Thursday, January 2, 2014

Clearing The Air



Misty or foggy days can add a whole new dimension to a photographic subject. It creates a quiet mood and adds a sense of mystery to a scene. But not in this case. This very foggy day in New England only served to hide the beautiful fall color in the trees across a pond, and did nothing to enhance the scene.

What to do? I contemplated not taking the shot at all, knowing that the fog would prevent the strong colors from showing. But then I thought, nothing ventured nothing gained. I had nothing to lose by investing a few minutes of my time and a few spaces on a memory card to take the shot.

Sure enough, it looked awful on the viewscreen on the back of the camera., although the histogram looked fine, indicating adequate exposure. 
No problem, I would reserve judgment until I got back to my office to view it on the big monitor, and see if Lightroom could bring this image back to what I saw in my mind (but not what the actual scene looked like).

By now you are probably thinking you have heard this story before. Crummy image, saved by Lightroom. Bingo. You are absolutely right.

By simply expanding the range of blacks and whites in Lightroom, and tweaking vibrance and saturation a bit, the muddy, thin-looking, grayish BEFORE image became the punchy, bright AFTER image. These simple changes essentially created an entirely different image, and in my opinion, a more successful image than what had existed before.

Even though Lightroom is very sophisticated software that is capable of making significant modifications to an image, it is astonishingly easy to use and to learn. Many people are frightened of Lightroom and have heard horror stories that are inaccurate about various problems, or about having to make major changes in their method of filing or storing images. Those horror stories come from people who have not learned the proper use of the software, or perhaps received instruction from someone who was not well-versed in the program.

Using Lightroom is as simple as it gets, and can enable you to make significant improvements to your images with very little work. If you have the time to take an in-depth class in March in Richmond, Virginia, I highly recommend that you take the plunge. You will not regret it. Details here

Shutter Speed 1/160 sec.  Aperture f/6.3.  ISO 200.  Lens: Canon 70-200mm f/4 IS set at 70mm.  Camera: Canon 40D.  Handheld.

TODAY’S QUOTE: “Derive happiness in oneself from a good day’s work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us.”  --Henri Matisse

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