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PRACTICAL PHOTOGRAPHY FEBRUARY 2016

Canon G5 X The advanced compact with built-in viewfinder & 20.2MP

YOUR #1 GUIDE TO

Revamped 24-70mm Nikon’s classic zoom gets VR Plus Best external storage for £150

February 2016 £4.99

PERFECT PICTURES n Low light 7 amazing ideas to try now n Wildlife Go remote, get much closer n Urban Take a fresh look at your city

Bring your landscapes to life with new flash skills Double your lens’ focal length and save a fortune Create a retro wet plate portrait in Photoshop Plus 10 easy projects to kick-start 2016 YOUR #1 GUIDE TO PERFECT PICTURES

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Expert advice from the world’s best photographers

Cover image by Andreas Wonisch


Snow and full sail by Örvar Þorgeirsson l “i was on a schooner sailboat expedition

in the Scoresby Fjord area, in remote northeast Greenland, when a passing sailboat raised full sail due to the heavy winds. The cold, mountainous scene, and the old-style wooden boat combined to create an image portraying polar exploration and discovery. I used a 70-200mm lens and 1.7x teleconverter to compress the landscape to really show the scale of the surrounding mountains, which rise up to 2000m out of the ocean.” Nikon D800 | 330mm | 1/640sec | f/8 | ISO 100

Örvar Þorgeirsson is a software engineer and photographer from Reykjavík, Iceland. He runs workshops in the Arctic region and oversees a gallery in Reykjavík. arcticphoto.is

The story behind the world’s greatest shots

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COMPLETE GUIDE

FUN PROJECTS

Keep shooting throughout the winter months with seven jaw-dropping low light techniques...

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Use the right kit

Discover the basics behind low light shooting p32

Cross-polarise

Add colour to clear plastic objects in your still life shots p35

Capture movement Use the most basic lighting for amazing results p40

Freeze action

Fire high-speed flash to reveal detail p45

Brian McEntire

AFTER DARK

Learn great new photo skills...

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SHOOT AMAZING BACK GARDEN

Wildlife Would you like to capture intimate natural world close-ups without the expense of a long lens? Tim Berry explores three wireless trigger techniques that will revolutionise your results...

Tim Berry PP’s gear editor has been a professional photographer for several years and has a master’s degree in freelance photography. He’s also lectured at undergraduate level.

T

he uk is home to some of the most varied and beautiful wildlife on the planet. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that the average British back garden is more biodiverse than a garden-sized area of the Amazon rainforest! Over the next few pages, we’re going to explore three different approaches to photographing our native birds and mammals, both during the day and at night. Crucially, though, none of these techniques require an expensive telephoto lens, which is usually an essential for wildlife photography. Instead, we’ll be using a non-specialist standard lens along with some very achievable remote triggering techniques. Success in this type of photography doesn’t depend on you owning a five-acre estate, so don’t despair if your outside space is limited. In fact, some of the most impressive entries into UK wildlife competitions are shot in concreted urban areas. Even if you don’t have a garden at all, there’s always a local park, woodland or canal that you can visit with your camera. So armed with plenty of patience and determination, turn the page and learn to master the art of capturing the beautiful creatures that live just the other side of your kitchen door.

Get up close & personal with wildlife...

Boost your chance of success p58

Shoot at night using off-camera flash p61

Use wireless triggers for distance shooting.

Set motion detectors for automatic triggering.

Fire both your camera and flashguns remotely.

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Wireless triggers allow you to get your camera very close to the subject but shoot from a distance.

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Tom Mason

Learn to work unnoticed p56


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Basic Skills

Editing Suite

Tone and colourise images the easy way Create custom Gradient Maps that add unique picture styles to your work. Matthew Higgs shows how to master and blend these effects for best results. Straight out of camera, it’s not unusual for unedited photos to look a little washed out, especially if you’ve been capturing your images as RAW files. Their shades may be true to life, but they’re unlikely to wow any viewers. Gradient Maps allow you to apply new hues to the varying brightness levels of an image during editing. From subtle palette shifts that give a scene a new feel, to more dramatic and stylised tone conversions, these Adjustment Layers can have a powerful effect on the final look of a shot. Here we’re going to convert to black & white and apply a customised duotone effect, using our example image’s two most prominent colours. Then we’re going to add warmth to the colours for a more dramatic sunset, using a Photoshop preset. Neither technique takes more than 10 minutes to complete, and both have the potential to turn decent photos into more eye-catching and personal interpretations. Colourising works particularly well with landscapes and portraits, so start Gradient Mapping yours today!

