I’ve used Lightroom since it’s first public beta. Over the years I’ve added different presets, mostly in the Develop Module. (How many B&W presets do I really need!!??) I’ve also incorporated additional editing software. Various iterations of On1 products ,The Nik collection (Efex Pro, Viveza,Dfine Etc.) and recently added Perfect Exposure. I was reminded that I have the NIK Collection ( It’s Freeee. ) after seeing this blog post How to Sharpen Your Photos using Lightroom and Nik Efex by Pete Demarco I had a picture I could practice on. A Mother Duck and ducklings were out feeding in the morning recently. There was some nice early morning light giving them a bit of backlit effect. However, I was not happy with my results. They were just too soft. I’ve got a low end zoom lens so it wasn’t a surprise but it was disappointing. Enter the Output Sharpener. After adjusting the settings per Pete’s recommendation. I got this result:
On the left is the result using Output sharpening. Compared to the right Mom’s feathers are just a little better. Where it’s more noticeable is the chicks fur and the water droplets on their bodies. I outputted this from LR without any additional sharpening. Now I need to practice with the other parts of the Collection!
A continuous source of discussion is to ask do you shoot RAW or JPG. Either is a valid option. One can be a better choice in a given situation than the other. Here’s a situation for which I’m glad I shot RAW. This is a panorama I created from a series of photos I took five years ago. At the time I wasn’t thinking of making a panorama. DUH! The cloud formation attracted my attention. In addition the water was calm and reflective. Fortunately, I had my 17-35mm lens on and had worked the scene for several images at the widest angle. By doing so, I inadvertently provided myself with enough images for a panorama five years later. (Which is a good tip to keep in mind in the future!) In addition, I shot in RAW, so I could manipulate the images without worrying about loss of image quality. Remember, RAW contains all the original data recorded by the sensor while JPG throws out data at the time of creation because it compresses the data. What you see here is a high quality JPG image from the Photoshop file created by blending the original RAW shots together to make the panorama. Would this image be perceptively worse if the original images had been JPG’s? Viewing on a computer monitor perhaps not. However, if you wanted to print (Yes, he did use the P word) this and put it on a wall, the higher the quality the better the color gamut and the larger a print you can make.
Took a walk around the neighborhood this afternoon. Too much sedentary exercise! I needed to move the rest of my body. It had been a mostly cloudy and muggy day. Knowing at some point I’d see something I could make an image of I brought my camera. The sky contained mostly indistinct clouds but for a short period these clouds formed just above a nearby ridge. Quickly I composed several shots for a panorama. I saw this as a Black and White to bring out the different structures in the clouds. After stitching them together in Photoshop, I ran thru some presets in Lightroom and used on called Dynamic Silver III created by Gavin Seim. A little more tweaking and here you are.
Lightroom makes it very easy to give an image a dizzying number of treatments in color, black and white, sepia, two tone and cross process styles. Even better they can all be virtual. Existing only within Lightroom until you decide to export an image to the preferred file format. Occasionally I’ll play with an image in Lightroom to see if I can find a more eye catching version.
I created a sequence shot of a friend of mine taking off in his hang glider. I’ve made these before but not recently since I’m usually helping them launch.
I had a hard time finding a satisfactory B&W because of the ground clutter in the background. The different styles didn’t separate his body enough from the background. I have a sense of depth in the color version that I couldn’t find in B&W. I’m conscience of a person seeing the image for the first time and being confused about what’s going on. Especially since it’s a sequence photo.
So which do your prefer? Color or Black and White.
Here’s a panorama of 9 images stitched together in Photoshop. I kicked up the vibrance in Lightroom. The blue helps to bring out the island of Molokai in the center, the west end of Maui to the left and Lanai to the far right. The little dot is a cargo carrier headed for the port at Kahului.
I was treated to an impromptu fire dance with Poi Balls. It was near dark and with no tripod at hand I hand held with a long shutter speed to catch the movement of the flame. In Lightroom I desaturated everything but the flame. Then I reduced the clarity for a softer look. To add a little more interest to the photo I also split toned the image.