Jenny Cameron is a Fine Art Landscape Photographer living the dream in the Scottish Highlands with her Husband and two dogs. Her passion for the wilderness began from a love of travel & outdoor life. Sadly Jenny was diagnosed with a rare bone disease a few years ago in her hip called Avascular Necrosis. This put an end to her mountain adventures ( hiking, winter climbing, skiing, backpacking to name a few). She spiralled into a dark place for a short time but thankfully found her solace in landscape photography and her journey began in October 2015 never looking back.
I’m excited to introduce the new Haida M10 adapter ring, M10 filter holder, M10 round “drop-in” circular polariser, M10 “drop-in” light barrier, M10 round “drop-in” neutral density 3.0 (10 stop) and Red Diamond medium 0.9 (3 stops).
This test review was based on a shoot around Assynt, a remote area of the Northern Scottish Highlands using my Canon 5d mark iv ( full frame camera). Tested at the widest focal length I use, 16mm with my Canon 16-35 mm USM L lens. Gitzo tripod and ball head.
As a landscape photographer I have learnt how invaluable a great filter system is to my arsenal of tools. It’s something you can buy a bit at a time to build up your collection, but choosing the correct brand is the tricky part. Thankfully for you I’ve made the mistakes and now ready to reveal the latest from Haida filters, the only brand for me.
I started using Haida filters in January 2018 with their Pro 100 series. As much as I regard them highly, I can’t stress enough how Haida’s design team have really upped their game and left their competitors way behind with their latest generation M10 filter holder system for the 100 mm series filters, including a selection of round “drop-in” filters (CPL, NDs and Clear-night) also their Red Diamond series ND’s (soft, medium), hard GND, reverse GND and horizon GND. These were all launched in October 2018 at Photokina and are now readily available. Haida have really listened to their customers and actually done something about it.
They kindly sent me their M10 filter holder and a selection of filters early in January 2018. So far, they have travelled almost two thousand miles with me on a road trip from the North Coast of Scotland to Southern England and a couple of local photo shoots. I wanted to really spend time in the field conducting this review and putting everything through its paces to give my most honest opinion. I can proudly say I now know them so well I could use them blindfolded. The whole set up – from screwing on the adapter ring to sliding in your first filter – can be done in less than 10 seconds!
All Haida filters are assembled in their own optical workshop located in the beautiful Port City of Ningbo, China. Haida’s new generation are such a genius method and design.
Haida M10 filter holder kit for the 100mm series filters includes the filter holder, CPL, light-barrier, adapter ring and leather case.
Haida M10 adapter ring
Works solely with the Haida M10 filter holder which is part of Haida’s new generation. Constructed entirely from aluminium for strength and light-weight, and also slim in design. From my experience this helps with any unnecessary vignettes when shooting at wide angles. You simply screw it easily onto the front of your Lens. This is the foundation for the M10 filter holder: it’s a bit like building a house – without a solid foundation there’s no point installing the windows.
These can be purchased to fit most popular lenses in sizes 49, 52, 55, 58, 62, 67, 72, 77 and 82mm.
Haida M10 filter holder
This is Haida’s successor to their 100 Pro filter holder. The new M10 filter holder is made from aviation grade aluminium and PC materials for super strength and is lighter in weight than its predecessor. Its genius design makes it exceptionally user-friendly, with super fast set up, and effortless to change and remove filters. Simply clip the M10 filter holder onto the M10 adapter ring by using the red push-and-release (spring clip) locking lever (see photo below). The innovative design gives a very secure and solid connection, and at the same time the ability to rotate 360 degrees – which I found especially useful when using the Red Diamond medium 0.9 ( 3 stop) graduated neutral density filter. The non-slip spongued coating on the bottom of the filter holder provides more of a grip when rotating which I think is a nice touch.
It’s designed to take up to three filters ( 100 x 100mm or 100 x 150mm @ 2mm thickness, compatible with other brands at the same size ) on the front of the holder if you wish to stack, and one filter slot at the rear closest to your camera lens where the new round “drop in” M10 filters are used. Boasting a choice of neutral density filters ( 3, 6, 10 and 15 stops), circular polariser (included in the kit), clear-night (light pollution filter), graduated neutral density filters ( 3 and 4 stops) and ND + CPL ( 3 and 6 stops). But only using one at a time which is the only downside if you like using several ND/s and a CPL as I often did with its predecessor. If you don’t wish to use any of the round “drop- in” filters, you must use the M10 “drop in” light barrier (see photo below) which is a simple and easy to use sealing ring to prevent any light leakage (also provided in the kit).
Stack of 3 100mm x 100mm Haida NDs in front compartment and CPL in rear compartment of M10 filter holder.
Housed in a smart black eco-leather zipped storage case, with a handy carabiner attached to the top which can be neatly clipped onto your tripod or belt for ease of access. Internally lined with a lovely grey velvety fabric with a net pocket for storage. Also included: screwdriver, extra pair of filter holder slots and gaskets to provide a third slot on the front of the Holder )which I’ve left on permanently).
