Alton Towers Competition

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The Alton Towers competition is something that gives club members a unique challenge each year. Everyone has the same subject matter available and the same lighting conditions. This year was made more challenging by the weather which, for most of the 90 minutes was either overcast cloud or rain. We did have a glimmer of sunlight just towards the end. This meant that I was even more eager and also nervous to see what people had achieved on the night.

The time and resources provided by Alton Towers  in putting on the event for the club is something that we must not take for granted. As I said earlier, it provides us with a unique opportunity and a unique competition. Hopefully more people will take on the challenge next year.

Thanks also go to Ralph Duckett and his wife for joining us 2 evenings in a row to judge a competition. As ever his comments and critique were points to learn from.

Several questions were asked about my ‘Through the archway’ competition entry so here are a few details.

I was using a Fuji X- series camera that is quite a few years old now. For the archway photograph I used an all manual Samyang 12mm F2 lens. The Fuji is an APS-C sensor with a sensor factor of 1.5 compared to ‘full frame’ DSLR. This, means it still has the field of view of a 12mm lens but crops into it to give what an 18mm lens would give. ISO 200 Shutter of 1/15 th and aperture, not in the EXIF since no electronic connection with the camera from the lens, I probably stopped it down to F2.8, maybe F4 but no more. The Fuji raw conversion software, Silkypix, is not very user friendly and I use Lightroom 5 for the Fuji files.

From within LR I then used Nik / Google Colour Efex 4 Detail Extractor plugin. The steps at the end of the ground level had some barriers across the lower half so they cleaned up. There was also a bit of a ‘halo edge’ between the sky and the archway brickwork. The Adobe software has difficulty demosaicing the Fuji X-Trans sensor. It is not the normal Beyer sensor arrangement. I selected the archway and then used the clone tool to soften this down. The first version that I prepared was a little too vibrant so I reduced the vibrancy for the final image. It probably took around 5 minutes in total, much shorter than the time for the printer to print it or for me to mount it. The print was made on Fotospeed’s Satin paper with a custom print profile.

The ‘Lines and curves’ image was taken using the Fuji camera again but this time with a 35mm F1.4 Fuji lens. ISO 200 Shutter of 1/450, F2. After a little treatment, boosting the saturation and cloning out the marks on the stainless steel panelling. The print was made on Permajet’s Titanium Lustre metallic paper. This helped to add to the metallic feel in the image.


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