013-8673

 

2013-8566

 

2013-8664

 

New Images

Here are a selection of new images captured in January and February.

2013-7746St Benets Level Drainage Mill on the Norfolk Broads

Southwold, SuffolkTwo surviving beach huts on the dunes at Southwold in Suffolk. In the foreground the remains of a hut that was damaged in the winter storms can be seen.

2013-7346The Scallop sculpture at Aldeburgh on the Suffolk Coast

2013-7521A windy morning on the beach at Southwold

2013-6860Bamford Edge in the Peak District

2013-7552Southwold, Suffolk Coast

2013-6787Rushup Edge in the Peak District at sunrise

2013-6832The Hope Valley, Derbyshire

2013-7663-2A morning stroll on Southwold Beach

_MG_8023Brograve Drainage Mill on the Norfolk Broads

2013-7564Windy morning at Southwold

2013-7723St Benet’s windpump on the Norfolk Broads

2013-7556Southwold Beach

2013-7471Lowestoft North Beach, Suffolk

2013-7545Sunrise on the Suffolk Coast

2013-7733St Benet’s Level Mill

2013-7707Sizewell, Suffolk

2013-6963Burgh Castle, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

2013-6809Misty Dawn

2013-6796Rushup Edge, Peak District

Shooting Star Trails & painting With Light

Shooting Star Trails

Photographing Star trails is actually a relatively simple technique that can conjure up some wonderful eye catching images. As the earth rotates, the North Star will appear to remain fixed whilst the other stars appear to rotate around it. During long exposures we are able to record the motion of these stars in our images.

Planning plays a pivotal role in achieving successful star trail images. Before heading out I pay close attention to the weather forecast to ensure it’s going to be a clear night, I find websites such as Metcheck and Wunderground are particularly useful as they will give a cloud coverage breakdown for set times every three hours. Subject matter is a personal preference but I like to include subjects with a strong outline against the sky in my images such as a church, barn, lighthouse or windmill, by using a compass I can also work out which direction the North Star will appear and if possible include this in my images. Once I have found my location I try to set up my gear whilst it’s still light and make sure everything is in order. By arriving whilst it is still light it is much easier to focus and compose the image. I begin by setting up my tripod and composing and focusing the picture, a good solid tripod is essential here and its important to make sure that it’s on solid ground with no chance of moving during the long exposure. At this point I also like to check there is plenty of memory and fully charged batteries in the camera.

Its then a matter of waiting for it to get dark enough before I begin shooting, if I want to recompose an image or re focus in the dark then a large powerful torch is really useful. Its very difficult to see much through the viewfinder so once I think I have everything set up correctly I like to take a short test shot. To do this I select a high ISO setting on my camera, I then take a test shot of around one minute using the bulb facility and a cable release and examine the image on the LCD to check for distracting elements and to check the focus. At this point I also like to check the exposure is correct, the test shot is also a great way to gauge how long the main exposure will need.

A little bit of Maths is required here, but just remember that every time we increase or de-crease the exposure by one stop we are doubling or halving the amount of light coming into the camera. So if a an exposure of one minute is correct at ISO 1600 and we increase that exposure by one stop to ISO 800 then we are doubling the exposure time so the new exposure time would be two minutes, just keep doing this until you get to your chosen ISO and aperture settings to give you your final exposure time.

 Stacking Method Or One Long Exposure

To capture star trail images for the main image we have two options, the first is to shoot one long exposure and leave the shutter open during that time, the second process we can use is to shoot lots of shorter exposures and then combine these later using computer software. Both techniques have their advantages and disadvantages. If shooting lots of shorter exposures then exposure times of around 30 seconds work well here. Long exposures increase the amount of noise in the image so the shorter exposures of around 30 seconds stacked together will have less noise. The disadvantages of this technique are that you use more space on memory cards and hard drives, your post production work is increased and the major disadvantage is you have tiny gaps in the star trails. One of the real advantages of the stacking method though is the ability to remove images you don’t want stacked in the sequence such as a frame where a plane with lights has flown through the image or you can even remove a number of frames afterwards to dramatically reduce the exposure of the image. There are a number of software options available to combine the stacked images but one that I have found particularly good is a free piece of software available at www.Startrails.de.