Video of me using the M10 adapter ring, M10 filter holder, M10 round “drop-in” circular polariser filter together with Red Diamond medium 0.9 filter.
Haida M10 round “drop-in” circular polariser filter
My favourite of all the filters has always been the CPL. A vital piece of kit every landscape photographer should have and something which cannot be replicated in post processing. I rarely shoot without – it’s the perfect light manager. And let me tell you, Haida`s new M10 round “drop-in” CPL will never be off my lens.
I was curious to test if any slight vignette was present, and I can happily confirm that there is none at all, even pushing it through a tough test at my widest 16mm on a full frame camera. It gives amazing contrast, and cuts through some of the haze, especially on the clouds and the polarisation is visible in the sky producing some great detail. Removed almost all the unwanted glare and the see-through effect is well achieved on the water. Added some beautiful saturation which gives an overall instant pop to the image. Always remember with any filter – it brings into the equation a fourth dimension to the exposure triangle. With a CPL you will generally lose between 1-2 stops of light. As you can see in the comparison exif data below, I have lost around 1.5 stops.
Inserting the round “drop in” CPL into the M10 filter holder is the fastest I’ve ever used, never mind witnessed. It simply drops between the holder and lens creating a perfect seal from any stray light. It’s almost like gravity does the work for you – once you hear the click it’s locked in place. There is a three gear linkage design on the mount which rotates independently and very smoothly. Once you start turning the adjustable black dial which is centrally placed on the top of the filter, you’ll instantly see the polarisation intensity on your live view screen. I tend to always rotate a CPL 360 degrees first to check the availability of contrast, saturation, and reflection. The strongest effect takes place at an angle of 90 degrees from the sun, ie make sure your line of sight is perpendicular to the direction of the sun. The filter is easily removed or exchanged by gently squeezing the red plastic tabs on the top and lifting it out without disturbing your composition.
Constructed from high quality optical glass the same as the Red Diamond series, each filter has ten layers of anti-reflective coatings, is shock-proof and scratch-proof, provides the best clarity, includes the famous nano multi-coating to reduce reflection, waterproof (meaning any droplets of water literally roll off like beads, no ugly smears) and the dreaded fingerprints wipe off easily with a soft microfibre cloth.
I have to say how solid it feels, plus it’s very fast and easy to use. In the past, CPLs I’ve used can be fiddly, hard to screw on especially when it’s freezing cold, you’re up at silly o’clock waiting for sunrise and half asleep. Haida have really listened to their customers and produced this truly clever design making our life so much easier. It’s an absolute pleasure to work with.
The round “drop in” filters are available in a selection of: ND 0.9, 1.8 3.0, 4; CPL; Clear-night; GND-0.9 1.2; ND+CPL 0.9 and 1.8.
Images below showing straight-out-of-camera (Canon 5d mark iv and Canon 16-35mm USM L Lens) @16mm with no filter and with Haida M10 “drop-in” CPL filter. No post processing on either other than lens correction in Lightroom. Demonstrating how the CPL has retained every bit of sharpness.
Finally post processed in Adobe Creative Cloud.
Haida Red Diamond Medium
The Red Diamond filter I am testing is a medium 0.9 equaling 3 Stops. Rectangle in shape and sized 100mm x 150mm, providing more flexibility to move the filter up or down within the holder for ultimate control, homogeneous graduated blending from light to dark and endless creative possibilities. I really enjoyed using this filter in combination with the M10 filter holder. It’s fun the way you can rotate the holder if you want to darken the sky on one side or turn it upside down if you’re looking over bright highlighted water.
I predict this latest series from Haida becoming “The big daddy” of them all for landscape photographers the world over. Haida named this new series “Red Diamond” as they’re amongst the strongest diamonds in the world, therefore being the strongest of all Haida filters.
What makes this series stand out from its predecessor and other brand filters are listed as follows:
- Shock resistant, low risk to any accidental damage.
- Scratch resistant, the perfect partner in demanding weather.
- Zero colour cast.
- Waterproof, oil and fingerprint proof Nanopro coated surface.
- Improved optical glass.
- R5 rounded corners – makes it easier to slide in and out of the filter holder, no sharp corners.
- K9 optical glass.
- True colour.
- Ultra-thin nano multi coating.
- Easy to clean.
- Double the strength of other glass filters whilst at the same time retaining ultimate sharpness.
- Still retaining 2 mm in thickness making it compatible with the Haida 100-Pro filter holder and other brands the same size.
- The Red Diamond series is double the strength of a normal glass filter. You may have seen online the Haida Red Diamond drop test video? Where it’s thrown onto a concrete floor and no sign of damage to the filter. If you are accident prone this would be the perfect filter series for you.
Images below showing straight-out-of-camera (Canon 5d mark iv and Canon 16-35mm USM L Lens) @16mm -With-without-Red Diamond medium 0.9 (3 stops). No post processing on either, other than lens correction in Lightroom.
Finally post processed in Adobe Creative Cloud
M10 round “drop-in” 3.0 ND (10 Stop) Filter
The round “drop in” 3.0 ND, equalling 10 stops of light with its built in light barrier, is particularly useful for any super long exposures. Oftentimes in the past I’ve struggled with the issue of light leakage and had to resort to putting hats or cloths over the gap between filter and lens, not an ideal situation at all.
