January 2018


Getting to mono  means  removing the colour, so here are the top options…

Even if your camera has a dedicated black & white shooting mode, you’re far better off shooting in colour if you want
great mono results. The reason for this is a full-colour image contains more data, and it’s the manipulation of this data that
leads to the best black & white output. Different colours can display as lighter or darker greys depending on the method of
conversion, so here’s a range of different options for you to try.
Our Start image


In your menu , use Image-Mode-Grayscale
It’s pretty quick and is a great option for Elements users who don’t have access to a Channel Mixer.
The other advantage is it gives file sizes one-third the size of a colour picture, so it’s a good option for space-saving.



Photoshop and elements -Ctrl,Shift,U
Blisteringly fast with the above shortcut, and allows you to convert to mono in under a second! You don’t get any control over the tonality of the image, but it’s always worth a try because of its sheer speed.

Channel Mixer

Photoshop only.
Image – Adjustments-ChannelMixer

The Channel Mixer allows you to vary the amount of the Red, Green and Blue Channels that go into the resulting image, and by ticking the Monochrome box at the bottom-left corner, you can vary how the different colours in the mix affect the black & white output. In essence, it allows you to control how bright or dark different colours become when converted to mono. Ideally, the 3 values should add up to around 100%, but there are no rules – just make it look good!

How Channels work


Go to Window➜Channels (Photoshop only) and you’ll see that a colour image is made up of a Red, a Green, and a Blue Channel, and each individual Channel is actually a black & white pic. The black, grey and white tones in these pics shows how much red,  green and blue is present in each pixel, and when they’re combined, we get the natural colours we see. Because different amounts of R, G and B go into a full colour mix, each Channel therefore gives a different mono version of the scene. We can either use these versions directly (say by using 100% of the Red channel and throwing away the Green and Blue data) or we can mix them up in the Channel Mixer to give a vast choice of effects.

Red channel

Pure red would show as white (the maximum) in the Red Channel, so all the colours containing lots of red  reproduce as very light grey tones. Colours without much red (like the blue items in the scene) go very dark and are almost black.

Green Channel

Any item with lots of green in it will become very light in the Green Channel, and anything with very little will go pretty dark. If we check , we can see they take on a completely different character to the Red Channel’s picture.

Blue Channel

If we check the Blue Channel’s rendition of the scene, we can see that we have a completely different mix again. In fact, the only colours that remain constant over all three pictures are black and white, and that’s because these colours contain equal amounts of red, green and blue.

So there you go, black and white conversions using simple methods can give unlimited variations….
Have fun



The original Canon EOS 6D, introduced way back in 2012, was an affordable entry point to full-frame photography. It has, however, been showing its age and fans have been clamouring for a replacement.

And it’s here. The long-awaited EOS 6D Mark II is better than its predecessor in practically every way, from its sensor to its ISO range, from its autofocus system to continuous shooting mode.

Not surprisingly, however, it’s also considerably more expensive than the model it replaces. So the question is whether these multiple improvements justify the price hike. It also puts the EOS 6D Mark II up against some noticeably tougher competition.


  • 26MP Full frame sensor
  • Vari-Angle LCD screen
  • ISO 100-40,000
  • DIGIC 7 processor
  • Built-in Wifi/NFC/Bluetooth/GPS
  • 6.5 continuous shooting abilities
  • Quiet shooting mode
  • Dust and weather resistance
  • 45 autofocus points around the center, all are cross type
  • Full 1080p 60p HD video (no 4K video output)
  • 4K time lapse movie mode
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF
  • Touchscreen



  • Nice feel to the camera body, though it’s now starting to feel more like the Canon 5D Mk III than the Canon 5D Mk II;
  • Weather sealing
  • Pretty fair color versatility
  • Flippy LCD screen is a nice touch
  • You can push the shadows quite a bit, though don’t expect Sony performance
  • Great battery life
  • Very good high ISO performance;
  • Canon’s Touch screen menu continues to be the best on the market
  • Canon’s rendition of skin tones continues to be the best on the market


  • No 4K video means that the long term value of a camera like this is null as the last time this camera was updated was maybe four or five years ago
  • Autofocus points all towards the center
  • Very slow autofocus with Sigma lenses
  • Low light autofocus is accurate but pretty much as fast as the Canon 5D Mk II’s center focus point was
  • 26MP is a bit too conservative when there are fantastic 24MP APS-C sensors
  • Lower ISOs don’t feel as versatile as the higher ISO settings
  • A single card slot

Canon EOS 6D Mark II DSLR Camera with EF 24-105mm USM Lens – WiFi Enabled

Look through your photo archive and you’re likely to see lots of photos of two things — people and landscapes.