Begin by composing your picture and making sure your tripod is on solid ground. I like to hand my bag from my tripod for extra stability. Composing can be a problematic in the dark so its best to take a test shot.
Set you camera to bulb mode, use a large aperture such as F4 and a High ISO speed then take a short test shot. Review the test shot and make sure you are happy with the composition.

So to begin shooting using the stacking method we need to set our camera to continuous drive mode, this means when we lock open our shutter when setting a sequence of 30 second exposures.Set your shutter speed to 30 seconds and select your chosen ISO and aperture settings, ISO 400 and F8 often work well.

We need to illuminate our subject with some light, I find a large torch gives off a nice warm light and offers you lots of control over what parts of the scene you illuminate. You can also use flash. I save this part of the process to the last five or six frames, this means if we over expose the areas we paint with the torch we can simply take a few of the last frames away.

For the final image of the day attach the lens cap to the camera and take a dark frame as the same settings, the stacking software can then use this to help reduce noise in the final image at the post production stage. All of the images will look very dark initially right out of the camera however this is perfectly normal.


To start the post production stage open up the star trails software, click file, Open images and then select all the frames minus the dark frame. Now select file, open and load in the dark frame. Now we have all our image ready simply click build and then star trails, we now need to wait a while and let the software do its stuff, when the image is completed simply click file and then save as and the image is complete.

 Star Trail Tips

Star trail images are always eye catching, but just like photographing images in the day we need to find a good subject and a good composition. Whilst pictures of a night sky alone will result in good star trails if there is no subject matter to the image then they will rarely work well. For stunning images try locating the North Star in your composition, as the earth rotates the other stars will appear to spin around it.

Clear skies are essential for photographing star trails so avoid nights when there is a chance or thick cloud blowing in during the long exposure.

Exposures for star trails can range from several minutes to several hours, the overall exposure length will depend on the amount of motion you wish to capture. One of the major problems with digital cameras during long exposures is there are power hungry, with this in mind I normally limit my exposures to less than 90 mins unless I am using a battery grip with the facility to hold more than one battery at a time.

To help aid with focusing in the dark shine a powerful torch on your chosen subject, once your camera gets a focus lock switch your lens to manual focus so that it doesn’t hunt when you press the shutter button.

Take a compass with you and work out the position of the North Star. As the Earth rotates the North Star will appear to stay fixed and the rest of the stars will appear to rotate around it.

It can get very cold at night particularly when standing around waiting for long exposures so warm clothing is essential.

Safety In Numbers

Night photography can be quite daunting, I like to photograph subjects in remote areas where you don’t attract as much attention. Strange noises & wildlife moving in the bushes can be quite spooky especially if you are on your own, but you soon get used to it. This does put a lot of photographers off from shooting night photography especially lone females. With this in mind I began offering one day workshops photographing at night in Norfolk, UK. I usually hold two or three one day Painting With Light & Star Trail photography workshops throughout the year, these are priced at just £50 and are offered on a first come first served basis. For more details on one day workshops offered in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex & Derbyshire please visit the workshop section on my website at http://www.theuklandscape.com/Workshops.htm

All Quiet

Apologies for being so quiet on here of late it’s been a hectic Spring & Summer this year. I hope to begin with lots of new posts in the coming months but for now here are some new images from the last few months.


I had an incredible hour of light back in April at Horsey Mill on the Norfolk Broads


Due to the long winter the Daffodils were very late this year. Here are a few captured in a Norfolk Field


Stormy last light illuminating Horsey Windpump


South Creake ford in North Norfolk


The old disused Dilham Canal lock at Ebridge Mill


Stormy last light at Heigham Holmes Drainage Mill near the village of Martham


Horsey Mill with some stormy light about an hour before sunset


Something a bit different for me, I was commissioned to write an article on photographing derelict buildings for a UK photography magazine and here is one of the images I shot of an old derelict mill in the Norfolk Countryside.


Dream light as the last rays of the stormy light illuminate Horsey mill and the sky above.


Derelict Detail shot


Norfolk Moods


This is probably one of the least photograph mills of all the Norfolk Broads mills that have some sails. This is Heigham Holmes and sit’s on an island that is only open to the public one day a year.


