The best camera is the one you have with you

Imagine a cold March day in Northumberland on the north-east coast of England. There is a strong gale blowing that makes it difficult to stand up. Over to the east there is snow on the Cheviot hills. These poles mark the route back to the mainland should you get caught by the incoming tide along the Lindisfarne Causeway.

Not all photo opportunities are perfect, but the best place to take pictures is where you are. The best camera is the one you have with you.

I do a talk for Camera clubs and Photographic Societies in the UK called “Marvellous Monochrome” which is a series of before and after pictures that demonstrates the process of taking a raw colour file to an exhibition quality black and white print. I often joke that my prints have the look, smell and taste of a darkroom print. That description is actually correct because the Inkjet Paper I use is Fotospeed Platinum Baryta which has a Baryta coating as do all fibre based darkroom papers.

Here is where I started on that March day in 2009. You notice that I did not use the whole frame in the end but choose a 6×17 crop. The file in the camera was under exposed by 2 stops to cope with contrast in the highlights. I am using a 12mm lens probably about a foot from the post closest to me this increases the sense of depth back to front.

Particularly with landscape I often even-out the brightest contrast areas usually the sky to make it easier to deal with later.

On a different tack can anybody tell me if Elements 10 has a tool similar to the Patch Tool in Photoshop? I have been looking at videos on U Tube but can not tell for definite whether it does or does not. I am potentially thinking of using Elements 10 in place of CS4. I am feed up of being fleeced for £200 every 18 months by Adobe to upgrade Photoshop.

A big hello to the 10 new followers of my little blog who have joined in the past week or so, why not leave a comment?

(c) Andy Beel FRPS 2012


18 responses to The best camera is the one you have with you

  1. The before and after shots have an amazing difference and the black and white works brilliantly here. It almost feels like a sketch. Are you talking about the patch heal tool? Use CS5 and the patch heal tool is available there. I’ve never used elements 10.


  2. gamaraca says:

    Amazing to see the before and after. Depth of Field is something that I have not mastered and this shot is a great example!


    • andybeel says:

      Hi Gabby thanks for comment. A free top tip for endless DoF – use a wide-angle lens vertically pointing downwards, focus in the bottom 1/3, say f11- f16 give it a try sometime. Andy


  3. Hi Andy, these are super. I know what you mean about the ever upgrading/expensive photoshop strategy. I am currently using CS4 in conjunction with Nik filters. I used to do everything in photoshop, but now really love the Nik filters. If you are not familiar with them, you can download a fifteen day, fully functional trial version. Also, they work with PS Elements, I believe.


    • andybeel says:

      Hi Christian thanks for the comment. I am currently using Lr4, CS4 and Silver Efex Pro 2. When Elements 9 came out I bought a book just to see what it could do. Now I might buy the software. Andy


  4. Janice says:

    Really good to see the comparison of the before and after image, I really like the cropped version the lighting looks great too – hmmmm now I have seen what a difference there is from the original it has encouraged me to revisit some of my older images!


    • andybeel says:

      Hi Janice thanks for the comments. New processing of old forgotten pictures can throw up some nice suprises. Andy


  5. LensScaper says:

    That’s a great conversion, Andy. The luminosity is superb. I skipped CS4 and went straight from CS3 to CS5. That saved a few quid!


    • andybeel says:

      Hi Andy thanks for the comments. Luminosity that’s a good word. I always say that a good B&W print should glow and have an inner light. Andy


  6. Lesley says:

    Did you ever get Elements 10? I am thinking of going over to the other side as well. I am currently using CS4/LR4/NIK . Would be interested to hear if you purchased it and if you are sold on it?


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