The Peak District National Park

Over the past few weeks I’ve been visiting the Peak District National Park on a fairly regular basis. Some of the images you may have seen on my Instagram feed in the sidebar of the blog.

I visited Chatsworth House in Derbyshire on Sunday last to see the sculpture show there. On the way back the evening light was settling in and I stopped in a number of places to grab an image or two. I’ll filter some of them into posts as the autumn gathers pace but I really wanted to share with you just three images that I’m pleased with.

Shuttlingsloe, Wildboarclough, Peak District National Park – a colour version of this image has been entered for one of the weekly competitions on Twitter. I wondered just how good it would be as a black & white image… here it is and I’m even more pleased with this version than the colour one! Best viewed in full screen mode; just double-click on the image to enlarge it.
Reflections, The Roaches, Peak District National Park – I took a wrong turn on my last visit to The Roaches and ended up with this perfect reflection in the overspill section of Tittesworth Reservoir.

The header image is of a sunset over the Cheshire Plain and photographed from The Roaches.

Incidentally, if you are local to the Peak District, there is a rather super book available entitled “Peak District – Through the Lens” by James Grant. It contains  details of locations you might like to photograph within the Peak District. Its 400 pages are stuffed with maps, directions, images, kit advice, post-processing, planning and tips to enjoy the many locations you will find in the Peak District. I bought my copy at Chatsworth House but any bookshop would be happy to order a copy for you. The ISBN is as follows: 978-0-9933156-0-2.

Landscapes – Formby, Peak District and New Brighton

It hasn’t all been architecture! I’ve been out and about over the past couple of weeks mainly testing new kit. I’ve bought a new tripod – a Manfrotto 290 with a three-way head – and the final piece of camera hardware, a Fujinon XF90mm ƒ1.2 lens.

I’ve tried to get to as many locations as possible over the past weeks re-visiting the Peak District National Park as well as Formby and New Brighton on the Merseyside coast. These images have been subject to new processing techniques, still using Lightroom. I read an article about using the Tone Curve in addition to the highlights/whites and shadows/blacks and this has added a new dimension to my landscape and seascape images. In addition, I have been using Niksoft’s Color Efex 4 to further enhance the images.

I hope you like these images of which I’m very pleased with…

Fort Perch Rock, New Brighton

I make no excuses for featuring this image twice mainly because I wanted to share with you, dear friends, how it was processed and perhaps to try some of the techniques for yourselves. Firstly, no filters were used at any point in the capture – that’s no ND graduated ones for the sky and foreground. The starburst was made using a very small aperture (ƒ18).

The sky needed a filter to reduce the brightness of the sky; indeed, two filters were needed before I got everything corrected. The foreground needed to be lightened and a third filter was used to “lift” the shadows. All the grad filters were made using the grad tool in the “Basic” section of Lightroom. It was necessary to set the black and white points using the highlight/white and the shadow/black sliders before using the Tone Curve using the medium contrast preset.

Most of the work was now done and it just remained for the colour saturation and vibrance settings to be adjusted as well as adding a -13 vignette to darken the edges slightly. From start to finished item took no more than 10 minutes.

I hope you found this mini-tutorial useful. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

All images © Tony Harratt/The Fuji Freak – 2016

Muddy Puddles – A Postscript

I promised some more images from my jolly jaunt in the Peak District National Park and here they are…

All images © Tony Harratt/The Fuji Freak – 2016

NOTES: All images shot with Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Fujinon 16-55mm ƒ2.8 zoom.

The view of the Dane Valley has been processed using Lightroom 6.5 and Colour Effects 4, currently being offered free of charge by Google. All other images, except the storm, which was edited in Silver Efex Pro2, were processed in Lightroom 6.5.

Muddy Puddles

Muddy puddles? Well, there certainly were yesterday when I spent the day in the Peak District National Park. The rain we had had over the Easter holiday had further soaked the ground and some of the footpaths were almost impossible to negotiate.

I had two false starts: Gradbach – grey and overcast – and Flash, both very small villages, also murky. I was about to give up when the sun broke through as I approached The Roaches, rocky outcrops on the southern border of the park. Boots were donned and warm clothes and I set off. The weather wasn’t the best, in fact, I encountered a little sleet and snow, rain, wind and sunshine. Three great hours were spent making images, which I will post over the coming days.

The first batch is a “tour” of The Roaches and comprises a dozen images. The second batch will be images from other places I stopped at and a third batch will be some monochrome edits of images from the day.

Here we go…

All images © Tony Harratt/The Fuji Freak – 2016

Notes: All images taken with my Fujifilm X-Pro2 at ISO 200 using a variety of film simulations. Processed with Lightroom v.6.5, Alien Skin’s Exposure X and Niksoft’s Silver Efex Pro.

The Roaches can be found to the north of Leek in North Staffordshire. Take the A53 from Leek towards Buxton (it’s a Roman road) and turn left onto a side road signposted Upper Hulme. Take the first left and this road runs directly past Hen Cloud and The Roaches.

Parking is limited but free and in summer there is usually a park and ride system in operation.

This collection is also my Something for the Weekend series offering this week.

Oh, yes, muddy puddles. My partner’s granddaughter (aged 2) absolutely loves muddy puddles; indeed, EVERY puddle is a “muddy puddle” to her. She’d have loved The Roaches!