Norfolk Mill at night


Reed bed glow


I loved the grey mixed with the red brickwork in this shot at an old flour mill


The very last light on Horsey Mill and my very last shot of the day on this particular evening

Horsey Mill, Norfolk Broads
A misty morning start at Horsey Mill on the Norfolk Broads


Oil Seed Rape field in the Norfolk Countryside


The picturesque West Somerton Staithe on the Norfolk Broads

Horsey Windmill
Horsey Windpump at first light

Winterton Windfarm
Probably one of the laziest images I have ever shot  as this one was done practically over the garden fence with a telephoto lens.


West Somerton, Norfolk


Horsey Mill


Cart Gap, Norfolk Coast with the Lee Big Stopper, ten stop filter

Happisburgh lighthouse
Happisburgh Lighthouse shortly before a storm passes overhead


Cromer Pier following a colourful sunset on the Norfolk Coast


Rainbow captures in the dunes at Wells-Next-The-Sea beach on the Norfolk Coast


Happisburgh Lighthouse & Oil Seed Rape


Last light at Winterton dunes on the Norfolk Coast


Summer field near Repps With Bastwick, Norfolk


Weybourne Shingle Beach & Fishing Boats


For Sale. Beach huts at Wells


Morston Quay


Cromer Town reflecting in the wet sand at dusk


Oil Seed Rape on a windy day at Happisburgh


Stormy light looking towards the beach huts at Wells


Happisburgh Lighthouse


Wells Dunes


Weybourne, Norfolk Coast


Cromer Sunset


Happisburgh


Sunset at Winterton, Norfolk


You are probably getting board of Happisburgh by now but here is another, all taken on a number of different visits to get the Oil Rape Seed at different stages.


Norfolk Field near Repps With Bastwick


Winterton Dunes at last light


Wells Next The Sea


Winterton Light


Cromer Pier


Winterton Sunset


Stormy golden light over a freshly harvested barley field in Norfolk


Summer poppies near Burnham Market


Long exposure over the old pillbox on Horsey Dunes


Poppy field at Castle Acre in Norfolk


Sunset and golden light near Repps With Bastwick, Norfolk


Castle Acre Poppies


Poppy field just outside Burnham Market, North Norfolk


Horsey Dunes


Castle Acre


A rare opportunity to see St Benet’s Mill illuminated at night as part of a summer wedding on the Norfolk Broads

Website
Facebook page 

Norfolk’s Underrated Stretch of Coastline (Winterton to Happisburgh)

My favourite stretch of the Norfolk coastline happens to be one that is often ignored by visitors and photographers alike. This 12 mile stretch of coastline and countryside is rich and diverse offering fantastic potential for photographers. Whilst most landscape  photographers head for the North Norfolk Coast to shoot popular locations such as Holkham, Wells or the picturesque Staithes at Brancaster & Blakeney. I love heading to this underrated and much quieter stretch of coastline. Here the Broads and the coast run side by side offer a great deal of variety all just a short distance away.

Winterton

2012-0821sssaWinterton has a wonderful beach and some wonderful Sand Dunes. It’s great to photograph at first light.

East Sommerton

_MG_2290wwwJust a short distance between Winterton and West Somerton is the tiny cluster of houses at East Somerton. Here there is a derelict church with a giant oak tree growing straight through the middle.

West Somerton

_MG_2305West Somerton has a wonderful example of a traditional flint built Norfolk round towered church.

_MG_0434West Somerton on the Norfolk Broads has a delightful chocolate box staithe with picturesque cottages and small boats.

Horsey Mill

_MG_1549Horsey Mill is great to shoot at last light, particularly in the summer when the boats add that extra bit on interest.

Horsey Gap

untitled-4259Horsey Beach is best known for the hundreds of Seals that have their pups on the beach every year. From November to the end of January its extremley busy with visitors that come to get a glimpse of the pups. At other times of the year it’s a fantastic peaceful beach with great sand dunes and beach patterns for the landscape photographer.