Before I started my love affair with Haida filters over a year ago, I was using Lee filters. My go-to neutral density filter was always the Big Stopper but more times out of ten the images produced had a slight purple tint and vignettes at wide angles. Although it’s easy enough to change in post processing, it is another job. All these wee jobs can mount up a lot, meaning less creative time and enjoyment in the great outdoors with your camera – and surely they’re the best parts?!
I was curious to test if any vignette were present, and I can happily confirm none at all was found. You would think attaching any filter over your lens would affect the level of sharpness, but it’s clear to see from my findings below that there is no loss of sharpness from corner to corner – it’s pin sharp. Absolutely no colour tint was found, making this one of the most neutral NDs I’ve ever come across. I particularly liked the design of the plastic holder that the round glass sits in, making it ultra easy to drop in and remove the filter holder without any disturbance to the composition. Just like the Red-Diamond filters, the M10 round “drop-in” series of filters are all made from the same grade optical glass and feature the same nanopro coatings, producing excellent image quality. It’s clear to see that Haida have really thought through every single part of the process and know the issues that can be caused in the field.
Images below showing straight-out-of-camera (Canon 5d mark iv and Canon 16-35mm USM L Lens) @16mm -With-without-M10 round “drop-in” N.D 3.0 (10-stop). No post processing on either other than lens correction in Lightroom.
Finally post processed in Adobe Creative Cloud
Collection of images taken during my field test
I hope this provides you some useful information. Please feel free to ask me any questions.
“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2019
Jenny Cameron is a Fine Art Landscape Photographer living in the Scottish Highlands with her Husband and two dogs. Her passion for the wilderness began from a love of travel & outdoor life. Sadly Jenny was diagnosed with a rare bone disease a few years ago in her hip called Avascular Necrosis. This put an end to her mountain adventures ( hiking, winter climbing, skiing, backpacking to name a few). She spiralled into a dark place for a short time but thankfully found her solace in landscape photography and her journey began in October 2015 never looking back. 2016 was a great year, several of her images were exhibited in three American Art Galleries, followed by her first Publication on the front cover of the prestigious Scottish Field Magazine January 2017 issue. The New Year brought ten of her Scottish images published in two different Coffee Table style Photography Books. In July 2017 one of her most popular images “Altnaharra” was chosen for an Exhibition in England. Jenny continues pushing the boundaries and looks forward to the future.
How did your love of Photography start?
I’ve always enjoyed taking photos from a very young age and trawling through golden oldie family snaps. I think it hit me when I realised I enjoyed taking photos of landscapes more than I did of my beloved dogs which sounds terrible but its very true. Anyone who knows me knows my dogs are my children and absolute world to me.
What’s your Long-term Photographic Ambition?
I would love to help and inspire other landscape photographers in some kind of educational way, maybe workshops &/or tutorials in the future as its something I get asked often. I enjoy chatting far too much, so that with my photography passion would be heavenly.
Where does your photographic inspiration come from?
My love of the outdoors, the way the light plays on the land totally blows me away everytime. Living in the Scottish Highlands I’m surrounded by so much beauty, it never seizes to amaze me.
What would consider to be your greatest achievement (or achievements) in your photography to date?
My proudest moment would have to be my first Publication on the front cover of Scottish Field Magazine with my beloved girls ( cows). As most will know I live on a farm in the Scottish Highlands, in 2016 we had some adorable cows. I use to visit them a few times a day with my dogs, they knew we were coming & started to recognize my voice & would head towards us. I grew quite attached to these cow, would often sing to them & tell them all my woes of the day. So, to have my gorgeous girls on the front cover of such an old & prestigious magazine displayed in all the major newsagents/ supermarkets across the country was a very proud and emotional moment for me.
What’s your favourite photo that you’ve ever taken & why?
Its got to be one named Wilderness taken in the County of Sutherland, the far North of Scotland. It was one of the first ones taken with my first full frame camera ( Canon 5d mark iii), it became very popular on social media & seemed to put my name on the map so to speak. I was driving home after a day shooting on the north coast, one those moments where I had to stop the car and jump out. It was a cold autumn afternoon as the sun was setting, I wouldn’t call it a sunset, it was just the way the light softly tipped the area, really very beautiful & unforgettable experience.
What’s inside your kit bag?
Canon 5d mark iv
Gitzo Systematic 5 series Tripod
Gitzo offset ball head
Canon 16-35mm USM L Lens & Hood
Canon 70-200mm USM L Lens & Hood
Remote Shutter Release
Cable Release ( as back up)
Lee Filters; Circular Polariser, Big Stopper, Little Stopper, 0.9 Pro Glass ND.
Too many batteries
What’s inside your dream kit bag?
I pretty much have all I need right now. Possibly if money was no issue Id love to play with the Canon 400mm F2.8 L IS ii for the odd wildlife shot.
Which piece of kit couldn’t you do without?