But what is it about Landscape Photography we love so much?

As a Landscape Photographer you strive to capture and share the beauty of the world around you,  just as you see it through your own eyes. But there can be a big difference between a good shot and great one …

  • A good landscape photo will sit in your archive and never be seen again.
  • A great landscape photo will bring the scene back to life every time you or your friends see them.

… and it’s likely you’ve only got one chance to make it count.

Living Landscapes will help you move past the point, click and hope approach to landscape photography. You’ll learn from a pro how to capture stunning landscape photos you’ll hang on walls – not hide in albums – by mastering the three key ingredients to stunning and engaging landscape photography.

  • The craft: Understand how exposure, color, and focus can make or break a shot.
  • The tools: A shoot-more-shop-less approach to the gear a landscape photographer needs.
  • The creativity: Merge what you know (craft) what you have (tools) with your imagination to create inspiring Landscape Photos.Learn from this book on how to take landscape photos.
    • How to simplify the process of making engaging and technically proficient landscape images.
    • How to overcome the unique challenges that landscape photography presents.
    • The 4 landscape fundamentals that turn bland into beautiful.
    • Workshops and guided tours of some amazing landscape images.
    • A straight forward explanation of the gear you need (it isn’t as much as you might think.)
    • Landscape specific post-processing techniques.
    • Advanced tips and techniques for specific scenarios: mountains, water, bush and forest, black and white and panoramic stitching.

    Buy the book here

  1. BE SELECTIVE. At a flower show , there is an enormous number of beautiful flowers. Don’t rush to photograph the first blossom you see. Find a plant with the best combination of form, color, lighting and background.
  2. ISOLATION. For ultimate impact, isolate your subject. Use a camera angle that reduces distracting elements, such as other flowers or people. Take the time to try capturing the flower from multiple angles, low angles, high angles, or moving to the right or left.  for ultimate control of the depth of field A wide lens aperture ( a lower-numbered f-stop on and SLR camera) will enhance this effect by softening the background.  for example a F1.4 prime lens.


  3. COMPOSITION. Your first thoughts may be to frame the flower in the centre of the viewfinder, but,  is not always the most aesthetic composition. Concentrate on what you see in the viewfinder, and recompose the picture until it looks the best to you. And don’t forget to try vertical framing, as well as horizontal.

  4. TRIPOD. Because the light in parts of the building is varied, you may be forced to use slow shutter speeds. In this situation, hand-holding your camera might result in vibrations and blurred pictures. . When using and DSLR camera on a tripod, cable a release can significantly reduce unwanted vibrations.

  5. PATIENCE. When photographing flowers outdoors, be aware of small breezes that might set the flowers in motion. Likewise, breezes can be caused indoors by the opening of a door or the brisk movement of people. For sharp picture, you must be prepared to wait for all movement to cease before releasing the shutter.

  6. ENVIRONMENT. Wonderful photographs can be created by showing the relationship of you subject to its environment. A simple way to achieve this is with a wide- angle lens on a SLR camera, or the wide mode on a dual-lens or zoom lens point-&-shoot camera. Position your subject as close as possible in the foreground.
  7. EXTREME CLOSE-UPS. Flowers take on an entirely different look when viewed in extreme close-up. Use your viewfinder indicators to move in as close as possible, while still maintaining sharp focus. If you are using a 35mm SLR camera, your macro (close-up) capabilities can be extended with accessories such as a macro lens, a macro teleconverter, or even screw-on supplementary close-up lenses or extension tubes for your present lenses.

  8. THE WHOLE PICTURE. Consider the whole plant when you photograph, and not just the colorful bloom. Examine the fascinating textures and geometries of leaves, seed pods and fallen petals.
  9. EXPERIMENT! Don’t be afraid to shoot a few extra pictures. Try different angles and different lighting. Also depict your subject from several different viewpoints.
  10. LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES. If your picture don’t convey what you saw in your mind’s eye, ask yourself: “What went wrong?” If you study your mistakes, you will be rewarded with a greater number successful photographs on your next outing. 

With our 101 Landscape Lightroom presets — you’ll make adding that additional pop  to your landscape images a breeze. Photographers experienced with pre-set controls know they won’t see their desired results unless they use a type specifically tailored for the shoots they undertake. That’s why professional landscape photographer Sarah Sisson has developed an editing system dedicated to the task of landscape photography. These 101 Landscape Lightroom presets give you countless image-enhancing options to make your pictures say exactly what you want them to. Ideal for professionals and amateur enthusiasts alike, they deliver professional results on every front.