2011-7278A summer storm out to sea, viewed here from Horsey Beach

Brograve

2011-5232Brograve is one of the lesser known mills of the Norfolk Broads. Very few boats come down the narrow stretch of water named Waxham New Cut. Beacuse the mill requires a walk of about 45 mins from Horsey Mill or a 20 min walk over the muddy fields a lot of people don’t bother visiting. It’s a wonderful peaceful location and is excellent to see lots of wildlife.

2010-4886Winter is a great time to capture a sunset behind the mill

Waxham

2010-4933Waxham beach is located a short walk between Horsey and Sea Palling. It’s a great place to capture the rising sun.

Sea Palling

2010-4912Sea palling is best known for it’s sea defences that consist of high rocks placed out to sea. These can be see in the distance of this image. The location does have some nice sand dunes and is just a short stroll from the car. Here the beach was captured at dawn on a frosty morning with the sand and dunes coated in a white layer of frost.

Happisburgh

_MG_8744-Happisburgh (pronounced as Haze Boro) is a much-loved location with a fantastic picture perfect light house and a beach that is always battered by the sea.

_MG_5506-01-The sea defences at this location make for some fascinating pictures and add an extra element to the scene.

2011-7584

For more regular updates please check out my Facebook Photography Page

Top 12 From 2012

Looking back at 2012 it was certainly a hard year to get out and do as much landscape photography as I would like, especially with our first (and last) child who was born at the end of 2011 . Lot’s of people wrongly assume being a professional landscape photographer photographer you can simply go out and shoot what you want when you want and because of this you can get the best light. The reality is finding time can often be a real challenge. Workshops and commissioned landscape photography left me with probably less than one morning or afternoon a week to get out last year to shoot what I want. So I was certainly more selective with the locations I choose, most being quite close to home.

With commissioned photography shoots I did have the chance to shoot lots of locations I had not shot before. Often with commissioned landscape photography you can be shooting those locations that are less photographic or those locations which are not really shot by many photographers, hence the shortage of material out there and the need for a photographer to be commissioned. Although I must admit I did get the chance to spot one or two really nice locations and I am looking forward to getting back to them for my own photography some time.

The plan for 2013 is certainly to continue being more selective about locations rather than just heading out for the sake of it. I am hoping to get in a few more trips to other locations in the UK this year, if the weather plays ball. And I must remember to shoot more panoramics as they always sell really well, but I am forever leaving the panoramic tripod head at home.

Throughout 2012 I invested in a large format A1 Epson printer which has been a fantastic, albeit expensive to run if you don’t use it lots every day. We also have a family friend who is a picture framer and he trained me up on framing throughout the year and before I know it I had invested in a full framing workshop. This has been great at handling my own orders, especially Christmas which was my busiest yet with framed Print orders. I have also been doing a bit of framing and printing for other photographers I know and will begin offering this service to other photographers over the next month or so. The website is almost built, it just needs a few last finishing touches.

_MG_9992Frosty Edge in the Peak District, UK

_MG_0108Frosty Ramshaw Rocks at First Light, Staffordshire, UK

_MG_0658Tulip Field in the Norfolk Countryside, UK

_MG_0740Standing out in a crowd

untitled-4204Barley At Last Light, Norfolk

_MG_4508-2CroppedSummer Storm at Happisburgh on the Norfolk Coast

_MG_0671More Tulips

2012-9883Autumn On The Norfolk Broads

2012-0007Stanage Edge in the Autumn

2012-0345A frosty dawn at Thetford Forest

2012-0821sssaWinterton on the Norfolk Coast

2012-0927One of the last shots I took in 2012 is Berney Arms on a frosty morning on the Norfolk Broads.

Review of Hitech ND Grad Filters for Landscape Photography

Hitech ND Grad Review

2012-0834dd

Untitled-1sa

The reason landscape photographers use ND Grad filters is that cameras simply cannot record the same level of detail that the human can. When the sun is low in the sky or not yet risen then there is a much wider tonal range for the camera to capture.  The filter is toned with a darker area at the top of the filter and a clear area on the bottom half. The darker area is a neutral colour and tones down the exposure over the sky proportion of the scene. This bridges the contrast range between the darker foreground and brighter sky and makes for a more evenly exposed image with good detail and colour in the sky and a lot more detail in the foreground. The above example shows a scene captured without a grad and then a second image captured with a grad filter.

