Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Wymondham Abbey

I visited Wymondham in Norfolk this week.
I've not been to Norfolk since 1989, its still as flat and featureless as I remember.

I paid a vist to Wymondham Abbey, with its famous twin towers. These provide quite a grand looking landmark as you approach Wymondham.

Unfortunately the abbey itself was a little disappointing up close, apart from the towers I wasn't especially impressed with the exterior and the interior, whilst nice and warm on a winters day which is unusual for a church, did not have any features that impressed me, no tombs, or stained glass.

The light was very flat and not very flattering but I managed to get three images somewhere near using Ps, Lr and Nik.

I played around using my Canon 50mm f1.4

Canon 50mm f1.4

Canon 50mm f1.4

Canon 24 - 70mm f2.8

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Leica M8 raw to DNG

On the Leica forum there is much talk about an interesting discovery made by a forum member Arvid, this intrepid chap as written some code that takes the images shot in the JPGFine+RAW setting and converts them into 14bit uncompressed DNG files readable by photo editing software. The JPGFine+RAW  option is hidden and needs a sequence of presses on the direction arrows on the M8 to access it.
Arvid's page explains more and provides a download of the software.

The standard M8 DNG is 8 bit compressed and around 10mb in size, the converted 14bit raw file is around 20mb so twice the size. 
The camera reverts back to JPG mode if it goes to sleep or is switched off.

I went out and took a few test photos taking advantage of the low December sun and the contrasty light that this provides.
I shot at ISO160 and both he DNG and raw were taken with the same exposure settings.

Back at home I converted the files using Arvid's Mac droplet and the M8raw2DNG software.

I viewed the files in Lr5. My MacBookPro has the Hi-Res screen and I also have an Apple 20" Cinema monitor.

After much looking and zooming in  I'm afraid I can't see much difference, at least not where it matters. The raw converted files exhibit a different colour balance, possibly because M8raw2DNG includes the M9 colour profile, in terms of shadow noise I could not see any difference between the raw converted and camera DNG images. Likewise highlights looked the same to me.
One difference is that the raw converted images are 3964 x 2642 compared to the camera DNG 3916 x 2634.
It also took much longer to write the files to my SanDisk Extreme SDHC card, although I was able to buffer a couple of shots.

So my conclusion to this addmittedly unscientific test is that Leica in camera DNG do a really good job at converting the raw files. I will continue to watch with interest developments in this area, I'm sure Arvid will continue to refine this tool, he's obviously a pretty clever fella.

I saw no point in putting the images here as I'd have to reduce them to JPG and any differences would have been lost.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Polaroid print Nik suite

I've been going through the presets in the Nik suite.

This preset struck me as being pretty accurate, I've not done a Polaroid print for years and from memory this looks good.

Polaroid transfer preset Nik suite

A return to abandoned cottage with the Leica M8

I returned last weekend to the ruined cottage just outside Beddgelert on a day of awful weather.

I had with me my Leica M8, the 28mm Elmarit and 15mm Voigtlander. 

It was so dark I had to up the ISO setting on the M8 to 640, pretty much as high as I dare go.

I've played around with the images in Lr, Ps and Nik suite as usual.

Leica M8 Voigtlander 15mm

Leica M8 Elmarit 28mm

Leica M8 Elmarit 28mm

Leica M8 Voigtlander 15mm

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

iPhone panorama Moel Siabod

I recently walked up Moel Siabod in Snowdonia.
I don't take a "proper" camera with me on these walks anymore, the iPhone 4s is more than good enough.
Also 3G is pretty good in most of Snowdonia, especially on the tops, so I can post to the likes of Instagram immediately.

This is a view from the summit of Moel Siabod looking towards Snowdon and the Glyders.

Moel Siabod is a superb walk. the scramble to the summit is about the same as Tryfan, but obviously not as long. there are a couple of more tricky parts towards the summit, but these can be missed out by easier routes if desired.

Image was shot using the standard iPhone camera and processed in Nix HDR to give it a bit of a boost.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Leica M8 images re-visited in Nix Suite and Lr 4

I've been spending sometime playing about with older images in Lightroom 4 and the Google Nix suite.

I like the borders on the York station images and the detail the combination brought out of the wall image was remarkable. Previously I had thought this image unuseable.

Welsh dry stone wall Leica M8 Elmarit 28mm

York Railway Station Leica M8 Elmarit 28mm

York station clock Leica M8 Elmarit 28mm

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Ribblesdale Viaduct - Canon 5D2

On August Bank Holiday Monday my friend Simon and me took our motorcycles for a spin around the Lake District.
The original plan had been to end the trip at sunset at Ribblesdale Viaduct for some photos.
I had my Canon 5D2 with 24-70mm and he had his recently acquired Leica S2 with 30mm and 90mm primes. He also had a Rolleiflex TLR.

The weather was perfect, for motorcycling, warm, clear and bright. Unfortunately though this meant that for photography the light was too harsh and with no cloud the skies were rather flat. In fact photos were so lacking in colour that they looked like monochrome.

