My husband Alan Franks and I have begun a new project, The Place of the Poem, and for the first illustrated essay, just published, we went to Dover. Here is a gallery of some of the shots. This was an opportunity to work on landscape and some long-exposure, as well as post-production skills in Photoshop.
It was lovely after all this time in lockdown to venture out to my first London Photographic workshop for well over a year. Alex and Jane were leading, and the subject was natural light. As Jane said, there is no such thing as bad light. Every form of light has its uses. I had not previously understood quite how the diffuse, soft lighting created by a cloudy sky could enhance certain types of photographs.
I did two night shoots in London over January, in central and at the Winter Lights display in Canary Wharf. Practised using different lenses and zoom blast with tripod. One of the interesting aspects was editing using photoshop and the magnetic lassoo tool to brighten some areas of a picture while darkening others.
I posted this last photo, of the Windmill strip club in Soho, on Unsplash, and it was featured as one of their images of the day.
Spent a morning on the north bank of the Thames, practising ND filters and long exposure from last term. Also went beyond camera raw and used Photoshop properly for the first time to lighten the foreground only by masking, and also to enhance the natural drama of the sky.
Having been given a Nikon D500 at Christmas by dh, I spent some time mainly familiarising myself with the new controls in Kew Gardens and on Richmond Riverside, when a gentle sunset at an exceptionally high tide obliged nicely. The controls turned out to be surprisingly intuitive. Focusing is so much easier and the colours and sharpness of the final results are a huge improvement on the D5200.
Went to Hyde Park to experiment with using histograms to guide settings, both when taking the photograph and when editing in Camera Raw. Practised more with different depth of field, manual and automatic focus. Processing was useful in correcting white balance and to enhance the colour of the swans without losing the detail in the feathers. Histograms were useful in judging exposure, learning to avoid over-exposure.