Like many landscape photographers I started with the Cokin filter system. However, I found I was always experiencing the classic problem of the infamous Cokin colour cast. After struggling along with the Cokin system for some time I had heard a few good things about the Hitech system as a good alternative. I quickly invested in an 85mm set of Hitech ND Grads. Immediately I saw a massive difference. I continued using the filters for about a year, then as I upgraded to the wider Canon 17-40mm lens, a move from the 85mm size filters was required. I opted for the Lee filter system, and like most Lee users I have been a happy user ever since.

The move to Lee filters was about 8 years ago now; however I often recommend Hitech filters to my photography workshop participants as they represent a good trade-off between quality and price. The obvious problem with the Lee filters is their higher price. If you are serious about landscape photography and can warrant the cost then the Lee filters are well worth considering. However, for those occasional shooters, or the newcomers to photography who don’t want to fork out around £250 on a filter system, then the Hitech system is well worth looking at.

2012-0846ss

A few months back Hitech filters generously provided me with a large number of new filter kits and holders for my workshop participants to try out on the courses. I thought it would be really good to try out a few of the filters myself to see how good they really were.

Although Hitech did send me a few of their ten stop filters I haven’t had a good chance to try these out yet so I will report back on this filter at a later date. The filters I am going to look at here are their ND Grads.

First let’s look at the Hitech hardware. Hitech have released a new modular filter holder, like the Lee holder you can add or take away slots and add or remove a 105mm front filter ring for polarising filters. On my own Lee holder I use a 105mm circular polarising filter on the front, this makes rotating the filter much easier.  Due to the design of the Hitech holder it’s actually quite easy to just rotate the whole filter holder with a polariser attached to the lens behind, the brass screw on the side of the holder can then be loosened to quickly straighten up the holder. This is hard to explain here, but in practise is actually really quick and easy to do. This makes using a polarising filter behind the Hitech holder really easy to work with.

2012-0830ddd

Adapter rings to attach the holder to the lens come in normal and wide angle versions; the wide angle ones are set back slightly and can help avoid any vignetting.

Hitech offer soft edge, hard edge and reverse densities for their graduated filters. The density relates to how quickly the grad changes from clear to dark. If you are just going for one set and you shoot lots of sunsets, costal scenes or general landscape stuff I would probably opt for the hard grads.  When investing in filters I would always avoid the cheaper Chinese sets of filters you can get on ebay, they have a grad area that’s way too soft and these are useless not only for the optical quality of the filter, but because the grad area is difficult to place and the lower part of the sky will not have enough light blocked out.

2012-0007sssThis stormy afternoon light in the Peak District was captured with a Hitech 0.6 Hard ND Grad

Soft grads can be more difficult and less effective when used on crop cameras, lenses with a smaller diameter and telephoto lenses. Where soft grads can be an advantage is if you shoot in areas where you have an uneven skyline, such as some mountain scenes, cityscapes and woodlands. With my own Lee filters I own both sets of Hard & Soft Grads, however the vast majority of the time it’s the hard grads that get used.

Hard grads are easier to place on the horizon level. One problem when shooting sunsets is the horizion level is normally the brightest area of the scene, but with the soft filter this can actually be the weakest part of the ND area and the sky can easily burn out in this part of the scene. This is less of a problem with ND hard grads as the horizon area of the filter is much darker and because of this it is more effective.

Where the reverse grad comes in to its own is when shooting sunsets or sunrises. A normal grad filter starts by being weakest on the horizon level and strongest at the top of the filter. With a lot of sunset or sunrise scenes the brightest area is obviously around the horizon level. The area of the sky where the filter doesn’t need to be quite so strong is actually the top. The Hitech reverse grad works by being darkest at the horizon level and slightly weaker as it rises to the top of the sky. This is a filter I have wanted for years and am really pleased Hitech have begun producing this one. It’s not going to be required all of the time; however it’s great to keep one or a set in the kit bag for those occasions when it is really useful. I have been trying this filter out for a few weeks now and am already beginning to wonder how I have managed without it for so long.

