19 May '19
Post Title

Red Rock Beach, Dublin

I discovered this place by accident, last summer when me, my girlfriend and a couple of friends decided to do the longest path of the Howth Cliff Walk, departing from Howth's train station, to Sutton, walking all around the peninsula, a good 18 km walk. I did shorter paths in the past, and while it's a fantastic hike to do, it's not that spectacular to photograph in my opinion. But this time was different, the longest path pass in some of the best spots in Howth, and one of them is Red Rock Beach. A tiny beach surrounded by rocks, and with one big rock in the middle. And even walking just after that you can see more beautiful views on the cliffs.
But at that time, the time of the day was wrong, in the summer afternoon, where the sun is far too high and shadows far too hard to make any decent shot, so I promise to myself to come back again there.
And so I did, the first time last December, on a very cold morning, where I had to walk half a hour in the complete dark on the cliffs (and that's why a good torch is the photographer's best friend) to get there just in time. The second time just a few weeks ago at sunset.
Down here you can see some of the best shots I took, and if you are in Dublin, and you fancy a long hike, I highly recommend this one, is not even a hard one apart from the distance.

 

Howth

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08 May '19
Post Title

Do you really need ND filters for long exposure shots?

This is a question I've been asking to myself from a while, and especially after I saw this video from Thomas Heaton a few weeks ago, where he says that you can get away without ND and graduated filters, but you can't replace a polarizer, as the latter cannot be replicated in Photoshop unlike the other two. And I agree with him for the polarizer, and for the Graduated filters, which is probably one of the few times where I totally regretted buying them. I was excited about those at first, but after a while I realized that they were mostly useless, as you can achieve better results just using bracketing in your camera and using the graduated filter in Lightroom.
But can we say the same for Neutral Density filters? Can just take some photos and then merging them together in Photoshop achieve the same results as a proper filter?

Since I've been started to do long exposures a long time ago, I always used ND filters, first I started with very cheap Cokin filters, which were terrible, very easy to scratch as they were made with some cheap resin, they made any photo on the magenta side, and just forget about sharpness, that one goes straight to the bin. 

Then I tried a variable ND Filter, the Light Craft Workshop Fader ND Mk II, which it did sound fantastic on paper, but again it was just a waste of money, you can read more about it here and here).

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29 Apr '19
Post Title

A trip to Shankill beach, Ireland

Years ago I went to this beach while scouting for new locations to photograph in the Dublin Bay area, and one of these places was Shankill Beach. A very easy spot to reach from the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit), just 15 minutes walk from the train station. 
From google maps I couldn't see anything peculiar to photograph, but sometimes it's really hard to judge from a photo taken from a satellite, so I thought I'll pay a visit there, to see how it looked in real life, and... It was rather disappointing. 
But it was years ago, with much less experience than now, where I was much less prepared (always bring trekking shoes to a rocky beach and always check the tides), and I came back home with practically no decent shots.
But apart from scouting, another important thing to do in this type of photography is to visit the same locations you already have been. One because with different condition, time of the day, season, tide level (which are pretty extreme here in Ireland), the same place might look different, maybe something changed in the meanwhile (or maybe not), but until you go there you don't know. And two is also for the forementioned reason, that you have more experience, and probably now I know better what to search to create a good composition.

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17 Feb '19
Post Title

The new Camera Raw “Enhance Details” needs some serious tuning

Hyped by the news that finally Adobe fixed the years old issue with Fujifilm X-Trans sensor demosaicing that was generating artefacts with complex textures, like grass, rocks etc…, an issue that I’ve seen since my first Fuji X-E1 bought 5 years ago, I’ve updated my copy of LightRoom as soon I got home, and gave it a try with a few shots I took a couple of months ago. 
And it was… disappointing.
Not because the process didn’t fix the issue, actually it did, or at least in the areas that wasn’t affected by the new artefacts generated by the engine.

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12 Nov '18
Post Title

Back into photography (for now), and ode to the Canon EF 135mm f/2

So recently I decided to give another try to my passion in photography, and decided to refresh some of my gear in get rid of some other I didn't use it anymore. So I got myself a brand new Fujifilm X-T3, just before my trip to Spain, and it's clear that what once was considered just "a camera to carry around" more or less like a compact camera, after the X-E1 and the X-T1, it's now my main system that I use for (almost) everything, to a point where my Canon 6D has been sitting on a shelf for so long that 4 of the 5 batteries I had for it died. And while the X-T1 served me well in the past 3 years, it was time to retire it and get something new. 
After I returned to Spain I also get a brand new Fujinon 23mm f/2 R WR, which is a tiny fantastic lens that it's sharp enough even at full aperture, and I also got a Fujinon 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 L RM OIS, as a travel tele lens to cover those few times I need a long lens, as it was clear to me that while the vintage lens I use, a Canon FD 50mm f/1.4, is decent enough, it's just not long enough some times.
So, lots of money gone, even taking advantage of the Fujifilm cashback, and I needed some way to cover at least a part of these expenses, and I did what I wanted to do for a long time (but I didn't simply because for some reasons, I get attached to things, and I'm also the king of procrastination in some cases): I sold the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 L USM and the Canon EF 135mm f/2 L USM, as they were lenses I didn't use that much anymore, as the Fujinon 10-24mm f/4 simply replaced the Canon one for landscapes. The Fuji ultrawide lens is just way sharper, corner to corner, much lighter, and it's also stabilized, which is not that vital as most of the times I use a tripod, but it's handy to have it in some cases. So I didn't really miss that lens. 
Don't get me wrong, I took some great photos with it, but because of the points above, I don't miss it.
For the Canon EF 135mm it's another story...

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