With some processing in Ps, Lr and Nix suite I managed to get three images which are OK(ish)

Canon 5D2 + Canon 24-70mm L Series

Canon 5D2 + Canon 50mm f1.4 

Canon 5D2 + Canon 50mm f1.4 

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Abandoned works - Leica M8

Another shot from the abandoned works in Selby taken with my Leica M8 and Elmarit 28mm.
Processed in Lr and Nix Silver EFX Pro

Abandoned works Selby.Leica M8 Elmarit 28mm

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Kilpeck Hereford - Leica M8

Processed a few more Kilpeck images taken with my Leica M8 and Elmarit 28mm.
Processed in Lr and Silver EFX Pro.

Kilpeck castle

In Loving Memory

Kilpeck Church

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Welsh Highland Railway with Leica M8

Not far from our House in Beddgelert is a station for the Welsh Highland Railway.
The trains puff their way through a cutting at the bottom of our garden on their way to Porthmadog.

One Saturday afternoon I popped down to the platform with my M8 to see if I could get any pics.
I used the Elmarit 28mm.

Fireman Welsh Highland Railway Leica M8 Elmarit 28mm

Dog Welsh Highland Railway Leica M8 Elmarit 28mm

Platform sign Welsh Highland Railway Leica M8 Elmarit 28mm

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Capel Tan y Celyn Canon 5D2

On the way back home from Beddgelert I stopped to investigate a small Chapel I'd seen previously hidden by trees by the side of the A470.

Hoping to find a ruin I could explore and hopefully get a few decent photos I was disappointed to find the building locked tight.

There is an open window through which access to the interior can be gained but the single room is being used as a storage facility for old washing machines, lawn mowers and other white goods.

The exterior is so overgrown that even a photo of this is virtually impossible.

A quick Google revealed a planning application to convert into domestic accommodation was withdrawn in 2007.

Saint Julitta's Church Capel Curig Canon 5D2

After a hard days work mowing the lawn and repairing some tiles in the kitchen of our house in Beddgelert, we took a ride out to Capel Curig.
We drive through this little village on our way to the house and I've been meaning to stop at the ancient church there to take some photos for a while.

Saint Julitta's Church is deconsecrated and looked after by "Friends of Saint Julitta".

It is very small and the "friends" don't appear to have a website so I know little more than you can get from looking on Wikipedia.

I was using the Canon 5D2  with the 24-70mm.

Photos processed in Lr and Nik Silver EFX Pro

Canon 5D2 - 24-70mm L series ISO 3200

Canon 5D2 - 24-70mm L series ISO 3200

Canon 5D2 - 24-70mm L series 

Canon 5D2 - 24-70mm L series

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Leica Akademie Mayfair - Leica Monochrom and silver EFX workshop

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a Leica Akademie Mayfair - Leica Monochrom and Nik Silver EFX workshop courtesy of my friend Simon having recently bought two Leica Monochrom, entitling him to two free places on this workshop.

The workshop is intended for those new to the Leica Mononchrom, basically a Leica M9 with the Bayer and Anti-Alias filters removed, thus making it a B+W only digital M. 
The benefits of this are:

  • Sharper images
  • Raised base ISO of 320
  • Better high ISO performance (for a Leica)
The disadvantages are:
  • No control of B+W image colour channels in editing software
  • Having to use colour filters on the lens when shooting
  • No option of a colour version of image
  • Costs more than the M240
So, why bother? It was precisely this question that made me keen to attend the workshop.

We arrived at the Leica Akademie, and if you've not been then I suggest you pay a visit if you like all things Leica, its very cool.

There were only the two of us on the workshop and were were taken by the workshop leader Robin to the Akademies' inner sanctum. In the cool designer interior of white and silver we were given a quick overview of the Leica Mononchrom. It was quickly apparent that both Simon and I were pretty experienced, Robin realised this and skipped through the basics and we went out with the Monochroms and a loan Leica 18mm to take some shots around Mayfair.
When we returned we loaded a selection of our RAW images onto Robin's Macbook to process.
Robin uses a combination of Lightroom (Lr) and Nik Silver EFX as his workflow, which is the same as me, Simon preferring to use Lr for cataloguing and then opening the image in Photoshop (Ps) and using Silver EFX from there.
Whilst processing it was apparent that out of the camera the images from the Monochrom are very sharp but to my eyes, a bit flat. 
The images processed well, they have a wide dynamic range and there is a surprising amount of detail in the shadows. Leica recommend exposing for the highlights and then bringing out the shadows in post processing. Any noise was "film like" and the high ISO performance is very good.

I was keen to post process the images myself using my workflow:
  • Adjust Black and Highlight levels in Lightroom either manually or by using Auto
  • Pre-sharpen in Nik Dfine RAW pre-sharpener
  • Re-check Black and Highlight levels in Lr
  • Process in Nik Silver EFX - Brighness, Contrast and Structure
  • Re-check Black and Highlight levels in Lr - Apply Clarity
  • Spot removal in Lr
  • Optional Application of Vignette using DSLR GURU preset.
For me, this produced a better image from the Monochrom. Any comments welcome.