2012-0836sssLeft Soft Grad, Middle Hard Grad & Right Reverse Grad

Conclusion

I have been really impressed with the quality of the filters and the colours achieved. I have received no unwanted colour casts, in fact the colours achieved have been very realistic and true. The optical quality of the filter seems excellent with no loss of quality and lens flare has not been a problem at all. I must confess I haven’t shot in a situation where I have needed to stack any filters and this is where any colour casts could suddenly appear. If you do shoot raw then slight colour casts in the sky are probably less of problem now as they once were. Software like Adobe Lghtroom has a grad tool where you can apply adjustments to just the foreground or the sky, including adjusting the white balance / colour on one particular area which is great for correcting any slight colour casts.

2012-0345ssssaA frosty morning in Thetford Forest captured with a Hitech 0.9 Hard ND Grad

If I had to say one negative thing about the filters it would be that I find they can scratch a bit easier than the Lee filters. Most of this seems to have occurred when I have been taking the filters out and putting them back in the plastic wallets, these wallets do feel quite sharp and are quite a tight fit, especially when you have freezing hands. Personally I would house them in a soft filter wallet and not use the plastic pouches they come in. Both Hitech and Lee make such filter wallets and these are ideal to get at your filters nice and quickly whilst also protecting them much better. The black multi filter wallets also double up as an excellent tool to hold at the side of the lens to stop lens flare.

It would be a nice touch to see the more expensive larger size grad filters come in the soft cloth with the three pockets in, similar to how the Lee filters arrive. These can double up as good lens and filter cleaners as they always seem to be to hand and are ideal for this purpose. When shooting in wet weather keeping rain droplets off filters can be problematic. I like the soft pouches the Lee grads come in as you can just put the filter back in the soft pouch and it’s easy to wipe away rain droplets before taking it back out and being ready to shoot again.

All in all I have to say I have been pleasantly surprised with the Hitech filters, they seem so much better than the first set I was using over eight years ago now. I actually prefer the Hitech holder to the Lee holder. Would I change from the Lee filters though? The simple answer is no. With the Lee filters I have never had any problem in eight years of using them. At the larger size 100mm x 150mm (same as Lee), a set of hard grads, a filter holder and a wide angle adaptor is actually not that much cheaper for the Hitech kit compared to the Lee kit. I believe though that Hitech can offer kits consisting of a number of different filters which can result in quite a good saving. Hitech also offer their very own 105mm circular polariser at a good price, although I have no experience of this filter and do not know of any photographers who have used it so I can’t comment on how good it is. It’s also difficult to find any reviews online.

2012-0821sssaHitech 0.6 Hard ND Grad used at Winterton on the Norfolk Coast.

I would certainly recommend the Hitech Reverse Grads which I believe Lee don’t offer. These have been fantastic in use, they fit my Lee holder with no problems and I have found myself using this filter all of the time.  If I didn’t require the 100mm x 150mm size grads then I would certainly recommend the smaller size Hitech filters as these do represent excellent value for money with a really high quality product. Compared to the Cokin filters it’s a no brainer in my opinion I would go for the Hitech every time.

A slightly updated version of this can be found on my website at http://www.theuklandscape.com/Hitech%20Review.htm

Facebook Photography Page = TheUKlandscape

Website = www.TheUKlandscape.com

New Images From November 2012

Here are a slection of new images taken in November. All shot in Norfolk, England.

2012-0313LWDramatic early morning colour on a frosty November morning at Thetford Forest

2012-0320Frosty light at dawn in Thetford, Norfolk

2012-0327LWAutumn sunrise over Brettenham Heath, Thetford, Norfolk

2012-0345LWMorning sunrise in the Brecks

2012-0371LwFirst light on a frosty morning in the Brecklands, Norfolk

2012-0384LWAutumn colours at Rishbeth Wood, Thetford

2012-0390LWOn the 12thNovember I added a post on my facebook photography page about a dramatic sunset but unfortunately I didnt have a tripod with me. I couldn’t resist stopping for a quick shot anyway and this is the resulting image. The iso had to be pushed up to ISO 1600 and it was raining quite hard when this was taken.

2012-0434LWBacton Wood, Norfolk

2012-0593LWAutumn colours in Norfolk, UK

Chris Herring Photography
www.TheUKlandscape.com
Facebook Photography Page