My beloved Gitzo tripod. Tripods often get forgotten about to any extent as people think the camera or lens is the most important piece of kit. For me after coming home from two photo tours with disappointing images, the only issue was with my tripod. Although I thought my old Tripod was sturdy enough, it didn’t move visually on location but once the images were uploaded to Lightroom it was clear to see slight movement, it really got me down, I blamed myself. Once I bit the bullet & upgraded to the Gitzo there was no looking back, I even went to the length of having some spikes made which screw into the bottom of the legs.
What words of advice would you give to beginners?
Find your favourite photographers & take inspiration from them. Practice, practice & more practice, its the only way. Know your camera well, read the manual over & over until you know it inside out. Don’t rely on post processing to save you, without a great base image you’ll never make it work. Don’t let gear go to your head but also don’t buy cheap.
Buachaille Etive Mor known locally as “The Buachaille” is a Scottish Munro at the head of Glen Etive. Driving up the A82 from the south your suddenly in awe of this majestic peak. I remember 20 yrs ago a climber had a horrible accident ..I was heading back to the car after a hike over Rannoch Moor when a guy approached me asking for help, one of his climbers were suspended on a ledge almost at the top of the Buachaille & could I drive him to the Hotel ( not many people had mobile phones back then & even if they did they wouldn’t have a signal). I’ve never driven so fast in all my life, we finally got there & phoned for Mountain Rescue. It seemed to go on forever waiting for the Helicopter to arrive, I think about 2 hrs plus it was going dark. The Climber was rescued & taken to Fort William Hospital, his knee caps were all smashed, they said he would never walk again. The following summer I heard he was back on the same mountain climbing again … Such an inspiration, never give up!! This area is in my heart and soul .. I truly love it, my happy place.
Here is the Raw file we will be working with. Taken with a Canon 5d Mark iv, Canon 16-35mm USM Lens @34mm, ISO 100, F11, 131 seconds. With a Haida ND 3.6 (12 stop) Filter. On the beautiful banks of Loch Assynt, Sutherland, Scotland.
To begin with we are going to make sure we’ve removed any unwanted objects. With this particular image I decided to remove the reeds in the foreground as I felt they looked messy and uninteresting. I will leave the small foreground rock as an anchor point to draw the eye into the scene. We are going to do this with the help of Content Aware technology in Photoshop.
1: Start by duplicating your background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.
2: With Layer 1 selected ( highlighted in white) > Go to your Tools panel > Select the Lasso Tool and roughly draw round any unwanted objects (as seen in the image below).
3: Go to Edit > Fill. This will provide you with a pop up box. At the top of the box you’ll find a drop down menu > select Content – Aware. Check the Color Adaptation checkbox, sometimes this can give a smoother color transition. Copy my settings from the image below.
4: Just like magic! Photoshop did a great job in removing the reeds, see the results below. You now need to deactivate your selection by holding Ctrl+D, or CMD+D on a Mac. Flatten your image by going to Layer> Flatten Layer, which will collapse your Layer stack into one. You can do this sequence several times to improve results if needed.
5: The image is looking too blue for my taste. I’m going to lower the blues in Adobe Camera Raw ( ACR).
6: Open up ACR > You do this by going to > Filter > Camera Raw Filter > which brings up a new screen. >Go to the eighth tab along in the Basic Panel (right hand side) named Camera Calibration > Go to the bottom set of sliders named Blue Primary. Set the Hue slider to minus 14 or thereabouts, and the Saturation slider to minus 100. See my settings in the image below.
7: Flatten your Layer stack by going to Layer> Flatten Layer, which will collapse your Layer stack into one.
8: Again, duplicate your background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.
9: Go back into ACR, this is where we are going to control the light. The light is coming from the left side of the image. Start by grabbing your Gradient filter which is the second tool from the right on the top left row. I use a bright Pink colour ( see my image below) as my Mask colour seen in the lower half of the screen, as its a colour not commonly used in nature, making it stand out to enable me to see where the actual Gradient will be rather than the Overlay option checkbox which gives you a lined area. Simply drag down the Gradient Filter with your mouse to where you think is best and click OK, which takes you back into Photoshop. Flatten your Layer stack by going to Layer> Flatten Layer, which will collapse your Layer stack into one.
10: You can see in the image below the effect its given from the settings I used.
11: Duplicate your background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac
12: Back into ACR, using the Gradient filter again I lowered the exposure of the water. All the time my aim is to draw the eye to the trees.The lighting is now looking more directional. See my image below of the work so far. Click OK & back into Photoshop. Flatten your Layer stack by going to Layer> Flatten Layer, which will collapse your Layer stack into one.
13: Duplicate your background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.
14: Back into ACR > Take the fifth tool from the top left set of Tools named Target Adjustment Tool ( I call it the Tat Tool ). It will provide you with a movable cross shape icon > zip across to the Basic Panel (right hand side) to the fourth icon named HSL/ Grayscale. You’ll see three titles named Hue, Saturation & Luminance.> Click on Luminance, place your cursor over the area you want to work on. In my case I’m starting on the trees. > Now drag your cursor/mouse upwards, this will lift the Luminance values. You can see how my settings in the image below has lifted the shadows on the trees and made them stand out more. Also have a play around with the Saturation & Hue sliders with the same technique. Be careful as it’s a very powerful tool and has a tendency to show weird colour transitions if pushed too far. Once you’ve finished click OK. This will take you back into Photoshop and you’ll need to flatten your Layer stack.
