Friday, May 5, 2017

Lightroom To The Rescue



If you follow my blog, you know I often write about how great Lightroom is. It can bring an image to life as it did here. This is the same exact image. The top BEFORE image is how the image looked when I initially downloaded it onto my computer. Gray, dead, and lifeless. Hardly any color to speak of.

The AFTER image, after optimization in Lightroom, has much more color and more contrast, making the sky look textured and stormy. The AFTER image has much more drama and visual interest. Which image is an accurate representation of the scene as it looked to my eye? Neither one.

Surprised? I was, too. It was amazing that Lightroom could bring out so much color and texture that my eyes did not see when experiencing this scene. So now it is time for true confessions - this image is a bit over-punched and goes beyond the natural look that I usually strive for. But, as I worked on it in Lightroom, I liked the more intense color, the added drama, the deep blues and the rich warm colors. So I allowed myself to go a bit overboard in order to create a visually interesting image.

Would I enter this in a nature competition? Absolutely not, since it is admittedly "over the top" and goes beyond a realistic representation. But as an art piece, it is much more pleasing than the BEFORE image, or even something that would have fallen in between the two versions.

This was taken on a foggy morning a little after sunrise in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. When we arrived at the site, the fog was so thick that we could not see much beyond the near trees. But a little patience paid off, and as the sun rose higher the fog began to burn off, and we could see more detail in the clouds and some of the hills in the distance.

The controls used in Lightroom that saved this image, in the order they were used, were:
Whites, Blacks, Shadows, Clarity, and Saturation. And then I added more punch by increasing the Saturation of the following individual colors in the HSL / Color / B&W box - Orange, Yellow, Green Aqua, and Blue. The final step was to use the Dehaze slider which cut through some of the mist and fog in the distance.

Lightroom is NOT complicated and it is NOT hard to learn. But I have so many people who attend my Lightroom classes in desperation after they were taught either improperly or in a confusing manner. If you want to hone your Lightroom skills, I would be happy to set up a special class for your camera club or a group of 6 or more. If that interests you, contact me and we can discuss available dates and fees.
1/160 sec, f/8, ISO 400.  Canon 17-40mm lens, set at 20mm on Canon 7D Mark II body. Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Anyone who keep the ability to see beauty never grows old."  -Franz Kafka

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