l

Duotone After

What you’ll learn How to create a Gradient Map How to set foreground and background colours How to use blending modes Software Photoshop Do it in 10 mins

Before

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Convert image to mono

Open your image and click the Create new fill or adjustment layer icon (the half-black/half-white circle found at the bottom of the Layers panel). From the menu that appears select Gradient Map. In the window that opens, click the graduated bar. The Gradient Editor will now pop up. Choose the third option on the top row – Black, White. Select OK to create a new Gradient Layer that converts your image to greyscale.

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Set a new foreground colour

Turn this new Layer’s visibility off by pressing the eye symbol on the Layers panel. Now click on the Background Layer to make it active. Select the Set foreground color box beneath the Tools panel. This is the first of two layered squares, set to black or white by default (hit D to reset colours if necessary). A Color Picker window will open. Using the cursor, click on the most prominent colour. Press OK to set it as the foreground colour.

Above Gradient Maps can be used to produce very different results from the same starting image and can be customised to suit personal tastes.

Colourise

3

Create a custom Gradient Map

Now click the Set background color box – this is the rear of the two squares. Again using the cursor, click on your image’s second most prominent colour. Hit OK to select it as the new background colour. Create another Gradient Map Adjustment Layer. The colours will now be mapped to the equivalent grayscale range – don’t be surprised if this looks rather garish. Select Reverse to switch the way the colours are applied if desired.

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Colour blend the new Layer

Turn the first Gradient Map Layer’s visibility back on and drag it beneath the second Gradient Map Layer. The duotone effect will now be applied over the mono conversion. With the Gradient Map 2 Layer selected, change the blending mode from Normal to Color. This preserves the luminance of the Layers below, but replaces the pixel’s hue and saturation. Lower the Layer’s Opacity for a more subtle effect.

Enhance full-colour photos with a subtle Gradient Map

TangMan

Colour images can benefit from Gradient Maps too, and thanks to Photoshop’s preset options you can quickly apply any number of effects in minutes. Just follow these instructions: Open your image and click the Create a new fill or adjustment layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. Select Gradient Map from the menu. Now click on the graduated bar in the window that opens. This time we’re going to use a preset – we

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selected Violet, Orange, as these colours are already present in our image. Press OK to create this new Layer. The orange enhances the glow of the cathedral’s tungsten lighting, while the violet deepens the sky’s warm sunset. With the Gradient Map Layer selected, change the blending mode from Normal to Soft Light. This mode will increase the contrast in the image for more impact. We set Opacity to 70% to reduce the strength of the effect.

Above Preset Gradient Maps are a brilliant way to add a colourful twist to an image.

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Canon M10

Get Into Gear Image quality

Solid APS-C performance

New kit lens

Kit price £399 Image resolution 18MP Video Full HD

The M10’s 15-45mm kit lens measures just 45mm when retracted, perfectly complementing this very portable camera. It features optical stabilisation and a stepping motor mechanism for near-silent autofocusing.

When it comes to noise control the M10 puts in a very similar performance to both the higher resolution M3 and the original M. Up to ISO 800 image quality is very good indeed, before noise reaches critical mass around the ISO 3200 mark. However, it’s not until the camera’s top native level of 12,800, and the extended 25,600, that shots become particularly unusable. For a camera with a price-tag of only £400 at launch, this is a highly respectable performance.

Clean-cut design Measuring 35mm deep and 108mm wide, the M10 is perfect for those who want to upgrade from a compact but avoid the bulk of a DSLR. Weighing just 301g, its slender plastic shell lacks a front grip, but does feature a thumb rest on the rear.

Simple controls The M10 is aimed at those new to photography, and gone are the compensation dial and four of the rear buttons found on the M3. Instead its simplified design is closer to that of the Japan-only M2 and the original M.

Back to

basics Is Canon’s new M10 the ideal entry-level CSC? Matthew Higgs puts this no-frills yet highly capable camera through its paces...