15:Duplicate your background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.
16: We need to take this a further step as the trees aren’t popping off the screen as much as I’d hoped. So…head back to ACR and follow my settings similar to the image below. Again, once you’ve finished in ACR click OK which will take you back to Photoshop. Do not flatten your Layer stack this time.
17: The image is still looking flat and boring with no depth. So lets mask off the brighter areas which are not needed. You can also see in the histogram that some highlights are blown out which isn’t great. We need to control this, hopefully once masked off it should bring them back. If you have never used masks please don’t worry, we will work through it together in baby steps. Once you get the hang of them it will open up a whole new world for you.
18: With Layer 1 selected, go to Layer > Layer Mask > Hide all. This provides you with a black mask hiding your top layer (layer 1). Make sure your foreground and background colours are set to the default of white and black. You can do this by pressing “D” on your keyboard. Set your Brush Opacity to around 20- 30 %, its best to build up slowly to give a more natural feathered effect. Now take a large soft brush (1100px approx) using your white foreground colour (this will reveal your hidden layer) and carefully paint in the light you want to show. You can alter the size of your brush by using your bracket keys. Adjust your Opacity in the Layers panel if needed. Flatten your image by going to Layer> Flatten Layer, which will collapse your Layer stack into one.
19: Duplicate your background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.
20: Go back into ACR and grab your TAT tool (Target Adjustment Tool). Im now aiming for the brighter areas of the sky around the trees. With your Cursor drag down the highlights in the area, this will help the trees stand out and blend better.
21: Whilst in ACR go to the Basic Panel> Selecting the seventh icon along named Effects> Select the Dehaze Slider and increase by around 17. This gives more definition and contrast. Press OK which takes you back to Photoshop. Flatten your image by going to Layer> Flatten Layer, which will collapse your Layer stack into one.
22: Duplicate your Background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.
23: Still working on giving extra light to the trees. Select Layer one > Blend mode Linear Dodge ( Add) > Set your Opacity to around 75% and Fill to 25%. This really gives great highlights. Again you’ll need to mask off certain areas that aren’t required, (same as in step 18 above to reveal some eye popping light effects). See the results in the image below.
24: Back into ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) to the White Balance tool. This can help with not only colours but also Luminosity too. Top left you’ll see an eye dropper Tool, third icon from the left. Place your cursor over it and drag to a neutral part in your image and click. Try different areas for different effects. Click OK which takes you back to Photoshop. See the results in the image below. Not a massive difference but each little step really does help.> Flatten your Layer stack.
25: Duplicate your Background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.
26: Back into ACR > Go to the Basic panel> Seventh icon named Effects> Post crop Vignetting> Add some Dehaze. Click OK and back into Photoshop. Adjust your opacity slider to what you think looks best in the Layers panel. Flatten your image. Follow my settings from the image below.
27: Back again to ACR > HSL panel> Saturation section> Take your TAT tool and drag down those brashy blues to help the trees stand out better. Click OK which takes you back to Photoshop and flatten your Layers in the Layer stack.
28: Duplicate your Background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.
29: To me the Vignette is looking a wee bit too heavy, so go back into ACR and the HSL Panel. > Luminance section and lift those dark shadows. For me it actually lifted more around the trees which was great as it gave more contrast. Click OK and back to Photoshop. Flatten your layers.
30: Duplicate your Background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.
31: Go to > Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask>. Copy my settings from the image below. Click OK.
32: Go to >Edit > Fade unsharp mask> this brings up a pop up box > Click OK >. In your Layers panel go to > Blend Mode Luminosity. That’s your sharpening all done but do we really want sharp clouds? I think not, so…..lets mask off the parts we don’t want sharp.
33: With Layer 1 selected, go to > Layer > Layer Mask > Hide all. This provides you with a black mask hiding your top layer. Make sure your foreground and background colours are set to the default of white and black. You can do this by pressing “D” on your keyboard. Set your Brush Opacity to around 30- 40 %, its best to build up slowly. Now take a large soft brush using your white foreground colour to paint in the sharp areas you want to show. You can alter the size of your brush by using your bracket keys. Adjust your Opacity in the Layers panel if needed. Flatten your image.
34: To save for the web, go to > Image> Image size>. Follow my settings below and click OK..
35: Go to > File > Save as >. This will bring up your personal PC Library >. Now save and name to whatever folder you wish. Remember to select in the drop down menu that you want it saved as a Jpeg.
Final image below.
Tips: You can also save as you go along which is something I’ve learned the hard way with my crazy connections here in the wilds of Scotland. My internet can oftentimes drop or slow down, and for some reason it closes Photoshop losing all my work. So if you save as you go it saves any heartache that may happen. Some people like to work in large Layer stacks which is fine, we’re all different and have different circumstances.