With our mega pack of 101 Landscape Lightroom presets, enhancing your landscape shots is a breeze.

In this massive presets back you’ll get:

  • 6 high quality preset collections
  • Save time getting your landscapes looking just right
  • Streamline your workflow
  • Use the presets the professionals use to create stunning images
  • Give your photos an instant “pop”’
  • BONUS Tool Box: 29 presets designed to be stackable for making simple adjustments.

Landscapes that Pop

The dPS 101 Landscape Lightroom presets can help you achieve the potential from your landscape images more fully by accentuating the mood and tonal qualities of each season, lighting and weather conditions. With over 100 preset options, you can quickly gain results that make your photos truly pop and convey the strongest visual messages. Programmed for summer, autumn, winter, and spring, the pre-calibrated optimisations allow you to enhance your landscapes according to seasonal characteristics.

If black and white is your thing, other presets enrich tonal values and increase the dynamic range to give your greyscale images a truly immersive effect. The same goes for monochrome pictures of any colour. Instead of the flat look that typically arises from applying a monochrome filter, the 101 Landscape Lightroom presets can have your image leap out at you or draw you deeper into the picture. Most landscape photos benefit from an abundance of detail across the tonal range of the image, yet with deep shadows and blown-out highlights in many outdoor situations, this can be near impossible to achieve under normal shooting conditions. This is where the high dynamic range (HDR) capabilities of your camera become invaluable, but even if you don’t have this capacity, you can achieve comparable results in an instant by using the 101 pre-set bundle.

Preset Examples

Summer / Spring

  • Before-Blissful Blue Skies
    After-Blissful Blue Skies
    Blue Skies
  • Before-Sweet Summer Days
    After-Sweet Summer Days
    Summer Days
  • Before-Boho Dream
    After-Boho Dream


  • Before-Glorious Autumn Day
    After-Glorious Autumn Day


  • Before-Wild Winter
    After-Wild Winter

Black and White

  • Before-Majesty
  • Before-Sentinel


  • Before-Big Color Love
    After-Big Color Love

Mono Tones

  • Before-Antique

Bonus Toolbox!

  • Before-Example 2
    After-Example 2

Special effects photography made easy with this awesome guide.

In this eBook 11 specific special effects are broken down so you can re-create the scene yourself, then Neil will explore new options to kick start your photography creativity.

Zoom Effect


Add a dynamic zoom effect with a slow shutter speed, and learn a super charged variation using your flash.

360 Panorama


A spherical 360 degree panorama puts you there by showing the whole world from a particular viewpoint.

Aperture Masks


Create a romantic, magical or cool background for your night portraits with aperture masks.

Flour Hair Flick


Half a cup of flour, add three lights and flick hair vigorously for this dramatic action shot.

Light Painting Sparklers


Sparklers, a sci-fi schoolgirl and some really nifty colour and light tricks create this dynamic light painted photo.

Light Painting Steel Wool


Stars twinkling above and fire sparking below lights up the beach in a dramatic combination shot.

Little World


Starting with a panorama, create whole planets with this super distorted, super fun effect.

Mixing Ambient and Flash


Capture and freeze motion in the same shot for a striking effect by mixing flash and continuous light.

Multiple Exposures


If two are twice the fun, eleven clones are a party! This multiple exposure technique is a unique way to tell a story.

Star Trails


Capture the majesty of the night sky as it spins eternally overhead with this surprisingly accessible star trail technique.

Water Droplets


Natures little lenses create many images with this technique to get you started using water refraction in your photography.

To purchase click here

Sony’s latest full frame mirrorless camera combines the resolution of its predecessor, the A7R II, with the kind of high-speed continuous shooting performance you’d expect from a sports camera. It’s designed for pro photographers (and videographers) who want it all – high-resolution, high-speed shooting and top-quality 4K video. It’s not as fast as the sports-dedicated Sony A9 or the low-light video specialist A7S II model, but as a do-it-all jack of all trades, its specs are spectacular.


42.4MP back-illuminated Exmor R full-frame sensor
BIONZ X processor and new front-end LSI
4K video recording with full pixel readout, Full HD up to 120fps
10fps burst shooting (with autofocus and auto-exposure)
5-axis image stabilisation system with 5.5EV-stop compensation
399-point phase-detect AF and 425-point contrast-detect AF systems
ISO 100-32,000 (exp to ISO 50-102,400 equivalents)
3in tilting touchscreen LCD, 1.44million dots
Quad-VGA OLED Tru-Finder, 3.69million dots
Two SDHC/SDXC cardc slots (inc. support for UHS-II in one slot)
Pixel Shift Multi Shooting Mode
650-shot battery life
USB 3.1 port

Some might be disappointed that the A7R III’s sensor resolution is unchanged from the A7R II’s at 42.4 million pixels, but this sensor is capable of outstanding quality and the improvements to the continuous shooting speeds are much more important, because the new model can top out at an amazing 10 frames per second at full resolution. Not only that, it can sustain this for up to 76 compressed raw files. This drops to 28 shots for uncompressed raw files, but we suspect any difference in quality is unlikely to be worth the drop in buffer capacity.