Leica Monochrom/Elmarit 28mm ©Huw Jones

Leica Monochrom/Voigtlander 15mm ©Huw Jones

Leica Monochrom/Voigtlander 15mm ©Huw Jones

Leica Monochrom/Elmarit 28mm ©Huw Jones

Leica Monochrom/Elmarit 35mm ©Simon I Hill

Leica Monochrom/Elmarit 35mm ©Simon I Hill

In conclusion, if your only experience of photography is with digital then the workshop should fill in all the gaps so you can get the best from your Monochrom, if, like us, you are old enough to have started with film, then it will be somewhat basic. In a way it was good that there was only the two of us so Robin could tailor the contents to our requirements. Simon and I had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon at the Leica Akademie with their enthusiastic and professional staff, Simon even got the sensors on both the Monochroms' cleaned for free!

My opinion on the Leica Monochrom? I think I'd rather the ME or a used M9 and retain the option to use colour channels in post process. As it is I'm going to stick with my M8, the weak IR filter and lack of AA filter gives B+W a unique look and the images process beautifully.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

St Lawrence Working Mens Club Leica M8

Not far from my house is an old working mens' club. It turns out that this abandoned buiding is actually of historical importance to York, i'm not going to type it all out again so read this link to get the details.

I took my Leica M8, ans both the Elmarit 28mm and the Voigtlander 15mm. The light was a bit variable but the images convey the sadness this building is obviously feeling at the moment. 

At the rear of the building Leica M8 Emarit 28mm

Leica M8 Elmarit 28mm

Leica M8 Elmarit 28mm

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Kilpeck church Hereford Leica M8

I went out to Kilpeck church this afternoon, took the Leica M8 with me and both the Elmarit 28mm and the Voigtlander 15mm lenses.

Processed the images in Lr and the Google Nik suite.

Leica M8 Voigtlander 15mm

Leica M8 Elmarit 28mm

Leica M8 Elmarit 28mm

Monday, 27 May 2013

Photos revisited with Google Nik software suite

I recently bought the Nik software suite by Google. Re-released after their purchase by Google, you can now buy the complete set for around £99,

To give them a test I found some images that were a bit flat and tried to give them a lift by using the Nik suite.

I used the recommended Nik workflow:

  • Dfine - RAW pre sharpen
  • Adjust with either Colour of silver EFX Pro
  • Dfine - post adjustment sharpen

Canon 5D2 Canon 24-7 f2.8

Leica M8 Elmarit 28mm

Canon 5D2 Canon 24-70 f2.8

What I like the Nik suite for is skies, it really can bring them out with very little work. The Pre/Post sharpening is good as well, and can really make a difference to prints.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

The Welsh Martyrs Catholic Church in Penparcau, Aberystwyth, Leica M8

We were in Aberystwyth this weekend and I took the opportunity to find the 
The Martyrs Catholic Church in Penparcau, as I've wanted to photograph it since I saw Paul White's photos on his very interesting

I had my Leica M8 with me and even with the 15mm Voigtlander found it difficult to get a decent photo of this weird shaped building. No matter what angle you look at it from its impossible to convey via a photo just how odd it is.

The building is in a pretty sorry state, although it looks as if quite a few people go there judging by the condition of the path to it.

Leica M8 Elmarit 35mm

Monday, 1 April 2013

Revisiting old images

Bank holiday Monday so I spent some time looking again at some old images.

Processed in Lightroom.

Canon 5D2 24-70 f2.8

Olympus E330 14-42mm f5.6

Canon 5D2 24-70mm f2.8

Saturday, 30 March 2013


Now, I'm not one for social networking, I don't do Facebook or Twitter, as I don't think my life is interesting enough for anyone else to want to know about it, just as I'm not interested in anyone I might know just having eaten a Kit-Kat.
However my brother recently pointed me towards Instagram, I'm sure most of you know what this is, but I'd not heard of it before and thought it looked like a bit of fun, especially as I've got an iPhone 4S on the way with its decent 8Mp camera.
So I've put some photos on Instagram, the usual dark moody stuff I take.
The first ones were taken with my iPhone 3GS and don't look too bad actually.

More recent ones were taken using the iPhone 4S, on Instagram there is not a whole lot of difference visible between the two but downloaded the better camera in the 4S shows up.

Incidentally to download your photos from Instagram, if you have Mac and you are using iCloud, your iPhone photos will sync with iPhoto and you can simply drag your Instagram image into Photoshop.
Even the 3GS images looked fine at 100% and would easily print at A4.

See the site here:

Three of the images from the iPhone 4s

Old door detail New Street Aberystwyth Ceredigion

Aberaeron sea front on a cloudy April day

Nationalist graffiti painted on a wall in memory of a Gwynedd village, flooded to provide water for Liverpool in 1965