I do all my sharpening at the end of the process as Contrast, Clarity and Dehaze to name a few can add to the effect, so if you do it at the end you know the correct amount to add. It also depends on where the image will be shown, in this case it will be posted on social media platforms.
Try not to focus on the sliders. Place your cursor on the control and move it without looking at it. Look only at your image and how the slider is affecting it. This way it’s easier to see when something will look right.
I truly hope you enjoyed this tutorial & found it easy to understand. If you have any questions you may like to ask please feel free to give me a shout on Facebook Messenger and I’ll be happy to help. Most of all have fun and enjoy your Photography, it’s all about you, not what others may think.
Over the years I’ve been asked many times if I do Editing tutorials, and I never have until now when Photography Masterclass invited me to share a few of my favourite Techniques, so here goes my very first..
I don’t have an exact Workflow that I follow as a rule, every image is different, therefore deserves its own treatment. People often ask what Plugin or Effect do I use, the answer is none. I wish it were that simple but the truth is you need to work at it with several techniques from your Creative self. I’ve been known to spend weeks on one image and even then there’s a possibility it will get deleted or I walk away for a few months till I’m in the right head space for that particular image. Other images can flow easily and done in an hour.. It all depends, they’re all different.
So …grab a Coffee, pull up a chair, load Photoshop, and chillax for some unconventional Jenny style editing. OHhh..and don’t forget the biscuits, they’re the most essential part!!
I thought Id start with the ever popular Romantic Orton Effect, its like something you’d see in the Movie Lord of the Rings. Developed my Michael Orton in the mid 80’s, which gives an almost surreal dreamy effect. There are so many different ways to do this and Tutorials all over the Internet. It’s a great effect that I use in the majority of my work and normally applied towards the end of Processing, which I personally think gives an extra polished look. Here’s how I do mine and the image we will be working on below.
1. Duplicate your background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.
2. With this New Layer selected, go to Image>Apply Image. Copy my settings from the image below.
3. Make another Copy in the Layers Panel by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac .Your Layers Panel should now look like this.
4. Now go to> Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur. Select a Radius around 38 which is what I prefer when using my Canon 5d mark iv in Raw Format, but it depends on the size of your own image file. Have a play around with different Radius.
5. Close the Eye icon on your Background layer (see example circled in Red). Go to Layer > Merge Visible, this will Collapse your Three Layers into Two. Go back to your Eye icon and Open by un-checking it. Your Layers Panel should now look like this.
6. Go to >Blend Mode >Multiple. This will look way too heavy and over cooked, so don’t lose hope, stay with me. Go to your Opacity Slider and Dial it down to whatever you feel looks good, usually anything between 12 and 30 Percent.
Tip: You can also Experiment with different Blend modes ..Overlay, Soft Light and Hard Light can work quite well too for more Pop! Word of caution though, dont over do it, it’s very tempting I know but it will stand out as overdone and fake. The trick is so nobody knows how you’ve Edited. Suiltity is your best friend, bet you never thought Id say such word ..lol.
Controlling Blown out Highlights.
Apply Image is one of my favourite tools in Photoshop, you can use it in many situations. Here’s how I control any blown out or over powering highlights as illustrated in the Image below.
1. Start by duplicating your Background Layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.
2. Select Blend mode Multiple on your top Layer.
3. Select a White Layer Mask.
4. Go to Image > Apply Image . Make sure your settings are the same as mine below.
5. You can Experiment with different Blend modes and Channels within the Apply Image box. Have a play, see what you come up with.
6. To achieve different Effects you can take it a step further by checking the Mask check box in the bottom part of Apply Image dialogue box, this will crush the highlights more. Click OK. Follow the example below.
7. If you feel it’s too soft and flat you can always add a Curves Adjustment Layer. Start by making the Curve a steep “S” shape > if you double-click on the White Mask it kindly provides for you it allows you to add a Feather, making it not too harsh of a Contrast. Set the Feather to approximately 10 pixels.
8. Adjust your Opacity to taste and Mask off any areas that you don’t want.
Give it some Punch! This gives extra Detail/ Clarity.
1. Duplicate your Background Layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.
2. Go to >Filter> Convert for Smart Filter.
3. Filter > Other > High Pass > Set to 3 Pixels.
4. Blend Mode >Overlay ( or Soft Light / Hard Light ).
5. Layer > Layer Style > Blending Options.
6. Go to the Blend If area in the lower half of the box where you see two sliders ( This Layer and Underlying Layer) > Go to “This Layer” > . As in the image below.
7. Hold down the Alt Key or Option Key on a Mac > Place your mouse over the left slider and click > this will instantly separate the slider in two.
8. Move the sliders to show> 50/100.
9. Do the same with the Right hand slider making sure your still working on “This Layer”> Hold down the Alt Key or Option Key on a Mac > Place your mouse over the Right slider and Click > this will instantly separate the slider in two > Set to 150/200 > Click OK.
10. So your Image looks like mine below. Area to work with Circled in Red.
11. Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.