W

ith the launch of the entry-level M10, Canon now has two current models in its CSC line-up for the very first time. Slotting below the enthusiast-aimed M3, it’s the third EF-M mount camera to hit the UK market. While its more expensive brother has a 24.2MP sensor and advanced external controls, the M10 has been scaled back to 18MP and features a simplistic design more akin to the original M. It might lack the bells and whistles of many CSCs on the market,

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but with Canon’s imaging reputation to back it up, and a highly competitive price, could this sleek and uncomplicated camera be the perfect release to win over newcomers to the interchangeable lens system?

Main features

At the core of the M10 is an 18MP APS-C CMOS sensor. This is exactly the same size and resolution as the one found in the M and the brand’s smallest DSLR, the 100D. The large sensor puts image quality on par with many entry-level DSLRs, and in a different

league to smartphones and most compacts. This is paired with a DIGIC 6 processor. The camera’s native ISO range of 100-12,800 (expandable to 25,600) matches that of the M3, and is competitive for a CSC of this price. Its burst mode of 4.6fps isn’t exactly ground-breaking for a mirrorless device, although strangely it’s slightly faster than its older brother. Continuous shooting slows down after seven RAW frames. For those who have followed Canon’s progress in the CSC market, autofocus performance is likely to be a key area of

interest. While the original M was heavily criticised for its sluggish focusing speed, the M3’s Hybrid CMOS AF III system gave the camera a noticeable 6x improvement. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been carried over onto this model. Although rated to a reasonable 1EV for accurate focusing in low light, and featuring 49 focus points, the M10’s Hybrid CMOS AF II system is slower than most competing CSCs. It’s still more than adequate for all but the speediest of subjects, but just don’t expect it to feel instant. A responsive tracking and face detection mode is present, as is an AF assist lamp. The camera has four metering modes, all of which we found to be accurate, while there’s also the option for exposure compensation via the camera’s Quick menu.

top tech

Other features and video

Wi-Fi and NFC for remote control and wireless file transfer. As on the M3, this camera’s strength isn’t its video capabilities. Full HD (1080p) is possible at a sub-par 30fps, but with no audio inputs users are restricted to capturing poor quality sound with the in-built microphone. While CSCs commonly fail to match the capacity of DSLR batteries, the M10’s 255 shots per charge is a pretty woeful offering.

On the rear of the camera is a 3in 1040k-dot LCD. This is bright and responsive, which is essential given the lack of a viewfinder. Selfie fans will be pleased by the ability to tilt it upwards by 180° so that it faces forwards, and it’s also touch sensitive. This touch control can be used to navigate the menu, take a picture and select a focus point, although frustratingly the latter has the tendency to get stuck if a controlling finger moves too close to the edge of the display. With no hotshoe the camera isn’t compatible with any viewfinder attachment or external flashgun, but an in-built flash can be manually controlled via the menu. As is standard on newer CSC models, the M10 has

Connectivity for remote operation While the M10 may not be the most feature-heavy CSC on the market, it is fitted with both Wi-Fi and NFC. This allows the camera to be quickly connected and remotely controlled via a smart device, with access to a live preview, touch focus and exposure settings. Image files can also be wirelessly transferred for instant backup, or sharing to social media. While not unique to this camera, this functionality is sure to please many users.

Handling

The glossy plastic shell of the M10 may not feel as rugged as some rival bodies, but it does help to keep the camera’s weight down to just 301g. Measuring 108mm wide by 67mm high, this camera is virtually pocketable and much

closer in shape to the M than the M3. This similarity is also present in the layout of its controls, returning to a simpler design that omits a full mode dial and external exposure compensation control, as well as several rear buttons found on its bigger brother. The result is a CSC that handles more like a traditional compact. This is something that may appeal to those looking for their first interchangeable lens camera, but may alienate more experienced users. Full manual shooting is still possible via the easy-tooperate Quick menu, as are aperture- and shutter-priority modes. Generally speaking, the rest of the camera’s menu is also easy to navigate, but several shooting options found on the M3 such as focus peaking and sound

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Practical Photography - February 2016  

Practical Photography magazine is the perfect read for anyone wanting to get more from their Digital SLR. It teaches you all the camera skil...

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