Peak Photos by Richard Wheeler

I am a landscape photographer who specialises in photographing the Peak District and the UK. My passion lies in taking photographs at first or last light where soft golden colours transform beautiful landscapes into something special, creating evocative and atmospheric images. I started taking photography seriously in 2005 when I bought my first dSLR camera and set off into the Derbyshire peaks. With no formal training, it was a steep learning curve and I spent many hours out with the camera experimenting with different compositions and settings. I feel this has allowed me to create my own unique style of landscape photography.

My work includes framed and mounted prints, canvas prints, greetings cards and calendars. I am also available for commissions and have worked with Time Out for their 'Countryside' book and widely published in magazines including BBC Countryfile, Country Walking, Outdoor Photography and Practical Photography. In 2011 I won the Peak District Landscape photographer of the year competition.

Equipment

I currently use a Canon 5d Mk 2 body with the following Canon lenses:
- 17-40L
- 24-105L
- 70-200
- Lee filters & holder
- Manfrotto 055b Pro tripod

My Processing Workflow

People often ask me, "What do you do to these photos?" So I thought I'd share my processing workflow.

Photo Capture

I always shoot in the RAW format when taking any landscape photos and use a combination of hard and soft graduation filters by Lee. This gives me the flexibility of capturing the raw data without any loss of information. It also ‘switches off’ the camera's assumptions about the scene it is capturing.

I always try and get as much correct in camera as possible to minimise time spent on a computer and maximise my time out in the open countryside.

After setting up the camera on the tripod and getting the composition right, I select the appropriate graduation filters for the scene and set them in the correct position. I then take a test shot to check I have the exposure, focus and graduation filter correct and make adjustments as necessary.

Once captured, I download the photographs to my PC and open them in Capture One 6 raw processing software.

Below is a couple of before and after photographs for comparison:

Before and After



I've included a screen grab of the photograph in Capture One. As you can see to capture such extremes in the lights and darks, the top right part of the sky has too much Grad filter on it and the foreground is a little dark. Using a couple of different exposures, I manually blend the photograph to fix these issues.

Before and After



As you can see, the photo straight out of the camera is a little 'muddy', and lacking in contrast and vibrancy. This is quite natural when shooting in RAW. A tweak to the contrast (which is achieved by creating a slight 'S' in the curves), sorting out the levels, adding around 15% saturation and adjusting the colour temperature to a cooler setting is enough processing to recreate this scene as I remembered it.

Colour Temperature

This is a scale which you can use to fine tune the colour temperature in the scene. I normally set the camera to Daylight [5200k] or Cloudy [6300k] as a base but then fine tune this in Capture One (a compact camera has similar settings and will have shooting modes, for example Sunny, Cloudy, Snow, Foliage etc).

Levels

I always try and get the histogram to capture the scene as evenly as possible. The ideal histogram should be a steady arc from the left (darkest) to the right (lightest) making sure there is no 'clipping' as data will be lost. Adjustments to the levels may be required dependent on how extreme the shooting conditions are.

Saturation

Adjustments to the saturation are usually necessary when shooting in RAW as the camera does not add any in, which can make the photos look a little flat.