12. Adjust your Opacity to what you think looks best. You can use the White Masks on the Smart Filters within the Layer Stack to Mask off any areas with a Large Soft Black brush that you don’t want.
Painting with Light
Here we are literally going to be Painting Light and/or Shade directly on the Image. Learning about Light was one of my first Nemesis, it didn’t come natural to me at all, but I knew I had to fully understand it if I wanted to pursue any type of Photography.
Really think about where your Light source is coming from, ie. the Sun, Moon, Diffused Light from a Window or a Light leak/s from Clouds to name a few. Remember one thing, Light always travels in straight lines, and wherever there is light there has to be Shade.
Photoshop really does make this an easy task.
1. Start with your Background Layer in your Layers Pallet.
2. Go to >Layer (on your top row) > New > Layer >You can name this “Light” or whatever you prefer to use and set the Blend mode within the pop up box to Soft Light. Like the example below.
Option: You can use Blend Mode Overlay as an alternative if you prefer, it will give a stronger contrast.
3. Select a Colour from your Image using the Eye-dropper tool to give a more natural look that matches your image. Look for a slightly more Saturated & Lighter Colour in the Colour Swatch. Always best to experiment till you have the right tone that your happy with.
4. Grab a Large Soft Paint Brush with your chosen colour, this gives a more feathered natural look.
5. Using your Bracket keys for the correct size> Simply paint in the light you need on the New Layer.
6. You can do this with Several Colours. I tend to work in areas and make sure you use a New Separate Layer for each Colour, it’s just easier and more controllable.
Tip: You can do the same for Painting in Shadows with darker colours. Rather than having plain Black and Boring blocked out Shadows.
It’s very time-consuming, there’s no quick fix. The best way I’ve found so far ..Put on some great Music, zone out whilst you Paint some Beautiful Light & Transform your image like a boss! It’s actually very therapeutic.
Within Photoshop and Lightroom you can change the Background colour by simply right clicking over the area. It brings up a drop down menu, with the options black, dark grey, medium grey, light grey and customized.. Try changing the colour to see how your image looks on different backgrounds and also zooming in and out, this can really help to show your Highlights and Shadows. Remember to always stick with the Default for your main workflow ( darkest grey). Think about where your image will be displayed. Social Media platform layouts are all different, sometimes it’s a small thumbnail that viewers see first or maybe displayed in a Gallery.
Never worry what other people think, do it for yourself, what pleases you. I’ve tried listening to the Purists who can’t wait to tell me I’ve overdone something, but it doesn’t rock my boat, why should I please them? Would you start a Career in something you don’t want just to make others happy? I think not! You might not always get the most Likes, Comments or Followers on Social Media, but does it matter? Do it for yourself, listen to your heart, it will guide and fulfill you I promise.
I hope you guys all enjoyed this and have lots of fun experimenting with the new techniques.
On the bonnie bonnie banks of Loch Lomond …There’s a song in there somewhere, will probably drive you mad all day singing it in your head.
Woke up to a gorgeous frosty morning at Duck Bay the light was so soft and perfect looking to me. Loch Lomond, Scotland’s first National Park, “The Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park”, located off the A82, approximately two miles north of Balloch.
I felt like I was still in my bed dreaming. There was no time for breakfast, couldn’t bare the thought of losing the soft light shining on the Ben (Ben Lomond Mountain), producing an epic reflection on the Loch. I’m not normally a morning person but when you see such beauty it gives me a big kick up the ass and I can’t wait to get out there shooting. It’s a bit like the feeling you had as a kid on a Christmas morning, you never know what to expect but excited at the same time.
Light moves fast and so do you if you want “that shot”. Sometimes I panic so much that I forget things, it’s quite the adrenalin rush. Questions racing through your mind, should I place the Tripod here or there? What Focal length should I use? How should I angle my lens? Which filters if any? So many others as they flash through your thoughts, all happening in nanoseconds.
Canon 5d mark iv, Canon 70- 200mm USM Lens, Gitzo Systematic 5 series Tripod, Gitzo series 5 Off Centre Ball Head, Haida ND 3.6 ( ND 12 stop) Filter, Remote timer.
Adobe Photoshop CC.
Hope you enjoyed this blog post. If you’d like to see more of my work follow the links below;
My first review of the Haida 100 Series ND 3.6, ND 4.5, Pro Round Circular Polariser (CPL), Adapter Ring and Pro Holder as their UK Official Photographer. Using my Canon 5d mark iv with Canon 16-35mm USM Lens in the Northern Scottish Highlands.
When I first started my Landscape photography journey I bought a budget range of filters, but couldn’t understand how my images actually looked worse than without any filter, but other photographers who I looked up to were producing great work. The only difference I found were different brands, eventually I upped my game, bite the bullet, bought a better quality set of filters. It’s like the old saying goes, “buy cheap buy twice”, which is very true! Never skimp on anything Optical, you’ll never be happy.