Frame rates grab the headlines, but without the buffer capacity to go with them they mean very little. If the A7R III had the buffer capacity of a typical non-professional camera, it would grind to a halt after a burst of just a couple of seconds. Instead, it can keep going for more than seven seconds, and that’s a big, big difference for a professional sports photographer. This camera has another trick – a completely silent mode which will allow photographers to shoot in situations where the machine-gun clatter of a regular DSLR would be banned.

The A7R III has dual memory card slots too, though despite the emphasis on speed, only one of these is UHS II compatible – a bit of a surprise given this camera’s performance potential and, let’s face it, its price.

So while the A7r Mark III misses out on the A9’s dedicated drive and focus dials and hard-wired ethernet port, it does gain the AF joystick and AF-On buttons, the larger and more tactile rear wheel, the more sensibly-located movie record button, the beautifully-detailed Quad VGA (1280×960 pixel / 3686k dot) viewfinder, dual card slots, PC Sync port, and best of all, the larger capacity Z battery with over twice the life of the earlier battery pack. Sony quotes 650 shots with LCD or 530 with viewfinder – although as I discovered with the A9, you can expect much more in practice when shooting bursts.
Like the A9 before it, the A7r Mark III’s two SD slots run at different speeds: only Slot-1 will exploit the additional speed of UHS-II cards, while Slot-2 relatively limps along at UHS-I speeds regardless of what you insert; I have some examples later in the review where the time taken to flush the buffer is much longer when using Slot-2. Having dual card slots is an important upgrade over the Mark II models, but it’s an area where Sony still falls behind. Several rivals exploit UHS-II speeds on both SD slots, or eschew SD altogether for faster card formats. I realise there’s not exactly room for C.Fast or XQD cards in the A7 series, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to request both SD slots are UHS-II speed. Still, having two slots remains better than the one on the Mark II and I’m pleased to find them implemented here.

In terms of connectivity, the addition of a USB C port running at USB 3 speed while retaining the older USB-2 port is a great idea. It allows you to tether the camera with one port while powering it with the other. And while the A7r III lacks the hard-wired Ethernet port of the A9, it still allows the same FTP functions, just over Wifi.

The A7r III also shares the same wireless capabilities as the A9 with Wifi complemented by NFC and Bluetooth for easier connectivity. Like the A9 and other Sony cameras with Bluetooth, you can also maintain a low-power link with your phone for seamless GPS tagging as you shoot

Lightroom is an awesome software for photographers, there are however a few things you can do to sppe it up.

1. Render Minimal Previews

To seped up the initial import process, During the Import process, under ‘File Handling’, be sure to set ‘Render Previews’ to ‘Minimal’.

2. Use a large Cache Folder

Under the ‘Edit’ menu, go to ‘Preferences’, then ‘File Handling’, and change the size of your Camera Raw Cache settings to the following:

JPEG Preview: Medium Size

Maximum Size: 25gb

(Leave any other setting in its default state)

*Tip* Set your Camera Raw Cache to a size that is equivalent to your average photo job, making it slightly larger if possible.
3. Change your Standard Preview Size

Go to Catalogue Settings in the Edit menu. These are specific per catalogue so you may have to update them in each.

Depending on the size of your monitor, you should change the size of your previews. For example, if you’re on a 17″ monitor running 1280 x 1080 or similar, you can probably afford to use 1440 pixels or slightly less as your Standard Preview Size. 1024 may be sufficient.
On a 24″ monitor (1920 x 1200), you can choose 2048 as the Preview Size.

4. Optimise the Lightroom Catalog

Go to ‘File’ and select ‘Optimise Catalog’. It might take a few minutes depending on the number of images, but this should speed your catalog up noticeably.
5. Render 1:1 Previews

To prevent too much loading while in the edit module, you should render 1:1 Previews prior to working. This can be done in the main Lightroom screen (as opposed to the Import screen).

First, select all your images by clicking on ‘All photographs’ in the Catalog Panel. Then click ‘Library’ in the menu, then ‘Previews’ and select ‘Render 1:1 Previews’. Then select ‘Build All’.

This process takes a lot of time, but is well worth doing .