Saturday, November 16, 2019

Lightroom To The Rescue


As I have written many times before, Lightroom is my go-to software for post-processing. It is fast, powerful, easy to use, and if you make any mistakes or misjudgments, you can always go back and change whatever you want to.

This image is a great example of the power of Lightroom. It was shot in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on a very overcast and misty day. Here is the original RAW image, before any Lightroom adjustments.
BEFORE
As you can see, it is a very blah, unexciting image. The mist obliterates most of the color and detail in the image. While the original scene was misty, it did not appear this gray and murky to my eyes. This is the kind of image that, when you first see it on your computer screen after downloading it, you instantly want to delete it as a "loser." But it pays to not be too hasty in that decision. At least take a few minutes to attempt some post-processing to see if there are hidden details that Lightroom can bring out and make better.


Only 5 easy steps were needed in Lightroom to bring out the hidden qualities in this image. Here are the steps used (note that the order of these steps, and the amount of change needed, will vary image by image - there are no hard and fast rules since each image is different and will need various amounts of changes):

1. Moved the Whites slider to +58 to increase the light tones.
2. Moved the Blacks slider to -31 to decrease the dark tones.
3. Moved the Clarity slider to +30 to increase mid-tone contrast.
4. Increase Saturation to +86 to improve color.
5. Dehaze filter to cut through the mist. (note that not all the haze has been removed - since it was a misty day I wanted some of that quality to still show in the image)

So when you first look at your images after downloading and see some that look, well, pretty bad, don't be too hasty to delete them. Take a few minutes to try a few things in Lightroom to see if you can reveal the hidden beauty that is most likely there.

TECH SPECS
1/800 sec. at f/6.3, ISO 400. Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens on Canon 7D Mark II body. Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it."  --Confucius

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

A Thrill And An Honor


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I am happy and honored to announce that this image was selected as one of the Top 100 images in the recently concluded North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) annual competition. Over 3800 images were submitted. This is a pair of Horned Puffins taken in Alaska.

I entered it in the "Altered Reality" category since it is an artistic rendering of the original color image. I debated for a long time whether to enter a black-and-white version of such colorful subjects. We are used to seeing puffins in full color, so showing them in a monochrome image was a gamble. In this case, the gamble worked!

This breeding pair positioned themselves perfectly on their rocky perch. This rendering (done with Lightroom and Topaz) brings out the texture and contrast more clearly than what our eyes see in a color image.

TECH SPECS
1/1250 sec., f/8, ISO 800. Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens set at 400mm on Canon 7D Mark II body. Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Be passionate about your life. Learn to live without the fear of failing. Take a chance, you might just surprise yourself."  -- Nishan Panwar