The Haida adapter ring is made from good quality Aluminium with no rough edges and very sturdy. This easily screws onto the filter holder where they can stay together permanently if your using the same lens. I particularly found this a great innovation as my previous filter holder and adapter ring were separate which meant more time screwing together which isn’t always easy in freezing temperatures with gloves on, or needing to move quick as the light changes. The particular size I used was 77mm for my Canon 16-35mm USM Lens, but they come in an array of different sizes ( 49mm – 82mm) to suit most popular lenses.
100 Pro Holder
The Haida 100 Pro Holder feels solid in your hand, very fast and easy to mount. Made from the highest quality Aluminum,making it extremely robust and strong unlike some other filter companies who tend to rattle around loosely. It easily screws together with the Adapter Ring and comes with two filter slots. If you need more Haida who think of everything kindly provide spare brackets and thumbscrews so you can add more if you so wish. Not forgetting the lovely fabric pouch it comes in to keep your holder secure.
Circular Polariser (CPL)
The Haida Round CPL, a vital piece of kit every landscape photographer should have, I rarely shoot without.
I found from my testings it lost roughly two stops of light. Its very slim and made from the highest quality glass to provide great optical clarity. Not to mention the fabulous Nano Coating on both sides which gives not only protection but also improves light quality.
Comes in a very neat plastic box with padding internally for extra protection whilst on your travels. Also available in a selection of sizes ranging from 49mm – 82mm.
There was no vignetting at all even at my widest 16mm on a full frame camera, which you can clearly see from the image below. Your able to rotate the edges of the filter with the metal dial at any time and instantly see the effected light changing.
I should also mention how it gave amazing contrast, cutting through some of the haze especially on the clouds and foliage. Removed almost all the glare from the water, added some beautiful saturation and gave an overall instant pop to the image. Without using a CPL it would be virtually impossible to replicate this effect in post processing.
What do CPL’s do?
It works by blocking certain light wavelengths from entering the camera sensor. To achieve a maximum effect I’ve found it best to make sure your line of sight is perpendicular to the direction of the sun.They are ideal for anything with non-metallic surfaces such as glass and cutting through reflections on water. You know when you see images where you can see the rocks/stones on the river bed through the water. If a polariser wasn’t used then you can end up with one huge mess of blown out highlights. The only downside with a CPL is being careful not to take it too far, you end up not even seeing the water, I’ve had this happen in the past, not a great look.
The image below, taken without a filter and with the Haida CPL at the distinctively curved Kylesku Bridge that crosses Loch a`Chairn Bhain in Sutherland, Scotland. Canon 5d mark iv, 16-35mm USM. No CPL, ISO 100, F11, 1/10 @16mm and with Haida CPL, ISO 100, F11, 1/4 second.
Haida ND 3.6 (12 stop) and ND 4.5 (15 stop)
The Haida ND filters come in beautiful individual chunky Silver metal boxes with padding internally for protection. You may be thinking come on Jenny it doesn’t matter what the filter comes in, it’s the actual glass that matters. And, yes to be fair you’re quite right, but don’t you think attention to detail should follow through from the packaging to the actual Filter? I sure do, it gives me faith in the product that the company has taken into consideration every minor detail.
Made from quality Optical Glass, sized 100mm x 100mm and approximately 2 mm in thickness. I experienced no vignetting and very low colour cast.
I expected some slight lack of sharpness with using both these ND Filters, but as you can see from my findings there really is none at all, they gave an impressive definition.
They also come with a spare gasket if you should ever need it, this can also help with light leaks. See I told you, Haida really do think of everything! I left the gasket off as the filter slotted into the holder very snug and there was no sign of light leakage as you can see from the images below.
From past experience I’ve found it best to always insert the ND Filter in the first groove as close to the lens as possible, this really helps with the possibility of any light leaks. Not forgetting to close your viewfinder, as I do with the rubber piece attached to the Canon neck strap. I believe Nikons have a little blind you can pull down, or simply use some black electrical tape.
What do NDs do?
They allow you to lengthen your exposures in both light and dark conditions. Adds motion blur to moving subject such as water to give a smooth silky look and streaky effects to clouds. It works by reducing the amount of light from reaching the camera sensor. Therefore your able to leave the camera with a higher aperture for a longer amount of time. The results give the photographer more artistic control.
Please see the image below taken without a filter and with the Haida ND Filter 4.5 (15 stop) at Ardvreck Castle in Sutherland. Canon 5d mark iv, 16-35mm USM. No Filter @32mm, ISO 100, F11, 1/100 .With 4.5 Haida ND Filter ( 15 stop) ISO 100, F11,
The following images were taken from the beautiful banks of Loch Assynt, looking across to what we locals call Pine Tree Island. Canon 5d mark iv, 16-35mm USM. No Filter @34mm, ISO 100, F11, 1/125 .With 3.6 Haida ND Filter ( 12 stop) ISO 100, F11, 131 seconds.
Another admirable feature is the NanoPro coating. Whilst conducting this test the weather was harsh and against me with rain, strong winds and water splashing up from the Loch. What amazed me was the way the glass repelled the water, it simply beaded up and rolled off. Unlike other glass filters Ive used in the past which take forever to clean and smear when you try to wipe away any excess water. This is due to the NanoPro coating which gives great waterproofness, scratch resistant and super easy cleaning.